I had the pleasure of interviewing Chioma Nnani as part of her blog tour with Enchanted Tours. I asked her about the topic of her book Forever There For You, and here’s what she had to say:
From my own perspective, it’s a cocktail of love, friendship, sisterhood, cultural clashes, religion and domestic violence. I tend to write character-driven stories, so even with these themes, it’s about how the characters engage with, reject or affected by them [the themes].
Domestic violence is such a topical issue – because there are so many representations of it. Some are more subtle than others, which doesn’t make it better. But one of the interesting things about Forever There For You is how that the other themes arguably contribute to the incidents of domestic violence, which is inflicted by and on different characters who then have to navigate their way through.
I come from a culture where domestic violence is like an open taboo. People try to normalize it because of certain issues – which turned out to be the other themes in the book. But there is absolutely nothing normal about domestic violence; it’s repugnant, repulsive and totally inexcusable. Yes, there are places that help victims of domestic violence in Nigeria. But it can be very frustrating to watch for a number of reasons.
For one, the law works real slow … well, it’s a lot slower than Suits, The Practice and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit make you believe it should be. I do have a Law (LLB) degree, so I really should know better, but knowing and feeling are two different things. And when you see someone suffering, and even when you’re working on the sidelines, you want to do right by the person and not play dirty … not even just for your conscience’s sake, but because you want them to be in the best position to win, but you have to be sure of what ‘win’ really means; it’s difficult.
Another challenge is to do with what a lot of victims go through – the acquisition of Stockholm Syndrome, where they actually defend their abuser. It doesn’t matter how many times I see it, it’s just weird. Some of them … I find that the more religious a person is, the more likely they are to justify the ill-treatment they have suffered, using their religious texts. It’s baffling!
Then, there’s the one about the women who lie that they have been abused, just to spite a man or out of a warped understanding of feminism. These are not peculiar to Nigeria, but it’s very odd.
Thank you Chioma for shining a light on a very important issue. The amount of women who are abused by their partners on daily basis around the world is astounding, the statistical numbers don’t accurately add up because some domestic abuse cases never gets reported. A lot of times it is because of what Chioma mentioned above or just out of fear for the victim’s safety. It’s a sad situation, and if this post can help one person not feel like they are alone in their situation, or prompt them to take a stand, then we have done our duty to inspire and strengthen another soul.
Get to know more about Chioma in 10Q with Chioma Nnani scheduled to be posted on January 31.
Chioma Nnani is an award-winning author, who also contributes to business, lifestyle and literary publications. One of Africa’s most fearless storytellers, she is a 2016 CREATIVE AFRICAN Awards finalist in the category of “Best Fiction Writer”, and a DIVAS OF COLOUR 2016 finalist. Chioma has also been nominated twice for a UK BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts) Award in the “Best Author” category. A talented ghost-writer who is known for “being able to get into your head and under your skin, before writing down exactly how you’re feeling”, Chioma has been named “One of 100 Most Influential Creatives in 2016” by London-based C.Hub Magazine.
She holds a Law (LLB) from the University of Kent and a Postgraduate Certificate in Food Law (De Montfort University, Leicester). She is the founder of THE FEARLESS STORYTELLER HOUSE EMPORIUM LTD (a premium storytelling outfit based in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, where she lives), typically contributes to lifestyle and literary publications, and runs the “Memo From A Fearless Storyteller” blogazine at www.fearlessstoryteller.com for which she won the 2016 BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts) Award.
Title: Forever There For You by Chioma Nnani
When NADINE is confronted with the reality of her failing marriage, her first instinct is to work it out. She has had it drummed into her that marriage is ‘for better, for worse’. Walking out is just not an option – her faith would condemn her and her culture would make her a pariah.
The combination of Nadine’s background, education, social standing, friendships, faith, experiences and past relationships is meant to equip her to become a success. Failure is alien to her and love means forgiving at all cost.
As she tries to survive and make the most of the curves that life has thrown her, she discovers that ’success’ is a subjective term, and ‘happily ever after’ is something that you have to discover and define for yourself …