Myne Whitman is Nigerian. She has lived in Nigeria and the UK and now lives with her husband in Bellevue, Washington. She volunteers as an ESL tutor for Hopelink, a local charity. She is the winner of the 2010 Blog of the Year and Best Book & Writing Blog awards at the Nigerian Blog Awards. She is the managing editor of Naija Stories, a critique website for Nigerian writers and belongs to the Seattle Eastside Writers Meetup. She is currently working on another romantic suspense novel to be released in 2011.
You can learn more about Myne at her website.
Set in Lagos, Nigeria, A Heart to Mend narrates a love story and a journey of self-discovery. Gladys moves to Lagos from a deprived single-parent home in Enugu, to live with a formerly estranged aunt. A new job gradually transitions Gladys into an independent young woman and then she meets Edward, a wealthy businessman. She is cynical of his advances but begins to fall in love with him.
Edward is physically attracted to Gladys but is not ready to give his heart. He is haunted by the past of his illegitimate birth and other secrets he will not share. Just as he starts to open up, Gladys finds herself embroiled in a plot to take over his business empire. Their happiness is in jeopardy and Gladys has to find a way to prove her innocence. Will Edward trust her enough to give love a chance?
Imagine the movie poster for your novel, A HEART TO MEND. What's the logline on that poster?
It will be, "Do you have a heart to mend?" I also used this tagline on the bookmark I made to go with the novel. I think the line captures the people who I hope will read A Heart to Mend - everybody.
What called you to write A HEART TO MEND?
It was a push to write a story, one that people would want to read and which would make them think. I know from personal experience that a lot of us close up our hearts to other people due to one reason or the other. I wanted to write a love story of self discovery where we can say, "It's okay to love and to accept love."
Talk to us about the writing process for A HEART TO MEND. Was it a fast write? Did you outline first or just sit and crank out the story?
A Heart to Mend actually came from a short story I had written earlier, so that stood for the outline and then I just wrote. It took about two months to finish and then another five months to redraft and edit. So all together, it took me about 8 months.
What themes resonate in your novel?
The major theme is that of unconditional love both romantic and familial which embraces forgiveness and tolerance. Another theme was male chauvinism and how it can affect homes and families. I wanted to explore the frailty of wives in traditional home settings and also the double standards that hold women down. In my subplot, I built on the themes of greed, deception, revenge and comeuppance.
What's one thing you want readers to come away with having read A HEART TO MEND?
I want them to discover themselves anew. I want them to realise that the past is a baggage and sometimes we don't need to hold on to it. It is a burden that may be capable of denying us the good things in life including love, success, happiness and peace of mind.
What are you doing to promote the novel?
I started with a blog tour once A Heart to Mend was published. I chose entertainment, lifestyle and book blogs with a diverse demographic of readers who fit into the book’s target audience. I’ve also had regular press releases and there’s a book trailer video on YouTube, and other video sites. I’ve had several interviews / Features in online and international print media. I was at the 2010 LA Black Book Expo, and a book reading in New York. I’ve been featured on KUOW - Seattle Public Radio and on BlogTalkRadio, I have co-hosted the Verastic Show and have been interviewed by two other authors. There will also be signings at local bookstores targeting holiday shoppers and another major global marketing blitz as I take a promotional tour to Nigeria where A Heart to Mend has been published.
What three writers have inspired you as a writer, and why?
I admire several writers so three would be hard. Still I admire Danielle Steele for how many novels she’s written and that she remains relevant even till today. I’m inspired by the storytelling of Khaled Hosseini and how his books remain some of the best I have read, ever. The last is Chimamanda Adichie, who’s also from Nigeria. I love her writing and how her characters are able to cut across all cultures and touch on what makes us all human.
If you were on a stranded island and could only have three things, what would those things be, and why?
It would be my husband and some food because I couldn’t do without those two. I’ll also want my laptop with loads of books, movies, etc. Will there be Internet connection there? I’m addicted to Facebook, LOL…
What is the most important component of a story for you--why?
The most important component for me is the emotional grab from the characters. I want to see rounded and well-drawn people who I can empathize with. It is only in this way that a story is able to hook me in.
Word Association. What comes to mind when you see the following words:
A HEART TO MEND: Do you have a heart to mend?
LOVE: is for everyone. Make a decision to love today.
RELATIONSHIPS: are not as hard as we think.
WRITING: tell me a story
MYNE WHITMAN: my pen name
What projects are you currently working on?
My work in progress manuscript is tentatively titled, Ghost of the Past. It is about Efe and Kevwe who fell in love with each other as teenagers and were separated by circumstances outside their control. They meet again over a decade later and sparks begin to fly. The book follows how they’re able to recapture lost love. I’m also the publisher and managing editor of a writer’s critique website called Naija Stories.