Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Author Spotlight - Empi Baryeh

In today's spotlight, we feature Ghanaian author Empi Baryeh.
Welcome, Empi.

What is your writing process?
I wish I had one. The plan is always to write whenever I have some free time. “Freetime” being evenings and weekends, because I work full-time. But in terms of process, I try to start or set up the next chapter/scene in my head before I sit at my laptop to write. Usually, all I need is the right entry or feeling for the chapter/scene to get into it. When I sit to write, I tend to go over the last chapter/scene before continuing.

Everyone who writes knows it's not easy - what methods do you use to keep at it on days when it would be so much easier to go shoe shopping?
I do love shopping. To be honest, I try not to stress myself out. If it’s not there, it’s not there. It all comes back to setting the scene up in my head prior to taking out my laptop. If the scene is ready to be written, then shoe shopping will easily take a backseat. However, retail therapy does have its benefits in creating inspiration. Imagine getting a new pair of shoes, and then coming home and writing that naughty scene with nothing but your brand new shoes on!

Keeping fit: Do you have an exercise regime to counterbalance all those hours sitting at a computer?
I’m really bad at exercising. I do a lot of stretches, and tend to opt for walking instead of driving everywhere all the time. But I’m proud to say that last week, I finally got off my arse and did a one-hour walk, which I’m planning to keep up at least three times a week.

Do you believe in writer's block?
Absolutely! My few attempts at plotting have led to serious blocks! Okay, maybe that’s just an excuse. The real answer is, whether a writer believes in it or not, there are always periods when one can’t seem to produce any material worth its weight in gold. But I also think there are ways of motivating oneself to write. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a change of scenery – and that can simply mean moving from the study to the dining table.

Have you ever used an incident from real life in a book? If so, did it get you into trouble?
Every story I write has a piece of real life in it – not always my life, mind you. I try to let real life events and people inspire the story/scene/character etc. rather than pick something verbatim and put it in a story. I must be doing it well enough, because I haven’t yet got in trouble for it. Yet (LOL)

In what way is being a published writer different to how you thought it would be?
Well…life doesn’t dramatically change. You don’t suddenly have every reader clamouring for your book and everyone recognising your name – okay, so I wasn’t really expecting *that* to happen. In terms of writing, I’m still facing pretty much the same challenges I did as a pre-published author…and then some.

Promotion is no longer a dirty word. In what ways do you strive to reach more readers?
Ah! Promotion. Are you sure it isn’t a dirty word? Cos I blush every time I hear it :-). Okay, on a serious note, I love blog tours because they introduce me to new readers and vice versa. I try to join conversations on writers’ and readers’ groups. I think a writer’s best endorsement is herself/himself. If a writer’s own wit (in normal conversation) is interesting, I might for that reason alone try their book. I hope that the same applies to other readers. I am still learning the nooks and crannies of Twitter, which I’m beginning to really like. But most importantly I try to do some reaching every single day.

What is your top promo tip for other authors?
Reach out every day. If you’re going to join groups, don’t lurk – join the conversation.

What did you learn while writing Chancing Faith?
Ooh, tough one. I haven’t thought about this before, but I suppose it’s that a writer must know a lot more about the story than what actually goes into the story. For example, the very first scene I ever wrote for Chancing Faith never made it into the book. I tried, believe me. I also learnt how to re-write to remove head-hopping even though it meant doing away with some of the lines I was most fond of.

What was the most fun part of writing this book?
Spending time with my hero and heroine. I really love these two as a couple. They complement each other perfectly and it was such a joy to watch them fall in love.

And just for fun: what would your hero’s honeymoon destination of choice be?
Thane is all about making Naaki happy, so his honeymoon destination of choice would be some landmark tourist spot in Ghana – the crocodile pond in Paga, or the butterfly sanctuary in the Eastern Region, or the Volcanic Crater Lake, Bosomtwe in the Ashanti region. This may actually be relevant in the Book 2 in the series (shhh).

About Chancing Faith


American ad exec, Thane Aleksander, doesn’t date co-workers either—until business takes him to Ghana, West Africa, and he meets Naaki. Now he’s at risk of breaking all the rules. Can he stop this headlong fall before it’s too late?


Naaki Tabika has a burning need to prove, to herself and others, that she’s more than wife and mother material. To do so, she’s prepared to give up everything for her job. Meeting Thane, however, makes her want to get personal. But falling for her boss could destroy her career. Will she be willing to risk it all for the one thing that can make her truly happy?

Two divergent cultures, two different races, two career-driven professionals, only one chance at true love—will they find the faith to take it, or will their hearts be sacrificed on the altar of financial success?

Chancing Faith is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, and direct from the publisher, Black Opal Books.

You can visit Empi online at her blog, on her website, or at Goodreads, or chat with her on Facebook and Twitter.


Empi said...

Thanks for hosting me, Minxes of romance. I look forward to meeting your friends, fans and readers :-)

Adonis Devereux said...

Good advice for promo! Just stopping by to show love and support, as always!

Elle Wright said...

Great interview Empi! I often weave a little real-life in my stories too.

Debbie Christiana said...

Hi Empi - Oh, I'd like the crocodile pond or the Volcano crater lake.

I'm looking forward to reading Chancing Faith for the story and to learn more about Ghana and it's scenery.


Lauri said...

Fantastic book cover and interesting interview.

Liv Rancourt said...

Good post, Empi - and yeah, getting out there every day is key.

Firetulip said...

Some great questions and even greater answers. I'm like you, can't plot for the life of me. I do a basic storyline but then never refer back to it.
I'd love to visit those places Thane would take Naaki for their honeymoon.

Bev Irwin / Kendra James said...

Plotting. Ugh hate it. Great post again, Empi.

Kathy Bosman said...

Lovely interview, Empi. Your book and it's settings sound magical!

Lacey Devlin said...

Chancing Faith sounds like a great read :) Thanks for a fascinating interview, Empi!

Empi said...

Hey, Adonis, thanks for the support. Love seeing you on my blog tour.

Lesley, thanks. Yeah, real-life does make fiction a little more interesting, doesn't it?

Debbie, I haven't been to the crocodile pond (shame on me), but I have been to the crater lake. I'm going to have to do some more touring in my own country this year.

Lauri, thanks. Glad you enjoyed the interview. I *love* the cover of Chancing Faith. It really captures the tone of the story.

Liv, getting out there everyday sounds so easy, doesn't it?

Empi said...

Liv, I'll be sure to incorporate more of those in my future stories. You can visit through my stories :-)

Bev, thanks for the visit. Yeah, plotting is such an ugly word ;-)

Kathleen & Lacey, thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt. I hope you'll let me know when you get to read Chancing Faith (no pressure).

Empi said...

winner's been announced on my blog