Munir Bello on Identity, Humor & Publishing – Author Interview

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Munir Bello,A.K.Andrew,akandrew.com

Munir Bello

When I first saw JeriWB’s interview on Munir Bello a while ago, I was struck by his sense of humor, positive energy, and love of life. So when he told me he’d like to do an interview with me I was thrilled.

Munir Bello is an author based in London. The Break-Up Recipe is his debut novel. It focuses on relationships from the point of view of a man. It has had a lot of success in the UK and he is now branching into other territories. He’s featured in publications in the UK, US and the far east. He’s involved in a project for TV and  has plans to write further books and expand into various genres.
 1. I love the fact you use humor to talk about difficult subjects. Tell us a little bit about your novel and why you chose to write this particular book?

The Break Up Recipe is about a sarcastic, sweet young man named Mark Mutton who gets jilted by his fiancé very close to the day of their planned wedding. This results in him having flashbacks on his various, past dating experiences (some of which are very funny) before coming back into the present scenario. The end of the book takes us to his romantic future. I chose to write this particular type of book as I had noticed there was a market for it. Majority of the novels in this genre are written by women and the few written by men tend to tell women how to act. I wanted to present a romantic novel from a male perspective to allow women to see what men are like in relationships as well as break ups and let them draw their own conclusions as well as present something to men that was an inside joke containing different situations that were immediately relatable.

The Break-Up Recipe,Munir Bello,A.K.Andrew.akandrew.com

 2. Life changing episodes often bring unexpected outcomes. You moved to England from Nigeria when you were ten years old. How did that change affect your life?

It was a massive eye opener for lots of reasons. I experienced a full winter for the first time. I saw snow for the first time, in fact the very first time I saw I trapped some in a Jar to take back home to my parents but it sadly melted. I was a very independent child so the experience of being away from my parents was a very liberating one, which helped me grow up. McDonalds back home at the time was a novelty and to be able to have it everyday if I chose to was very empowering for a 10-year-old boy. I’m very glad that it took place because I met some amazing people who are friends of mine to this day. It was also the beginning of being encouraged to consider literature as a career thanks to my teachers.

 3. How has being born in one country and growing up in another affected your identity? Which of the countries would you identify with the most and why?

I consider myself a Nigerian because I was born there, my early childhood development took place there and when I am thinking or brainstorming, I do so in Hausa, which is my first language. The other reason I would say I am a Nigerian is because if you put the vote to people in Nigeria asking them where I was from they would claim me outright as a Nigerian, Whereas in Britain there would be a split vote (some saying I’m British and some saying I’m British and some saying I’m Nigerian). In terms of my identity it’s fair to say that there is a more British outlook to my way of doing things because two thirds of my life has been spent here. I would identify more with Nigeria in terms of my origin and with Britain as my adopted home. I’d like my children to experience both countries so that they develop a sense of the world having seen it from the points of view of western world as well as Africa. The experience makes me feel more balanced as a human being.

 4.  The bookshelves in the UK and US are very dominated by white authors. What challenges as a black man do you find you face in the literary world?

Whoooooo!!!!!!! The marketing Image which is of me naked was once remarked upon to me by somebody using these very words; “If it was a white guy it would sell better”. That in itself suggests to me that I have a challenge ahead of me. I must point out that I don’t believe this represents the views of the majority. I think being a black author means that I am harder to place in a box because the entertainment field is generally where we are seen to succeed in the mainstream press. I’d be lying if I said that I faced outright racism in the literary world but I am definitely aware that I have to work harder. There is a small minority who have treated me differently either by pandering to me in an exaggerated manner or by watching my every move to look for mistakes. In a way I guess it’s similar to when women occupy a position of power in a male dominant environment.

 5. You chose to go the route of self-publishing. If the success of The Break-Up Recipe causes a traditional publisher to approach you, how would it change the direction you are going?

It wouldn’t alter the direction one bit because I have a very clear view of where I’d like to go with my career and I intend to stick to it. The financial terms would be very important because I’d want to make sure that I wasn’t taken advantage of.

 6. I’ve read that your favorite novel is The Autobiography of Malcolm X, but which novel do you wish you had written, and why?

I wish that I had written Roots because it deals with a brutal subject and although it wasn’t the first book of it’s type, It was the first book to bring slavery to a mass audience. The impact of that book was that it opened people’s eyes to the horrors of what took place without preaching to them. I think it takes a special kind of talent to produce a book on a serious matter whilst keeping it balanced and allowing the reader to form their own opinion and to top that off to educate them.

7. Your marketing has been spreading all over the world in UK and Asia, and now the USA. The British are renowned for their quirky sense of humor, so what differences do you see in your readers’ response in the UK and US?

