Interview with Theodore Ogedegbe, ACLAS President


Amidst the lingering strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), The president of the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students (ACLAS) , Theodore Ogedegbe announced the publication of his debut novel, “Where it Begins, it Ends” on Wednesday, 1st of June.

In this interview with Ogunrinu Olanshile of AFAS PRESS, Theodore speaks about the making and meaning of the book, the intricacies of publishing and his source of inspiration.

AFAS PRESS: Tell us a bit about yourself, your hobbies and interests.

THEODORE: I will keep it simple. I am Theodore Ogedegbe, from Ohrerhe-Agbarho in Delta state. First child and only son with three siblings. I am a writer.
My hobbies and interests span across a lot of fields because I like to identify as an eclectic and ‘liberal-to-an-extent’ kind of person. So in no particular order; writing, politics, reading, football (sports generally), music, movies. Basically anything that keeps me happy, or those that matter around me.

AFAS PRESS: How long have you been writing?

THEODORE: Hmmm.. It depends on the kind of writing we are referring to in particular. But I’d say close to 15 years now, my first piece was a poem I wrote for my mother on her birthday in 2007, it was on a handmade card made from cardboard paper. I think she still has a copy of it.

AFAS PRESS: : Please tell us a bit about your new book, “Where it Begins, it Ends.”

THEODORE: ‘Where it begins, it ends’ is a compilation of intriguing short stories, thrillers and a couple of poems. The stories cut across both everyday occurrence and realities; love, lust, betrayal, heartbreak, and a lot of other themes. The stories are uniquely different because they span across different locations, cultures, and time lines. There’s even a story set in a colonial era. (I hope I am not giving out to much details already) but yeah, I doubt anyone my age has pulled that stunt.

AFAS PRESS: Is this your first book? What inspired you to write it?

THEODORE: This is my first book. My inspiration? Series of events.
One of the stories on this publication was used in a short story contest and it managed to be top four out of about five hundred entries. And that made me believe I was good enough.

Another inspiration for this would be my friends. I have very supportive friends that have encouraged me to come this far.
Then another inspiration would be my restless psyche and wild imagination. I have a lot of ‘what ifs’ in my head. A lot of stories that tell people’s perspectives and experiences, especially the untold and unpopular ones. That is what I tried to achieve with this. Also, as sad as it may sound, the strike inspired me to do this too. I probably would not have had enough time to work on my drafts if we were in session. This is somehow my silver lining.

Also, as sad as it may sound, the strike inspired me to do this too. I probably would not have had enough time to work on my drafts if we were in session. This is somehow my silver lining.

AFAS PRESS: What was the easiest and hardest part of writing this book?

THEODORE: The hardest part? I can’t say exactly. Editing was very hectic, even though I had a lot of assistance. I had to make sure that people would read and understand exactly what I am trying to say or the picture I am trying to paint.
Selecting the stories was difficult too, because not all my stories made the cut. Since it was my first, I wanted to choose the best of stories, and I had some favorites but I didn’t want it to be entirely about my favorites. Easiest part? I’d say drafting the stories and plots.

AFAS PRESS: How did you come up with the title?

THEODORE: A brainstorming session with a couple friends and booze. When people get to read the book, I hope they are able to see the pattern in the stories and how they relate to the title.
Every part of the book is related, the stories and the poems. The poems, it’s a kind of loop.
The idea behind the topic is that stories never really end. Stories only seem to end because we tell them from the angle of one person, and most times, people we call minor characters are major characters themselves, because they do have a plot in the bigger picture. So where one story ends, another begins.

So where one story ends, another begins.

AFAS PRESS: What were the challenges you encountered in writing and publishing the book?

THEODORE: Epileptic power supply! This took a toll on me, especially on nights that I had my creative juice flowing. It was particularly disappointing and frustrating, but I had to stay above it.
Another challenge was getting the right platforms for the publication, publicity and sales. From a distance, it looks easy, rosy and cheap, but everything in publication comes at a cost, and apparently it ain’t cheap.

AFAS PRESS: : Who are your favourite authors, and what do you admire in their work?

THEODORE: Paul Coelho, Chinua Achebe, Dan Brown, to mention a few.

I admire their uniqueness, their ability to tell a story from an angle we never paid attention to. Their ability to show us cultural relevance and the way they structure their dialogue and stream of thoughts of the characters.
I try to work on the things I admire about them, hoping that one day, my own style and voice is seen, admired and appreciated.

AFAS PRESS: What are the promotion techniques you intend to apply in marketing this book?

THEODORE: I’m already using the techniques I know best. I am also using the means I can afford. I just hope that those that know my prowess would be willing and supportive enough to buy and read. While those that don’t know, I hope they are curious enough because the piece is worth every hype.
I’m considering hosting a Twitter space in a few weeks, where I can listen to people’s review of the book.

AFAS PRESS: Any advice for other young aspiring writers like you?

THEODORE: I don’t think I am entirely in a place to give a piece of advice because I am not where I want to be yet. But all I can say is “continue to hone your craft, find your voice and your niche, don’t stop pushing.”

AFAS PRESS: Where can readers buy the book?

THEODORE: It is available on a lot of platforms like Tell Books, OkadaBooks, Amazon Kindle and Raluten Kobo.

AFAS PRESS: Thank you very much for your time Theodore, and we wish you much success in all your endeavours.

THEODORE: Thanks a lot too

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