Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Guest Blogger, Ogo Ogbata

I’d like to welcome author Ogo Akubue-Ogbata as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.

Ogo’s historical fiction novel is entitled, “Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman.” She will be dropping back by to answer any questions you might have, as well as respond to your comments.

Ọgọ (pronounced ‘or-gore?’) has ‘always’ loved writing and remembers penning sketchy stories as early as age four yet studied Computer Science at the University of Nigeria in Nsukka. About a year after graduation, she started to write a regular socio-political column for The Guardian (one of Africa’s largest circulated newspapers), whilst working as an executive at a direct marketing multinational company. She has also worked in the UK financial services industry, garnering invaluable experience in sales and marketing as well as customer relations.

Ogo joins us here today to talk about why some people quit and other never give up. Ogo what are your thoughts on this?

You've heard it all before: 'Heart broken woman murders lover.' Rich tycoon loses fortune in recession; jumps off high rise building.' 'Citizens lash out at corrupt politicians. War and terrorism brewing!'
Life is like a pressure cooker hissing at full steam sometimes. And there comes a moment when even well-meaning people, optimistic people, stop hoping and holding on.

But have you ever wondered how a discerning few are able to weather the whirlwinds of life without complaining or throwing in the towel? Have you ever wondered why some people are able to forgive the unforgiveable, love the unlovable and forge ahead after one setback after another?

I wondered too until I wrote the debut novel - "Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman." Imagine for a moment that you're a naive young girl from a very privileged family who's living in an explosive time in your country's history. However, you are shielded from turmoil in many ways. You eat the best food, live in a great big house, wear the best clothing, attend the best schools and have a bright future looming ahead of you.

Then suddenly a series of mysterious circumstances befall your family. You lose your parents, food disappears from the dinning table, school is struck off the agenda and the big old house is no longer your home. Then fate sends an elderly aunt to the rescue. However, auntie is poor and has more than her fair share of problems. She cannot afford to feed two mouths and therefore your only sister (and last link to life as you know it) is cruelly torn from your embrace.

Imagine being sent off to live with another relative - one that you've never even met before now - a silent, angry, relative who works your fingers to the bone in exchange for food and shelter. Your idyllic childhood is a distant memory now, your adolescence unguided. Reality becomes the never-ending hunger pangs, the tiredness in your fingers, the tropical sun browning the back of your neck, the smell of dust, flowers in the cold rain and hard-work sweat.

Then finally you come of age and meet the gentleman of your dreams. You fall in love and foolishly assume that love will make everything okay. How could it not when the song in your heart intoxicates you by the day? But love only complicates things because there is a secret in your past. A terrible secret. And you must fight night and day to keep this shameful secret from destroying everything...

I learnt much about love, courage and honour as the protagonist in my novel, Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman, metamorphosised into a woman of substance. Although of African origin, she is really no different from many who with grace and quiet dignity navigate the maze of marriage, motherhood and citizenship.

My protagonist has truly inspired me, but it was 'belief' that inspired her to keep on walking no matter the odds - belief that life is worth living, that love is worth working at, that tomorrow will be better. Belief is... simple, sublime. And yet, belief is a very powerful thing. 

Ogo, this is so true. Belief is a very powerful thing. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

 Ogo is a multi-talented writer, speaker and creative consultant. Originally from Iwollo in Enugu State, Nigeria, she comes from a family of four sisters and three brothers. Her father before he became self-employed was Divisional Manager at a multinational oil company, her mother was a mathematics teacher/home-maker and her husband is a Civil Litigation Lawyer. She lives in Northamptonshire, England.

For chapter excerpts and more news about Ogo’s debut novel, as well as BBC interviews, go to http://www.elpwoman.com


  1. I love novels with secrets! This sounds like a very interesting book with a protagonist who had her life turned upside down. Thanks for the tip on it, Mason and Ogo!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  2. I'm with Elizabeth, novels with secrets: the best. Question for Ogo: what about this novel reflects your own life in Nigeria?


  3. ohhh, this sounds intriguing. It is so interesting how some give up after trials and others use trials as a stepping stone toward something better.

  4. Thank you Mason and everyone, for supporting my first book tour!

    @ Michele: Whilst writing this novel, I drew from a few themes in my own life. For instance: leaving my comfort zone - for a country where I had neither family nor friends... and having to start life all over in a sense.

  5. Mason - You are so kind to let us "meet" so many different authors with exciting books! Ogo, your book sounds so compelling! I, too, love novels with secrets, and I very much like historical fiction, especially if it's history I don't know very well. I am intrigued!

  6. I too love "secretive" books, and this one sounds fascinating. Love your name, Ogo Ogbata ... and what a great smile. Best wishes for tremendous success with your book!

    Marvin D Wilson

  7. Thanks Mason and Ogo for an inspiring post on forging on! Interesting, Ogo, how your character inspired you in her journey. I've sometimes felt the same way when writing, that I actually learn about the human condition through exploring the characters' situations. We learn from the most amazing places.

    Best wishes to you!

  8. This sounds like a great book. I like books with strong female characters and this sounds like one of those.

    Straight From Hel

  9. Sounds like a really interesting book - I love the title and the cover. The main character sounds like a real trooper!

  10. This sounds like a fascinating book with a wonderfully strong female protagonist. I'm looking forward to reading it.

  11. Ogo, thank you so much for guest blogging today. Your story is very intriguing. It has a little of everything.

    Thanks everybody for stopping by today. Sorry, I haven't been around much. I've had to be gone most of the day and only had a few minutes to pop in before leaving again.

  12. Congrats on your successes, Ogo - and thanks for the post! It's great when we can learn from (and grow with) our protagonists.



    from the desk of a writer

  13. Sounds like a wonderful and interesting book! Sweet. :-D

  14. You all are so kind! Thanks again xxx


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.