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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nothing Comes Close by Tolulope Popoola (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Tolulope Popoola, author of Nothing Comes Close!







Author Guest Post

On Writing: Finish What You Start


One of my biggest problems as a writer is finishing what I’ve started. I always have lots of different ideas in my head at the same time, so I have a hard time committing to one project. Perhaps you’re like me and you have folders full of abandoned novels and short stories on your computer? Or maybe you have started a few blogs, but gave up on updating them as often as you wanted to?

Most writers have been there. I find it easy to start writing stories. An idea comes to me and I rush to my laptop or to start working on it. Or maybe I’m out and I only have my notebook to jot in. But somehow, I get distracted or run out of steam. And then I abandon that project and start another one.

Maybe it’s the same for you. You’ve got plenty of great ideas, but unfortunately, your motivation disappears just as the inspiration fizzles out and you’re left with a bunch of outlines and first drafts that aren’t going anywhere.

Here are some tips I’ve come across that have helped me with finishing my projects:

1) Stop Beginning Random New Projects It’s extremely tempting to start working on a new idea when it first pops into your mind. But you must resist the urge to begin anything new when you’re already swamped with unfinished work. You have to put a stop to that habit to break it. Otherwise, you’ll keep repeating the pattern and all new projects will lose its appeal and end up in the unfinished heap along with everything else. Instead, find a notebook, or create a document on your computer, to store ideas. Whenever you have a new idea, put it in this “idea bank” while you’re working on something else. When you’re ready, you can always come back to the ideas in that bank.

2) Assess Your Current Projects Go through all your current works-in-progress. Make a list of the ones you feel are most valuable; then separate them from the ones you may come back to later, and the ones that don’t have any merit anymore.

Be realistic with each project. Is there anything that’s just not worth completing? Are those characters so clich├ęd that they’re not worth holding on to? Is the plot of that novel so weak that it would not hold up an 80,000 word story? Rather than keeping old projects hanging around, clear the useless ones out, and free up some space in your head and your laptop for new and worth ones.

3) Choose One Project to Focus On Now look through your list of useful ideas, and pick one to work on. You have to make one project your priority. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work on anything else, but it does mean that your “priority project” (whether it’s a novel, a blog or a newsletter), is the one that’s going to take most of your time and energy.

You might have different criteria for choosing which project is your priority. You could choose to start with: the shortest project (for example a 3,000 word short story, not a 100,000 word novel). Or you may want to pick up the project that you’ve already put the most time into, so that’s probably getting close to finished.

4) Set Some Targets If you’re working on a blog, you can decide to set an hour every two days to work on your posts, and schedule them for publishing. Some small writing projects could be finished in a weekend, for example a short story. Most writing projects, though take more time to complete and you won’t be able to finish them in a day, or a week. You’ll need to set some targets to keep you on track. For example: completing a major section of a novel, writing a set number of words every day, finishing a first draft of a novel in six months, or scheduling a certain number of posts for your blog each week.

Make sure you hold yourself accountable and reward yourself when you achieve your targets.

5) What do you do with your “finished” project? It’s worth thinking about the goal for your finished project. If you’re working on a short story, what do you plan to do with it when you finish it? Would you save it for an anthology? Submit it to a magazine? Or enter it into a competition? If you’re working on an ebook, would you publish and sell it on the Kindle store? Would you offer it for free on your website? What about the novel, what’s it going to do for your writing career when it’s finished?

Remember, half-finished projects are not going to do anything for you. Nobody will buy an incomplete novel. You cannot submit an unfinished short story. Whether your writing ambitions involve hitting the New York Times bestseller list or living from the income from your books, you do have to finish what you start so that they can add value to your career.



About The Author


Tolulope Popoola was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She moved to England for her university education where she studied for a BA in Accounting and Business Economics and a Masters in Finance and Investment. She started blogging in 2006, which rekindled her love for writing and telling stories. A few writing classes and an online fiction series soon followed and Tolulope quit her Accounting career to write full-time. She now writes short stories, flash fiction, and articles for many print and online magazines. Nothing Comes Close is her first novel. Tolulope lives in London with her husband and daughter.


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Book Review


Nothing Comes Close by Tolulope Popoola
Publisher: Accomplish Press
Publication Date: October 31, 2012
Format: Paperback - 302 pages / Kindle - 425 KB / Nook - 583 KB
ISBN: 0957186606
ASIN: B009GKXV3I
Genre: Romantic Suspense


BUY THE BOOK: Nothing Comes Close


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.


Book Description:

Shortlisted for Best Books of 2012 by Africa Book Club 

Confident, sassy, career girl, Lola meets cool, handsome, unpredictable hunk, Wole at a party in London. He pushes all the right buttons for her, and sparks fly. Wole is also irresistibly drawn to Lola, and before long, they get together in a wonderful romance. But Wole is not all that he seems, and he is holding back some dark secrets. 

Things start to unravel when Wole's past begins to catch up with him and Lola has to decide if Wole is worth the trouble that threatens to overwhelm her. Find out in this captivating book if their love will overcome the trials of a murder investigation, an arrest, a meddling relative and a trip halfway across the world, or whether they both give up and go their separate ways.


Book Excerpt:

I turned to Funmi and gave her the electronic key fob to enter the building and the key to my door.

“You can go up,” I said. “I need to talk to Wole for a while.”

Funmi frowned before she took the keys. “Okay, don’t be long.”

We watched her as she went inside. Then I turned to Wole.

“Sorry about this, she insisted she wanted to stay at my place and I couldn’t say no.”

