Transforming readers’ lives one book at a time

In March 2020, the world went into lockdown. For Funmi Anu Bankole, this unexpected space proved the starting point for a creative journey to becoming a published author.

Now, barely one year later, the British-African writer has six books to her name, five novellas and one spiritual memoir. Writing predominantly in the genre of family drama, Funmi is considered by her growing worldwide fan-base to be the literary queen of domestic fiction. But beneath the compelling emotionally-charged plots lies deeper, inspirational and moral themes guided by the Nigeria-born novelist’s Christian faith. Each traumatic event or tragic consequence has its cause, and learning from those fictional failings teaches readers how to become better.

Her self-professed mission is to help change the world by empowering and transforming readers’ lives one book at a time.  Currently hard at work on her next novella, The Dancing Horse, Funmi took the time to speak to us about her blossoming writing career.

Q. How would you sum up the type of stories you write?

A. My stories are my contributions to the world, for all she has taught me over the years. They don’t read as stories to me; they are my little miracles which I am glad to share with the world. I hope that each character, scene, dialogue, and more inside them leads and inspires the needed change in the world. They are my empowerment tools for every reader. 

Q. Thematically, your books could be said to be connected by a compelling desire to attain a better life, extolling the virtue of hard work and faith. Why is this important to you and your readers?

A. What we all dream about is becoming the best we can ever be, but how we get to achieve this is what cuts the difference. Hard work, or ‘do I say’ consistent work, and a full submission to God are the arsenals I have benefitted from. These virtues have opened doors for me and many other great persons I have come across in my life. For my readers, I like to believe that they are in search of a better life, are on their way towards a better life, or are investing their time in my stories because it helps them sustain their quest. I believe a life with consistency yields results with time.  

Q. Which of your six books to date would you recommend a new reader reads first, and why?

A. Wow! This is a tough question but I will try to attempt it. I wouldn’t be true to myself if I handpick a particular book as my favourite because each book has its special place in my heart. I believe each book spells out different reactions in every reader that encounters it. But, for now, I will pick Turning Point because it resonates more with the basics of the inner motivation. It also digs in into my personal story of success, struggles, and victory. I will also consider the book Who is God? because of its attempt in answering certain fundamental questions around God via a wide range of believers’ perceptions.

British-African author Funmi Anu Bankole says her prolific literary output is a gift from God, and one she is using to its full, helping readers reach their God-ordained potential.

Q. You have only become an author in recent years but you have already published six books. How have you managed to do this?

A. That is something I am humbled by. God really graced me but I must also add that the burden to give all I can to my world keeps me up all night. This is a commitment I hold so dear to my heart and I will do all I can to keep to it.

Q. What are the key writing rules an author should follow to produce a page-turning story?

A. Tell the story genuinely. Pay attention to details but don’t sleep on them. Let your stories live for themselves in your readers’ imaginations. Don’t force meaning into them. Simplicity is the art that heals.   

Q. Which of your six books are you most proud of, and why?

A. Turning Point. Chunks of the plot are autobiographical. The book detailed my experiences in life and how I was able to make something meaningful out of it. 

To date, Funmi Anu Bankole has published six books: family dramas Turning Point, Women In Waiting, The Prodigal Daughter, The Boss, Born To Reign and spiritual memoir, Who is God? She is currently working on her next novella, The Dancing Horse.

Q. What do you love most about writing?

A. The demands. I mean, writing demands a lot from you as a writer. Every part of you and things around you count when you decide to write. So many drafts, so many edits and just when you think you have gotten all right, another thing comes up and you let the first draft go, no matter how long it took you to write it. Every part of your spirit, soul and body is exhausted when writing and I love this so much. I also love the fact that writing has multiple ways of giving back to people and to the writer,  too.  

Q. How do you develop your stories?

A. I conceive the ideas and, sometimes, they come as inspiration from chats, books, daily news items, observations, music, solitude and more. Then, I jot my ideas down or type them on my phone or my computer. I map out my sketches, in terms of genre, character type, plot sequence, settings, dictions, and so on, after which I attempt my drafts for each story. The first draft is mostly lost after several edits. But I continue to work on the piece till I feel a minimal ease about the story. I then send the story to my editors and they will go over the story a number of times before nailing a ‘yes’ for publication. That’s a minimal skeleton of the whole process for me. 

Author Funmi Anu Bankole’s stories hit the heartstrings with an archer’s precision, typically featuring a female character beset by family problems.

Q. What would be your idea of success as an author?

A. Success, to me, is seeing the world become better via the changed lives my stories produce. Success is seeing my readers reach their God-ordained potentials via the lessons picked out of my books. Success is also reaching out to my audience and potential audience, sitting with them and listening to their breakthrough stories as inspired through my writings.  

Q. All of your protagonists face their hardships but which one do you sympathise with the most, and for what reason?

A. Melinda, the beleaguered matriarch in The Boss. She is one character I am endeared to because of the complexity tied around her life. She is a mother of four who did all her best to give her children the best life she could afford. But her all wasn’t enough because her children later took to living as gangsters, which is unknown to her. Her character is so important to me because she represent the obvious gap in our present-day idea of parenthood, wherein many parents are oblivious of their children’s upbringing. She captures the value of conscious care and availability of the parents in a child’s life.

All six of Funmi Anu Bankole’s books—Turning Point, Born To Reign, The Prodigal Daughter, Women In Waiting, The Boss, and Who Is God—are available from her website, www.FunmiAnuBankole.com  priced individually at £2.99 in eBook format, £5.99 for three or £9.99 for all six titles.

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