Hi people! Welcome to 2011, and to a new year of possibilities and opportunities. I've been busy working on a project behind the scenes since last year, but I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, enjoy my first post this year, an interview with Dolapo Babalola, author of the inspirational book: My God Even In the Last Minute.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Please if I may, I would first like to thank you for this great opportunity to reach your readers. Well, a few words about myself. I humbly say that I’m a God fearing Nigerian woman, blessed to be a wife, mother, family physician, sibling, and recently a debut author of an inspirational book titled: My God: Even in the Last Minute (MyGelm) released September 2010.
I am adventurous and hate to turn down a challenge, unless for a good cause. I enjoy spending time with family, dancing, writing, listening to music, and being inspired to reach higher grounds.
Tell us something about the book; My God – Even in the Last Minute.
Several themes are explored in MyGelm. First and foremost, it narrates my journey as a young aspiring physician who, in the pursuit of a permanent residency in the United States, faced multiple obstacles and challenges. Each day through this ongoing ordeal, I experienced God in a way that I never would have imagined. Secondly, I mention the various circumstances that God showed up in the most unexpected place, in the last minute, and always with a life-changing lesson. Thirdly, I speak on how; the greatest lesson in my darkest hours of uncertainty is that God is close by, quietly working behind the scenes, bolstering my faith for a miracle. Last but not the least; in chapter 6, I discuss the pearls of life that I discovered during my startling journey that I believe will be educational for people to apply in their lives.
What inspired you to write this book?
I originally wrote my book to keep my mind focused on other activities, other than my challenges. I gradually matured through the process and had a keen appreciation of the omnipotence of God. Life is a journey; my experiences have shown me that it is a continuous learning curve. How we react to the situation is what makes the difference; I decided at this point to share my experience with the world by writing my book.
What was your vision or target when you started writing this book?
Actually everyone, but with particular reference to Christians.
How long did it take you to complete this book?
I drafted out the outline of my book into four chapters with tentative titles at the latter part of 2009 but as I wrote the text, I realized there was more to tell on how God showed up in the most unexpected places. I ended up adding two more chapters and finally finished writing in June, 2010. So, my answer would be about seven months.
What was the writing process like for you?
The joy and freedom to write and express myself, is what I enjoy the most about writing. What a phenomenal feeling it is to be able to put my thoughts down.
Initially, it was a good feeling and a new territory but towards the end it became unbelievable just the amount of planning that goes into publishing. I did get nervous sometimes about the path I was taking, but when I reminded myself that there is a first time to anything, I felt alright.
What was the hardest part of writing the book?
The hardest part of writing MyGelm was when I had to share intimate personal details of your life. I wondered what good it will be to bear all down and at what cost? What if the message was not accepted? I kept reminding myself that I had been blessed through the experience.
What lesson(s) would you want readers to take away from the book?
There are several lessons that I would like for my readers to take away from my book. First and foremost is peace of mind in my current position or any storm. I was assured that God can show up in the most unexpected places. The propagation of my message is to serve as a reminder that God’s plans, purposes, and pursuits can be expressed through our lives if we lay down our plans, purposes, and pursuits to Him. I learnt several life-changing lessons, including the pearls of life while we wait on a response from God. I discussed all of these in my book, with the hope it would make a positive impact on someone’s life.
How did you come up with the title?
The title of my book came about as I experienced my “Ah-Ha moment.” While writing my text, it dawned on me that every bit of my journey was like a road race, some situation was always approaching its deadline or I was hitting rock bottom. I would try to figure out how and when a problem would be solved, and in the process I would doubt God’s ability to handle the problem. God kept showing up in the most unexpected places to make a way for me, even when it seemed naturally impossible, even if it was in the last minute.
What response have you received from readers of the book so far?
So far, I can say all the responses have been positive. I thank God for this, and that I submitted to his leading to write ‘MyGelm’. Many people shared with me that the book reminded them that God always works behind the scenes, and all things work together for our good.
A friend shook my hands and said “thanks for doing this.” He was inspired to write his long-awaited book. My husband recently travelled for a wedding in New York and met a lady who recognized his name. She bought the book online, read it and was not only blessed but inspired. I was thrilled to hear this!
