Interview: “The best stimulant for me is money in the pocket!”

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Please tell us about yourself

My name is Victor Akhidenor and I’m a writer, author, researcher, and journalist.

After winning the Diamond Award for Media Excellence in the sports reporting category in 2015, I decided to start my own sports website www.sportsng.com. That’s a summary.

Here’s the “full” story.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master’s degree in Media and Communication. I also have a certificate in Media Enterprise from Pan-Atlantic University as well an E Diploma in football coaching. I have work experience in insurance claims processing, marketing, credit analysis, and corporate communications in the banking sector.

I started my journalism career in 2011 at Complete Communications Limited, publishers of Complete Sports where I worked on its bi-weekly sister publication – i-Soccer.

I joined an online paper, TheCable, in 2014 where I wrote and edited the sports page but also handled special projects outside my beat.

I have four published works: Our Daily Mask (a poetry collection), Papa Goose Rhyme (another poetry collection), Football Memories, and Hallucinations of Abami (a play in memory of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti).

My hobbies are watching sport activities, reading and writing, carrying out research, travelling, and photography.

I’m married and have three children.

What made you become a writer? What are you trying to achieve with your writing?

When the banking tsunami consumed me in January 2010 I did a soul search and decided that I would want my hobby (watching football) and profession (writing on football) to be one and the same. I already had a huge library so I decided to start working on a football book. Fortunately, i-Soccer magazine, which I buy regularly, advertised a writing position. I applied and was invited for a written test with about 30 other people. I was the only one picked. Writing has always been a part of me though but the banking tsunami made it become a career!

What I’m trying to achieve as a writer? Hmmmmm…Well, all forms of writing try to inform, educate, and entertain. So if I’m able to achieve all three, fine. But if I’m asked to pick one out of the three, I will go for entertainment! I always try to use that as a vehicle to achieve every other thing.

How would you describe Football Memories and what three lessons did you learn throughout the process of writing and publishing Football Memories?

Football Memories is my third book but the first in my chosen field of sports journalism. It is a collection of my finest writings on the game and it includes the award-winning story on the National Stadium in Surulere. For now, the book can only be purchased on amazon either through print-on-demand or Kindle version. The articles that found itself in the book were written between 2014 and 2016 – the most challenging period of my life. I lost my job and had three kids to take care of. Their mother travelled abroad and I was all alone as their father and mother. It was very challenging putting food on the table, paying bills and their school fees. We were basically living from hand to mouth. Few friends and family assisted with the little they had. Some days we won't even have 500 naira at home. Some nights I slept without food in the stomach as long as my kids had eaten I was fine. But that period made words like resilience, doggedness, perseverance, luck, hope, faith, and love have new and personal meanings to me.

Who are the greatest most definitive influences on your work?

Like I said earlier, I have a huge library of books, magazines, and newspapers which I have kept since I was in secondary school. If I say I have read far and wide it will sound vague but then it’s the truth. Definitive influence? Well, I have picked a lot of things here and there but an early influence is A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein. It is a collection of poems for children which is accompanied by illustrations.

Does authoring a book provide sufficient income? Can one live and earn a steady, satisfactory income as an author?

It’s possible if one is single or has an understanding wife and children! It might not provide sufficient income in the short run but if one keeps mastering one’s craft fortune may smile on the person. The short run is always tough but then, in the long run, we are all dead!

Most authors have a routine that stimulates their creative juices. Do you have one that you will love to share with your audience?

The best stimulant for me is money in the pocket! But since that is not always there, I resort to doing household chores. When I am about to embark on serious writing I do things unrelated to the task. I notice there are cobwebs on the walls and remove it; I arrange the sitting room and rearrange it; I do the dishes even clean ones; I remember I have not eaten my favourite meal of beans and garri in a long while and put it on fire. After doing all that I remember I have an article to write. I sit and write it.

Setting out as an author, publishing your first book, did you have any fears and worries and how did it turn out?

Sure I did mainly because it was on a field I was not sure I had mastered – poetry. To dampen readers’ expectations I indicated it was a collection of thoughts not poems and that it was my first book. I’m sure it helped!

Being honest and having strong moral principles shouldn’t be compromised. HT @vps2010 Click To Tweet

What is your opinion about authors’ integrity?

Anything a man finds himself doing should be done with integrity. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles shouldn’t be compromised. Fine, there’s a rat race out there and the world is not fair blah blah blah. But an author who wants his work to be taken seriously especially when he’s not alive to defend his actions shouldn’t compromise on his integrity.

Which do you prefer publishing your book online or publishing your book in hard copy? Give reasons for your answers.

Both really. But if I’m to pick one as an author then I will go for online publishing because it’s cheaper and unlimited geographically. But as a reader and lover of books, I prefer hard copies!

What motivates you and what encourages you during low times?

My faith in God; my past conquests; and my future dreams.

What are your five favourite books and why?

It’s a tough call! I have been asked this question several times and funnily enough, my top five were never the same. There are some that always make the list but others are included and excluded as my mood directs. So, today here are my top five:

1) The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Detective stories remain my favourites and I have not read a better one!

2) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If you are confused about your purpose on earth this book could help.

3) 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

At every point in our lives, we come across crazy bosses, co-workers, spouses, friends, enemies, neighbours, business partners, etc. This is a book that could enhance your relationships.

4) Football Memories by Brian Glanville

It remains the best football book I have ever read. I love it so much that I stole the title!

5) Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe

People who have not read this book expose their ‘ignorance’ when they declare Things Fall Apart the best book written by the author.

 

 

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