Woman Answers a Romantic Call to Write
By Steve Ogah
Esther Okoloeze didn’t make any strenuous exertion to write her first novel. She did not spend long hours writing outlines and editing drafts for her charmingly titled novel, Red Roses, Stained Glasses. And why didn’t she do that? The author tells me she has learnt not to be too critical of herself as a writer. She confronts her writings with the mind of computer programmers and code writers. This is how she has been able to avoid being too critical of herself. “You can bet I’m also learning to let myself improve rather than let the pursuit of perfection cripple me,” she says in a recent conversation around her book and art. “I have learned to think like apps and product developers, there’s always room to upgrade to the next best version. So once it’s good enough for the user, we launch and keep upgrading.”
Red Roses, Stained Glasses, is better captured as a story of a woman’s “selfless love even in the middle of her crisis.” The author has insisted that, “just like a red rose is filled with thorns yet lovely, she (Chinny) never lets the thorns in her life turn her into a bitter person.” Faced with her romantic crises Chinny is determined to push on and always hope for the best out of life. This is a story that will resonate with many women and men as well. This Theatre Arts graduate has written a story rooted in staple experiences. What sets her account apart is the literary ingenuity she has applied to her storytelling craft. In order to succeed in a story that can easily be muddled in the hands of less gifted prose writers, Okoloeze brings intimacy to her creative imagination and inspiration for this novel.
“I have always cherished my childhood memories of Christmas which was the inspiration for the story’s setup.” She reveals. “However, the plot was influenced by both life experiences and artistic quest. I’ll say it’s a combination of both.”
And it’s not like this promising writer and editor set out to write an enchanting story of love, drama and heartbreaks. Rather, Red Roses, Stained Glasses is the product of her obedience to an inventive sub-consciousness. “The story called and I answered.” She confesses. “It turned out to be a love story. I’ll say it’s a story that touches on love and it’s not as romantic as you may imagine.”
A deeply faithful believer in her calling, Okoloeze is not deterred by the mixed reactions most debut novelists receive. She acknowledges the challenges writers face but she is spurred on by her creative juices. “For those who have read the book, they have kind words for it. There have been some criticisms too. I can say my real audience loves the story and even wants more, like a sequel. Obscurity in one challenge every first-time African author faces. Not a lot of stakeholders in the industry are supportive because it’s not a known name, but it’s all good. That’s the story we get to tell someday if we don’t give up.”
Esther Okoloeze is determined to keep on writing. She has found it difficult to let go of some of her characters. She has hinted at a sequel to this tale of shattered dreams, loss and audacious hope. “I strongly believe that some characters in the story are not done living.”
In the author’s words, “Stained Glasses is a metaphor for overcoming life’s storms. Stained glass can always be wiped cleaned by the right hands-God’s hands and that of everyone who stands with us through the silent and stormy seasons of our lives. In a nutshell, Red Roses, Stained Glasses is a love letter to those who rise above it all.” Esther’s novel is available at www.bookpeddler.ng, Amazon and where good books are sold.