What are the challenges you encountered in writing and publishing the book?
A few challenges I faced during the writing phase were; finding the time to complete my book, not to mention, the guilt trip, when I steal time from other activities. In addition, learning to write using the Chicago Manual literary Style was not easy, since up to date, I wrote mostly medical articles.
Now, with regards to publishing my book, it was mostly finding the right publishing company to suit my financial needs and expectations. This took a lot of background investigation and was time-consuming.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
So much, it’s unbelievable. I love the fact that I have discovered myself to be more God-fearing, Adventurous, Seizing every opportunity and a Constant learner.
What inspires you as a writer?
So many but to mention three; Rev Tai Ikomi has influenced my life especially in her book titled “The Art of Inspirational writing. It is an amazing book! It teaches us to release ourselves to deliver the message indoctrinated.
What book(s) are you reading now?
I am reading a pretty interesting book by Debbie Taylor Williams titled: The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World.
Who are your favourite authors and what do you admire in their work?
My life never remained the same after I read Mike Murdock’s book “The Uncommon Leader” I could read it over and over again; I just love the part that says we should focus on possibilities instead of problems. And lastly; Gifted Hands by Dr. Ben Carson. I remember reading this book in college with tears in my eyes, knowing that I can overcome any obstacle if I can only believe in myself. The message is clearly that “Champions keep playing until they get it right” words from Billie Jean King.
What are your current projects? Are you planning to write another book?
My husband and I recently started MyGelm blog; we love to aspire to our maximum potential by using the talents that God has blessed us with. The goal is to inspire others positively by having monthly inspirational poems on my blog, which would be opened for discussion. We invite your readers to join us and contribute to these inspirational nuggets.
No, no thought of any book, neither fiction nor non-fiction. But I have learnt “never to say never.” I will continue to enjoy writing medical literature.
Apart from writing, what else do you do?
You can always find me being adventurous and challenging myself at new things. I enjoy spending time in church and with my family. I also enjoy dancing, listening to great music, reading a great book or writing as a form of relaxation.
How do you balance being a wife, mother, medical doctor and writer?
There are challenges in combining my different responsibilities as a wife, mother, career woman; such as trying to do everything and being in the same place at the same time. I have realized that only God has this ability. I try to maintain structure and prioritize such that my children are trained in the same manner. For instance, when I am with my family I avoid taking calls, except it is urgent. I catch up on my calls while I commute from place to place (using my Bluetooth). When I am consistent, it is a perfect arrangement but when I am not; my life is a total chaos. Total chaos is expensive, stressful and time-consuming, so I have learnt gladly to give up some activities.
What advice can you give to other aspiring authors?
Our disappointments and trials are no surprise to God. He knew every setback that would occur and had already arranged a comeback. You have someone fighting for you—the Creator of the universe is breathing in your direction. His hand of favour is upon your life. He is crossing ahead of you, making your crooked places straight. You can trust God for victory in your future and watch him show up in the most unexpected places.
In addition, I would like to leave these words with aspiring authors. First and foremost, please at this junction, tell yourself you can do it, you have what it takes to achieve you goals, and by the grace and wisdom of God, you will attain your goals. In addition to this, I recently heard of the key for success in an acronym called “REFS,” which stands for Respect, Effort, Focus, and Self-control.” Making it in life and scaling through challenges is by trusting God and seeking his guidance, but also having respect for self and others, making an effort, staying focused on the ultimate goal and maintaining self-control. So get to it; don’t waste the talents and gifts, because someone out there needs to hear and read about itJ
Where can we get a copy of the book?
In addition to my website; www.mygelm.com for purchase links, others are; Amazon and Autographed Copy
Where can find out more about you and your work?
I would love to hear from your readers. Readers can stay abreast of my ongoing efforts by visiting my website and blog; http://www.mygelm.com/ and http://www.mygelm.wordpress.com/. I welcome your comments, discussion or your 2 cents on different topics. The best way to contact me will be via email; firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook; www.facebook.com/584879119
Thank you for taking time to do this interview, and I wish you all the best in future.
Thank you! I’m grateful for the privilege to reach out to your readers. I embrace your mission at “Writing My Stories Blog” and I congratulate you on your hard work.