By Chukwuma Ajakah
Ufuoma Emerhor-Ashogbon, popularly known as Ufuomaee, is a faith-based books author – Christian fiction, inspirational writings and poetry. Her passion for telling stories began as a little girl. At teenage, she was already writing high school romances and poetry. The aim of her writing is to glorify God and edify all. In this encounter, Ufuoma speaks about her writing career, sources of inspirations and her new book, “The Naive Wife”:
Issues of love, romance and marriage are extensively covered by most faiths, but there seems to be a gap in reaching and connecting with the younger generation. Why?
I think too few people put themselves in the shoes of the young people they are trying to reach. They rarely appreciate the modern experiences of the new generation, believing that everything that will be has been. Yes, what the younger ones are going through may not really be that original, but you have to walk them through to how you got to discover the wisdom you have learnt by maturity, and for that, you have to put yourselves in their shoes. You have to see things through their eyes. Few teachers or leaders are that empathetic.
Do you think young people will find your books relatable, especially those who think that faith-based advices are not realistic?
Yes, I believe young people will relate with my books. I write about issues they may be experiencing in their love lives and marriages, and I give a unique take on things. I’m not afraid to challenge the status quo, and I believe we can always learn by asking questions. Even if they have been asked many times before, we should only stop asking when we understand it so well that we are able to communicate it to others, in a way they too can understand. That’s what I strive to do with my stories. I ask questions, and mainly, I’m asking God to shed His light on these things. We don’t want to hear, “do it this way because this is how it’s done.” We want to understand why, and my stories explore these things so people can internalise these lessons without feeling like they are being told this is the way.
How did you get the inspiration for the Naïve Wife trilogy?
I usually write stories that explore different marital issues and strive to bring resolution through Biblical wisdom. Overtime, I noticed that there was a running theme in my stories, the Cross, and it was the answer to all the various troubles couples faced in their marriages. That is, if they would submit to the power of the Cross and practice it in their marriages, they could resolve any issue.
But then, I read books written by other authors, where it was clear as day that the persons they married were wife-beaters, philanderers or just opportunists. I have also watched a couple of films that made me think my belief that all a wife needs to do is endure and pray, and God will do His work in her abusive husband, may not only be inaccurate, but dangerous and disastrous. I questioned my philosophy and thought to present my questions to God in the form of another story – The Naive Wife.
Nearly every reviewer of your trilogy has offered remarks on its clear and vivid depiction of the intricacies and nuances of love and romance. How did you discover this much insight and how much research went into writing the books?
Most of what I wrote about in The Naive Wife was gained from years of experience as a Bible teacher. Like Rachel, people reached out to me about different challenges they were having in their relationships and marriages. I am also well-versed with the scriptures and was able to draw upon them as I wrote. God also brought inspiration as I wrote the story. All that was left was to draw upon my own knowledge, observations and experience, to write a compelling story.
Let’s talk about the Marriage ABCs; what was the inspiration behind that?
The Marriage ABCs was something I began in an attempt to counsel myself in marriage. My writings have always been therapeutic and I’m the number one person I am ministering to as I write, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a series on marriage on my blog. As I wrote it, the response I got was so amazing, but I didn’t quite realise what I’d signed up for. It got deep and really detailed, touching on so many things concerning marriage. By God’s grace, I completed it, and I believe it is a powerful resource that will bless any couple that truly loves God and each other.
Would you say that the books are focused primarily on women and the internal conflict they sometimes grapple with while choosing a partner?
Despite the title, The Naive Wife is a book everyone, male or female, married or unmarried, young or old, can relate to. It isn’t even limited to the Nigerian experience, nor the Christian experience. It touches on our humanity, our need to be loved, to be seen, to be understood, appreciated, and cherished. It addresses our insecurities, our anxieties, our fears and doubts, and the question that troubles anyone who truly wants to please God – what is God’s will? What does God say about this? So many people have written to say how the book reflected their thoughts back to them, even men.
What do you make of Nigeria’s faith-based literary scene?
I think it is thriving, and I’m happy to be a part of it. I know a lot of Nigerian faith-based writers, and not all write only fiction. I’m sure with more successes and awareness of this growing space, it will soon break new grounds.