What Happened To Janet Uzor a debut young adult mystery novel by Miracle Emeka-Nkwor, has flown off the bookshelves of Nigerians in the last four months it’s been published. The who-dun-it murder mystery takes the readers on a journey to find out how Janet Uzor, a student at Afobiri Secondary School and an excellent swimmer, drowned mysteriously.
Twenty-four-year-old author and entrepreneur, Miracle Emeka-Nkwor, took out time to discuss the novel and her writing practices with Tush.
In her conversation with Tush writer, Kika, she opened up about her writing process, which primarily involves writing in a quiet space and letting her characters take over. Growing up in Port Harcourt, a city that boasts of serene environments, silence is a major contributing factor to her writing process. Also, growing up in a family that acknowledged and respected her passion for writing played a huge role in helping her discover the patterns that worked for her. She recalls how supportive her family was of her writing at a young age. Once she grabbed her notepad, her family knew to maintain silence across the house.
“I always put myself in my character’s shoes,” Miracle opens up when talking about what it takes to build her characters. While she takes out time to create character bibles and conjure personalities for said characters, Miracle says her characters practically guide her on what they would and wouldn’t do. “Come on Miracle, you know I would never say that!” is an example of the back and forth conversation she has with her characters while developing them. She laughs about people having called her ‘mad’ when they walk in on her writing sessions. To them, they see a young lady deliriously conversing with herself, to her, she’s just an author collaboratively sculpting a piece of fiction.
The tasking part of writing can be assumed to be waiting for directions from her characters, as Miracle most times approaches a project with the story already laid out. Before getting to her laptop, she already has an idea of the story she’s about to start.
Inasmuch as What Happened To Janet Uzor is her debut novel, the twenty-four-year-old has been writing ever since she could remember. However, like many Nigerians at the time, she never considered she could build a career as a writer. With that misconception, she went on study Biochemistry at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Studying Biochemistry gave her little or no time to focus on writing. As a result, Miracle only wrote during the holidays, and once school was back in session, she went right back to being a Biochemistry student.
Now that Miracle is done with university, NYSC, and the release of her debut novel, she still does not put herself under pressure to write. She confesses that she doesn’t write as much as she would love to, but she makes sure to write as much as she can when she can. She makes sure to enjoy the process alone with no actual goal in mind.
For Miracle, What Happened To Janet Uzor, is her greatest accomplishment yet. As it’s her only work that has been published and garnered tons of reviews and praises, the author is most proud of this project.
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