“Why? What’s wrong with her house?”

“I don’t know; it’s not important,” I shrugged. “So this means you can’t sleep over anymore.”

He raised an eyebrow as if to say “Why?”

“Because I have only one bed.” I said.

“Oh Lola!” Wole shook his head. “Like it matters if I sleep on your bed or crash on your sofa.”

“Huh?” What is he getting at?

“Look it doesn’t matter; I won’t impose on you ladies. Maybe I should get an early start on the motorway.” 

He turned and started walking away. 

“Ah, wait now,” I called after him. “Before you go, we need to talk.”

Wole stopped and turned around. “Walk me to the car.”

I followed him round the corner to where he had left his car the day before. It felt surreal that it was only twelve hours ago. So much had happened….

“So what do you want to talk about?” Wole asked, leaning on the car while I stood facing him, arms crossed.

“Your woman at the bar.”

Wole shook his head. “Lola, as I’ve explained to you so many times, it was a long time ago and I made foolish decisions then. Until last night, I hadn’t seen her in over two years.”

I nodded, watching him closely, trying to judge his honesty.

“I’m serious about you Lola,” he continued. “I wouldn’t want anyone or anything to jeopardise my chances.”

“Are there more women like her lurking around you?”

“No, no and no,” he shook his head again. “I promise you, that incident will never happen again.”

“Okay,” I took a deep breath and decided to drop the issue. Something else was bugging me now.

“What happened to your hands?”

Wole glanced down and looked surprised, as if he hadn’t noticed that his hands were bruised. “My hands?” 

“Yes, I saw them in the taxi.” 

He paused and studied me before he asked: “Do you really want to know?”

“Yes.”

“Get in the car.”

“Wole…”

“I don’t want to continue talking while we are standing outside like this.”

We both got into the car and I turned to face him squarely. “Wole, what have you done?”

“Please hear me out, okay?”

I nodded. “Okay.”

“I’m going to lay it bare. You know when I left the hospital last night?”

I nodded.

“I went to the bar your friends were hanging out…”

Something like an alarm bell went off in my head.

“I know the owner of the bar from a few years back – it’s a long story – “

I guess he knew I was about to ask him to explain that too.

“I got him to track down the guy responsible for poisoning your friend,” Wole continued.

“Eh!”

“And I beat him up…”

“JESUS CHRIST! What did you do that for?”

“I did it for you Lola.”

A mixture of shock, fear, awe and gratitude gripped me and I froze, staring at him. He did what for me? What kind of man is this?

“I didn’t like seeing you and your friends crying like that, I felt so helpless…” Wole said, taking my hand and placing it on his chest.

I fought the urge to snatch my hand away.

“Trust me Lola; I don’t usually go around beating people up. I just wanted to teach that slime ball a lesson for messing with my friend.”

“But- but that’s the wrong…”

“I felt I had to do something, and this was the only way I could help.”

“This isn’t helping!” I said, glaring at him. “Why would you go and do something as crazy and as foolish as that? For goodness sake Wole, what happens if the guy reports you to the police for assault?”

“Don’t worry, he can’t do that. He will implicate himself even more.”

I was stunned and speechless. I couldn’t believe Wole, this same charming, good-looking guy I was staring at, could have done something like that.

“I understand if you are worried,” he continued. “Everything will be fine.”

“I so don’t see how…”

“Maureen will get better and all this drama will soon be history, okay?”

I nodded.

Wole continued to say reassuring things but I had stopped listening. There were too many questions going on in my mind. Some I didn’t even know how to ask. On one level, I had to admit that I felt a twinge of admiration for him, for trying to do something like this for me. I was flattered. That was risky. Still – resorting to physical violence? It was unsettling.

“… so if anything comes out of this, at least you know how much I care about you.” he was saying.

I nodded.



My Book Review:

Nothing Comes Close is the debut novel by author author Tolulope Popoola, who weaves an intriguing romantic suspense tale about love, life, friendships and relationships. Set in London and Nigeria, and written in an alternating first person narrative, the reader follows the story of Lola and Wole, who meet at a party and embark on a whirlwind romance, only to have Wole's dark past catch up with him, causing their budding relationship to have numerous obstacles that stands in their way of love and happiness. Can Lola and Wole's love overcome the obstacles, or will their relationship come to an untimely end?

I really enjoyed this story which is written in an African style that reflects the author's heritage. I was fascinated with the storyline as it is different from what I am used to reading. With a three-dimensional cast of characters; witty dialogue and interactions; and a storyline that mixes romance with a mystery that provides a lot of intriguing drama, suspense, twists and turns; Nothing Comes Close engages the reader to follow along as the tumultuous relationship of Lola and Wole unfolds.

Interwoven throughout the story are normal life issues that Lola and her four girlfriends are dealing with, they are normal career and personal issues that are believable and easy for the reader to relate to. What captivated my interest the most was Wole's story, his complicated and dark past full of secrets is riveting and keeps you guessing as it comes to light, but deep down you know that he has a good heart and you can't help but feel for him. I loved how the author delves into the complications of life challenges that arise in love relationships, that is the crux of the dilemma that Lola and Wole face, and it makes this a classic love story with a twist of mystery and suspense thrown in the mix.

Nothing Comes Close is an enjoyable romantic suspense novel that will keep the reader entertained!


RATING: 4 STARS ****







4 comments:

  1. Thank you Kathleen! I appreciate you taking part in my blog tour :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tolulope! I really enjoyed reading your book! Thank you for the opportunity to host your virtual book tour event.

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  2. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Samantha! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event.

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