Hello friends and welcome to Color the Shelves!
You know how a lot of the book we read in the community are US centric? Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that. But, if you’re an international reader it gets tiring and frustrating with time. So if you’ve hit one of those times, FRET NOT, I have the book for you. Lara T. Kareem wrote a romance centering Nigerian main characters fully set in Lagos, Nigeria. And I am here today to interview her about her new release, NOT JUST AN INTERLUDE to put it on your radar if it’s not on it already.
Hello Lara, welcome to Color the Shelves, thank you for joining me today for this interview! To kick things off, can you give us five fun facts about Sewa, your main character, so we can get to know her better?
Hi Fadwa, I’m more than thrilled to be here. A bit about Sewa, her full name is Adesewa Adedotun, she is a Yoruba woman in her early twenties from Lagos, Nigeria. Here are five fun facts about her:
- She is a mummy’s girl, her mother means the world to her.
- She loves listening to Alté music and a huge fan of many of the artists under the genre.
- She enjoys graphic designing & illustrating.
- She is completely loyal to the people she cares about.
- Her favourite tv series is How to Get Away with Murder.
What was your favourite part of writing NOT JUST ANOTHER INTERLUDE? And what was the most challenging thing about it?
Writing the story was my favourite part! I’m sure that’s not the answer you were expecting. I wrote it in a time where everyone including yourself, were advocating for more stories that people of colour could relate to, more Own Voices stories. I realised at that point, all I was reading was a lot of romance novels with white characters or with black characters living in the western worlds, but nothing reflecting my reality. It was fun writing a contemporary romance with the usual romance tropes, in my country of birth and putting a positive light on things usually frowned upon in my society.
The most challenging part of writing this story was introducing the conflict, the characters I had written were sensible, so it was hard to think up a justifiable action that could make them fight, which is why the story is low on angst.
What are some tropes you like to write? Any that you find particularly hard to write?
Is a confident and loves to live life on her own terms female main character a trope? Alpha Heroine & Instant Attraction—mind you not Instant Love. As for tropes I particularly find hard to write I don’t think I have any yet, I, however, stay away from messy love triangles, damsel in distress type of tropes.
NOT JUST ANOTHER INTERLUDE, beyond being a romance, is also a celebration of female friendships and mother/daughter relationships. Why were those relationships important for you to write into the book?
I started writing this story in 2017 and at that time, people weren’t as vocal about how important female friendship is, I was majorly reading stories about girls and women who could have been friends in books, being mean towards each other for no reason or because of some guy. I didn’t like the subtle agenda against female friendship and the idea women love to tear each other down. I needed to show that women can have wholesome relationships with one and another.
Growing up I was afraid of my mother, she didn’t raise me with open affection. I didn’t like her and it was because of the method she employed when it came to correcting or teaching me. The sad thing is many of my friends and people I meet who have exchanged stories of their childhood with me, have similar stories to mine. Due to this, I needed Sewa to have the best kind of relationship with her mother, one that is healthy and loving.
To close this interview off, what is something you’d like your readers to get out of your book or something you’d like to tell them?
NOT JUST ANOTHER INTERLUDE is perfect for people who want to read a light, cute and sweet romance that’s a feel-good story. Brimming with positivity, good vibes and love—different kinds of loves you can find, from your family, friends and significant others. A story that doesn’t pit women against each other for any reason, where the women in it are friends and support each other, no matter what, and are there for each other through the test of times. A story with a family which has gone through hard times but are now whole and happy again. That showcases good and loving support system all through from the characters.
Finally, support a Black author and be entertained by a romance story set in and with characters from modern Lagos, Nigeria.
About the author
Lara Tommy Kareem is a literary publicist, editor, enthusiast and blogger based in Lagos, Nigeria.
When she’s not working on her stories, reading, eating or catching up on her favourite TV shows, she can be found talking, taking pictures of and blogging about all things literary. You can read A GUIDE TO SELF-PUBLISHING or stories written by her such as LIVING IN THE MOMENT and many more on this website.
One of her future goals is starting her own publishing firm, she’s currently working as one of the Publicists at Parresia Publishers Ltd. and learning all she can. Lara also offer services such as Publishing Consultation, Beta Reading and Book Promotion at her Literary blog, Naija Book Bae and gives back to the community by sharing Literary Blogging Tips and Information through her Literary Newsletter Service, Bookish Species.
About the book
Publication date : May 20th, 2020
Publisher : Love Africa Press
Genre : Adult | Romance
Page Count: 464
Synopsis : The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.
A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.
That’s it until next time.
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.