The UK readers have been very receptive and have done a decent job of helping me to spread the word. The US readers are an awesome audience. They are certainly not afraid of interacting with me, which I find to be fun. On both sides of the Atlantic, the humor has translated. Where the US market has the upper hand is that the members of their press are far more receptive to me and I think in the long term as an audience, The US audience will become my core audience.

Break-Up Recipe Marketing,Munir Bello,A.K.Andrew,akandrew.com

Poster for Break-up Recipe

8. It is rare to see such a tasteful photograph of a naked man in book posters outside of gay male fiction. What kind of appeal do you see your novel having for a gay audience?

Good question!!! I think that a gay audience will like the book for its humor. In fact when I first thought of the naked picture, although the target audience was females who were far more receptive of the book during test reads, I had a gay audience in mind. I did ask gay friends of mine to spread the word regarding the image because I thought they would do a good job in helping me reach a big audience. I also did go to gay pride in London to hand out flyers last year because I love a gay audience. I find it very easy to talk to people from the LGBT community because we have that thing in common of being treated as minorities so I find that I get acceptance very easily when I start a conversation with gay guys regarding the book or just anything in general.

 9. Tell us a little about the television project you have in the wings.

It’s a dating show, which is matching up singletons of any age over 18 and will start filming from spring through to the summer. I am excited as fuck about it because I’m working with an amazing team. There’s been a lot of enthusiasm behind it and I so can’t wait!!!!!

 10. Does The Break-Up Recipe have the potential for a movie, and if so who would be the leading actors?

I think it definitely does! As for who the leading actors would be I’d like to leave that question to an audience. I’ve never had anyone in particular in mind but there are so many that could play Mark Mutton in particular from different backgrounds. If it got to that stage one person that I would definitely love to work with on it would be Aaron Sorkin. The guy is something special and has an amazing gift with words. His writing is breathtaking.

 11. What city in the world would you most like to live and why?

New York without question. The energy in that city is out of this world. It doesn’t frown on hard work and it really does embody the slogan, Work hard, Play hard, which I’m very good at. I’ve been a few times and every time I’ve been there it just felt like a good fit for me.

 12.  Where can readers find you?

In London having a laugh or alternatively :

http://www.facebook.com/thebreakuprecipe

My twitter handle is @munirbello1983

And last but not least on Amazon.

Book Now ON SALE!!

For Munir’s take on relationships, check out this post on Susan Cooper’s Blog 

Come join the discussion, and please share this post on your favorite social media. 

Many Thanks!

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Comments

  1. Good to hear that Munir Bello is doing so well!

    When I lived in London for 15 years I used to find a lot of interesting books by authors from developing countries. Some of them like, Hanif Kureshi, had UK nationality. Absolutely loved his books and kept on buying whatever he published.

    Good interview, AK. Hope they make a movie of Munir’s book
    Catarina recently posted..Has the world failed Syria?My Profile

  2. I had not heard about Munir Bello before this but I will certainly check for his book at our library – it sounds rather interesting. Its funny how we understand women can be hurt when a relationship fails, but we seldom consider the man’s feelings. Thanks for the introduction.
    Lenie

  3. Great job A.K. ! Thanks for providing an inside look at the marketing techniques and the playful humor revealed in the interview. I think it rare to hear this from a man’s perspective. I also enjoyed him learning about snow for the first time.

    Kind Regards,
    Bill
    William Butler recently posted..Animal Wisdom: Leadership You Can Live ByMy Profile

  4. Hi Munir and a k for a fabulous interview. I learned a lot about Munir. and may decide to read his book that is if it coms out where i can listen to it. I’m blind and prefer audio books to any other format. unfortunately very little of the self published works are released in audio. And as a single blind man I hope his dating show will at least attempt to include some blind or visually impaired participants. best of luck with the book. thanks again for sharing with us a k, max
    maxwell ivey recently posted..3rd time was the charm: I’m now a “hangout on air” masterMy Profile

    • How do you do Maxwell? You’ll be glad to know that the book does have sound enabled text, if you download and it doesn’t work then please do let me know and i will immediately issue you with a full refund.

      • Hi Munir; That is good to know. I gave away my kindle two years ago because so many books had th sound disabled by the authors. Neithr of th apps ar accessible with a screen reader. I do applaud th decision not to block using speech to read it. by th way will your dating show have any blind people on it. would be happy to mention your show on a u k list I’m on if you want. best of luck, max
        maxwell ivey recently posted..3rd time was the charm: I’m now a “hangout on air” masterMy Profile

        • Hi Maxwell, i only have true kindle app on my iPhone, i just had a look to see whether or not it supported sound but i haven’t as of yet seen the option, my book however does have speech enabled, as soon as i find a solution i’ll be sure to notify you. Yes i do have a blind contestant featuring on my dating show, she is the first blind contestant that i have had and i’ll send a link to you as well if you like once her show goes to air. I’d be pleased if you could mention it as long as it’s no trouble, it’s going to be called The Break Up Recipe, it’ll be filming from April and start showing from May.

