Unoma Nwankwor is the co-owner of KevStel Group, a Christian entertainment company, specializing in movie productions, book publications and hosting events. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance & Banking and a Masters of Business Administration degree in Global Management. She calls herself a “numbers person” whom God bestowed the gift of writing and storytelling.
When she is not working, writing or running the operations of her company, she spends her time with her husband and two kids. She loves, travelling, watching movies, listening to music and family time.
Born in Akron, Ohio to Nigerian parents, Unoma spent her childhood and early adulthood years in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria. She now resides in Atlanta which she has called home for fifteen years.
Unoma’s ministry is to share her hope, faith and love of God through writing. She aims to encourage people through all facets of life.
You are not a full-time writer but a “numbers person” as you said in your blog. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing journey?
I call myself a numbers person because my career and degrees are in Business & Finance but I believe God has given me the gift of storytelling. I started writing An Unexpected Blessing in 2012. I had the idea for five years but never put a word down on paper. I hid behind a lot of excuses. An unexpected stint in the hospital last year made me sit down and do the one thing I always dreamed of doing. WRITE ! So after a month of recuperation I started to write…and here we are J. I am independently published with KevStel Group. This is my début novel and my road hasn’t been an easy one. There is a lot I had to learn on my own, writing was the easy part. Everything that comes with being an independent publisher is very tedious if you are not resilient. The one good thing is that I know those things now and the next book will be easier to get out.
What inspire you to write the story of Alex and Feranmi? The theme of your novel is a very current one, is this based on a true story? (Not necessarily yours)
Actually it’s not a true event per se but a combination of stories I have witnessed and heard. You are correct though, it is a current issue. Most times, if you are a single lady, after a certain age, you no longer become relevant for what you’ve done or achieved but whose wife you are. As you rightly said in your review, you are expected to have this unknown “algorithm for finding a husband.” LOL
I enjoyed writing it, and I hope the readers will enjoy it too.
The genre of the novel was not familiar to me. Is this a new genre? Or has it been around for a while?
Oh not at all. Christian fiction has been around for a long time. Most people from Africa will associate it with Francine Rivers. I actually never heard of it till I came to the States fifteen years ago and picked up a book called Because of Grace by Kendra Norman. It opened my eyes to the possibilities.
In the bible Jesus Christ relayed most of His messages by telling parables. These are stories He told to make the message plain but it still didn’t take away from the realness of what He was trying to say. In the same vain the focus of Christian fiction is to bring people closer to Christ through everyday stories.
You co-run a Christian entertainment company, can you tell us a little bit about your activities?
My husband and I own a Christian entertainment company called KevStel Group LLC. It’s his name and my middle name joined togetherJ. Our mission is to entertain with a purpose. KevStel has three subsidiaries; Productions, Publication & Events. My hubby manages the Production part; writing & directing movies. We have put out two short films. Our most recent, A Mothers Love was just screen at the Gwinett & Marbella Spain International Film Festivals. We are currently shooting our feature movie Tempting Fate in Los Angles. I run the day-to-day operations and the Publications department; An Unexpected Blessing was published under this platform. We also put various events together. You can find us on www.kevstelgroup.com
What did you enjoy most about the writing process?
Rewrites. I love rewriting once I get the first draft back from the editor. It gives me room to put my thinking cap back on and do different things after someone else’s point of view. For me the most difficult part is actually getting the first draft out.
Should we expect something from you in the future? On the same genre? A different genre?
Oh definitely. Same genre, I have another book in the works. The working title is Domino Effect; I might fall out of love with this title and change later. It deals with infertility, betrayal and of course the path to redemption. An Unexpected Blessing will also have a sequel called The Unexpected Truth, I hoping to shed light on Ini. It should be fun.
Do you think something called African literature exists? If yes, how would you define it? What does it represent to you?
The jury is still out on whether I agree on that title. African literature today is supposed to be of and from Africa…Why must there be a tag on the literature Africans write. When a French or American writes about their country, we don’t call it French or American literature do we? No, it’s just literature so why do Africans have to label theirs? If we are trying to educate people about Africa, then we should write to appeal to a wider audience.
Would you consider writing in your native language?
That would be fun but I would need help (she laughs). I can speak it but don’t know about writing it. I would love to try.
Who are your favorite African writers?
Buchi Emecheta and Flora Nwapa
Name two books by African writers that change your life?
The Dream Maker by May Ezekiel Ellen-Damijo (RIP) (Illustration not available)
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Make a commitment to write every day. You don’t have to be in the mood, just write something, set a specific word count but don’t compare yours with anyone else’s. The first draft is not meant to be edited; in fact it should be crap. All you are trying to do is get the story out. You can pretty it up later but you have to have something to fix. The only way you can have that is to actually WRITE!