Do you remember a childhood nightmare? Yes, we all do. Snakes under the bed, dragons, a burglar, Dracula. Most people’s childhood nightmares are based on fearful fantasies. But in Munir Bello’s case the nightmare was real life. And something which contributes driving him in his work today.
I’m 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 responses were honest and open, I wanted to find out a little more about the author. You might be surprised by what he told me.
Hi Munir, Good to have you back on A Writer’s Notebook
Thanks. Good speaking to you again.
What have you been up to since we last spoke?
I have been running around like mad. I’ve released, The Break Up Recipe as a paperback due to heavy demand, done a few more interviews and I am in the middle of shooting my dating show, it’s been awesome and I’m really enjoying myself at the moment. The team I work with have been fantastic and the singletons are brilliant. Had our first kiss recently (off camera) which was exciting. I’m also writing the second book as we speak which I’m hoping to release later this year.
Fantastic. Congratulations on the paperback, when can we expect to see the show?
Very shortly, I promise to keep everybody informed closer to the time. We’re shooting through the summer and aiming to start airing in Mid Summer.
Since we’ve last spoken I’ve noticed that you have done a few more interviews and it looks like you’re featured in different parts of the world.
Yes I have, it’s been brilliant. There have been pieces in The US, The UK, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria and there are some due out in South Africa and other parts of Europe. I will soon be writing regularly for a huge international blog. They read the first chapter of my book, took a liking to it and approached me about being a columnist. We’re still in the middle of the discussions.
Congratulations! I hope being a columnist works out for you. You definitely don’t stand still for long. You mentioned in your previous interviews your book was written after a painful break up but you never expand on the subject. As the incident inspired your book I’m sure your fans are keen to find out just how much of an influential role it played.
Good question. You’re very correct that I’ve never expanded on it and I don’t really plan to. Yes it’s true that I wrote the book after a break up but that event was never the influence of the book. The parallels between me, Mark Mutton (The main character in the book) and my previous relationship are contained in a small amount of the book and not all over it. I’m aware that there is a belief that this book is an autobiographical book written about my break up and that the reason I’ve been working so hard is to prove something to my ex, which is not the case. That chapter is closed and I don’t look back on it at all.
That’s great you are able to looking forward which is always positive. I wanted to discuss your work ethic in more detail. I know about the intense routine you had when writing (living on 3 hours of sleep) as well as the amount of things you did to try to get your work to the general public (5000 emails and 10000 flyers). Tells us what really drives you?
I think it goes back to certain incidents that took place in my past, which made me realise that you should never get comfortable or take anything for granted.
What specifically are you referring to?
One day when I came home from school, I overheard my mother telling one of her friends that my father had been arrested and wouldn’t be coming home that night. This was at a time when Nigeria was ruled by a ruthless dictator named Sani Abacha. He had locked up various people who posed a threat to his power and some of them later died while in custody under very suspicious circumstances or were executed (Most notable names being MKO Abiola, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and the author Ken Saro- Wiwa). This was a period when I thought that I would become the man of the house and it was particularly difficult because it was just before I came to England to start schooling.
How long was your father incarcerated for and what was it like to go through that when you were so young?
My father was incarcerated for a period of over 3 years if I’m not mistaken and it was tough. Whenever I’d go home from England during the school holidays, I’d see what my mother was going through. There would be threatening phone calls coming through to the house, which sometimes I would pick up. The underlying message of those calls were people telling me that I wouldn’t see my father again or people just generally mocking us. It was nuts to say the least. Although I was young and my mother tried to protect the children by putting on a brave face, I was fully aware of what was happening.
I don’t know how you coped. It truly does sounds like a nightmare for anybody to go through. What effect has it had on you, and in particular your work?
Lots. As the oldest son, I naturally felt a responsibility towards the family. I’m just happy that I never had to become the man of the house. The uncertainty of not knowing what would happen to my dad was frightening of course. I commend both my parents for never feeling sorry for themselves and just carrying on after that. When you have people like that for role models, you have to step up to the plate. In answer to your earlier question, I work as hard as I do because there is a psychological scar left on me from that period. I felt underprepared to be the man of the house at that age and I guess the drive comes from me wanting to make sure that if called upon to fulfil that role in future that I am ready.
Thank you for sharing that with me. I’m sure your fans will have gained new insight into you as a person.
I’m guessing they will.
I wanted to get a little more background as to what has made you the author you are today. And of course I’m thrilled to hear the book is now in paperback.
And all you got was this lousy sob story hahahahahahaha. I was just hoping to plug the paperback release and the dating show. All the same, it’s been a pleasure talking to you as always.
Munir’s book, The Break Up Recipe, is now available on paperback at Amazon.
How do you think you might have coped with circumstances Munir talks about?
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