  5. I had not heard about Munir Bello. You did a great interview with Jeri. It was interesting to have more of an insight when a relationship fails, from the man’s feelings. Well done
    Arleen recently posted..What’s in Memorable Logos?My Profile

  6. This was a very good interview, well done
    Jay recently posted..The Lasting EffectMy Profile

  7. So I’m off to download the book now 🙂 Fantastic interview…love the humor and I’ve always been a proponent of ‘men have feelings.’ I just think you have to know where to find them. This seems a great departure from the tired cliche of “Act Like A Woman, Think Like A Man” which I find preposterous! Sure has my interest! But I’d like to read it before I see the movie 🙂
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted..Leg Spots… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

  8. What a fascinating interview! Munir seems like an awesome fellow, with a great imagination and creative spirit. Of course stories about broken hearts and relationships have been done to death by women, so it’s great to get a man’s point of view. I’m going to download the book and am sure it will be a fabulous read.
    Krystyna Lagowski recently posted..Scion FRS put sizzle into my lifeMy Profile

    • That’s great Krystyna- so glad you enjoyed the interview. I love a sense of humor in anyone, but especially a man looking at his relationships. It’s both rare and sounds like a winning combination.
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Munir Bello on Identity, Humor & Publishing – Author InterviewMy Profile

      • Hello Krystyna and thank you for choosing to download my book, I do hope you enjoy it. as a general rule anyone that downloads my book is my friend, I’d like to find you on Facebook/twitter. I like what you said about stories about relationships being done to death and you wanting to see it from a mans point of view. I hope you do enjoy the view.

  9. I am bing fan of Munir’s. He takes a difficult subject and addresses it with humor and good since a winning combination in my mind. It’s a great interview of him A.K. I think it’s pretty awesome that he is doing a TV Show. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted..Lucky Coin: StoryMy Profile

    • Thanks Susan. Your post on him was really hilarious- and you did a great job with the drawings to complement the humor ( link is at the bottom of the post everyone). Having read both yours and Jeri’s it was a pleasure getting to know Munir a little better from a different perspective. Totally fantastic that he’s doing a TV show. Now if I just had a 10th of his energy….:-))
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Munir Bello on Identity, Humor & Publishing – Author InterviewMy Profile

    • Thank you Susan, i enjoyed working with you and am very grateful that you took the time to show me your support. Much appreciated and definitely never to be forgotten. hope you’re keeping well xx

  10. It’s so good to see Munir here today. I’ve been following his efforts closely since I first interviewed him a year or so ago. He has great ideas about marketing that many of us can definitely learn from. I admire everything about the way he’s spreading word of his work, and will be looking forward to his dating show. Great questions too, Kathy!
    Jeri recently posted..What is the Use of a Book without #Illustrations? by Leora WengerMy Profile

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the questions Jeri. I wanted to find out a little more from a different perspective. But I totally agree about being able to learn from him in terms of his ability to market both himself and his product. I have no question in my mind he’ll be successful in whatever he does. Thanks so much for introducing him to me Jeri.
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Munir Bello on Identity, Humor & Publishing – Author InterviewMy Profile

    • Jeri, time and again I never forget to mention to people that you are one of the first people that gave me a chance. Without you interviewing me who knows what might have happened. I’ll always be indebted to you and I look forward to the day that we meet. To everyone that doesn’t know, Jeri was the first blogger that gave me an interview when I was really struggling to be heard at the time that I released my book and her blog is awesome! xxxxxx

  11. Hi Munir and AK. Love the name Mark Mutton, Any relation to Larry The Lamb. Munir agree 100% you need to stick with your vision and either a publisher accepts or not. AK the questions are great. I would have to give a lot of thought to which book I wish I had written because the first few that come to mind would require me to have lived in the 18th century !
    Paul Graham recently posted..What exactly do you mean by Democracy ?My Profile

    • Thanks Paul- glad you enjoyed the questions. But could you not have written the books now, even if they were set in the 17 th Century? Not entirely the same thing but… Thank you for you input:-)
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Munir Bello on Identity, Humor & Publishing – Author InterviewMy Profile

      • A.K you may be right and we have had similar dialogue regarding writing about wars that I have not personally experienced. The facts would be easy to deal with but for me unless I had lived at the time the world-view and assumptions would probably lack authenticity as I now know too much about what has happened subsequently to really put myself back in the moment. Others can do it; it just doesn’t really fit for me.
        Paul Graham recently posted..What exactly do you mean by Democracy ?My Profile

    • Hi Paul, Mark Mutton and Larry the lamb are sadly not even distant relatives 🙂 A.K did a fabulous job with the questions and it made it very easy to guarantee an entertaining interview. I look forward to returning the favour one day 🙂

  12. I love the line of questioning and the results it produced. Great interview AK.

    W
    Welli recently posted..Realising intrinsic valueMy Profile

  13. I love all of the interviews with Munir, mine included. They give us a more complete view of his personality and goals. Well done! And Best Wishes!
    Cheryl recently posted..Unplanned Lifestyle ChangesMy Profile

  14. Very nice interview…and a motivating one too! It feels good to hear about people succeeding in life overcoming the hurdles they face! I wish Munir all the good luck in the days to come! I am sure your hard work will bring you more success, Munir!
    Tuhin recently posted..Why do we smoke: The Psychology behind Smoking and its consequencesMy Profile

  15. Dana Buckmir says:

    Wow, “The Break-up Recipe” sounds very interesting! I would love to read it. I like the idea of man describing his perspective on relationships because so often we only get one side. I also like that, Munir takes a humorous approach.

    • You’re absolutely right Dana. Emotional issues are more usually dealt with by women, though certainly not exclusively. Humor always adds a great touch to a novel too, especially when it is dealing with difficult issues. Thank you for your comment:-)
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Munir Bello on Identity, Humor & Publishing – Author InterviewMy Profile

    • Hey Dana, I hope you like what you read, P.s I tried my hardest to make you ladies laugh and give you a fresh insight into relationships, be warned that the language is very explicit but the book features no sex (not slept with enough people to write a sex scene as of yet). Have a good day.

  16. What an interesting interview! That’s so inspiring to hear of his success as a self-published author. I love the idea of viewing relationships from the guy’s point of view. I’ll have to go check it out…
    Meredith Wouters recently posted..Our Apache Camper is Finally Finished!My Profile

  17. As soon as I finish writing this I’m going to order “The Break-up Recipe. It certainly is a unique angle and I like that it is funny in places.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted..Don’t Bore Your Readers!My Profile

  18. What a fun idea. I wonder how different the perspectives are, or I guess more interestingly, I wonder how much we have in common?
    Debra Yearwood recently posted..Lean Back, Do The Job You’re Capable of DoingMy Profile

  19. I could see Denzel or Will Smith in the lead of a story like this. Loved the interview. And the photo? That man is in very good shape!
    Karen recently posted..Ways to Keep your Brain Active as you AgeMy Profile

  20. This is a good interview. I may check that book out.
    Jason B recently posted..Easter Fund DriveMy Profile

  21. I’m curious to what his clear view and direction is for his writing? Is that a hint that another book is in the making?

    • I can’t really speak for Munir, but I get the sense that he’ll be successful at any genre he feels able to tackle. He certainly brings enough energy and enthusiasm which is very infectious. Thank you for your comment. Hope to see you here again .
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Munir Bello on Identity, Humor & Publishing – Author InterviewMy Profile

    • Christina, in answer to your question, yes there is a second book on the way in the autumn (I believe you guys prefer to call it fall which in my opinion sounds far better). Hope that answered your question regarding my view and direction, if not then please let me know what you’d like to know and i’ll try and articulate.

  22. An interesting interview with an interesting young man. It must be more difficult as a black author
    Susanna Duffy recently posted..CannoliMy Profile

    • Munir certainly is interesting, and a pleasure to work with. I was definitely interested in his perspective as the publishing world , although much more diverse than it used to be, is predominantly white. Women too, while having much broader recognition than previously, are often overlooked when it comes to some of the bigger prizes like Man Booker for example. But change in the publishing industry is happening on all sorts of levels. Thanks for stopping by the site.
      A.K.Andrew recently posted..Munir Bello on Identity, Humor & Publishing – Author InterviewMy Profile

    • It is awkward for a black author in this genre as not many people know quite how to place me but it’s all about breaking barriers. Thank you very much Susanna, glad you find me interesting (and young).

  23. It is really nice interview and It is always best to know about things from male’s point of view…
    I hope ” The Break-up Recipe ” will be an interesting book with some lessons… It’s really a wonderful Idea.

    Thanks for share.

  24. Fantastic interview, A. K.! Munir Bello sounds like a very interesting person. Thanks for doing this.

  25. Superb interview, A.K. Thx for sharing this as it was most insightful. I wish Munir every bit of luck with his book, and his new TV show!
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..poll #1: separate or combine?My Profile

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  1. […] very happy to welcome back Munir Bello who featured in this interview about his book The Break Up Recipe a few months ago. It was an interesting interview, and as his […]