Friday 6 January 2012


 A chat with Lara Daniels, author of love at dawn.
           By Chidi Ugbe

Lara grew up in the military barracks in post democratic Nigeria; she was born in Lagos and studied at the Obafemi Awolowo university before moving to the united states. Coming across Lara, one is reminded of child hood, of the people we once were, before we got entangled in all those “important things”. She pens her stories with passion, with a burning desire to help us all find that innocence that we once had as children, in her own words “that happily ever after, in the face of austerity”. Welcome to the inspiring world of this gorgeous and fun loving woman… Lara Daniels

On face book, on twitter, I’m feeling the buzz...and I'm wondering "who is Lara Daniels"? Pretty Name I'd say... So I click and do a little research... Here's what I know... You are an African romance suspense novelist, based in the US, with two novels to your credit... Love in paradise and love at dawn which is currently getting rave reviews.. I also know that you are crazy in love with romance writing and I'm thinking.. "That's a largely unexplored frontier in African literature" What sparked your interest in romance?

What sparked my interest in romance was the happily ever after know, a world where there is love; where the difficult and sometimes harsh challenges of life are successfully resolved, ending up with the characters falling in love with each other.

I guess you are a very romantic person then?

I am a romantic person; otherwise I couldn't write what I write now. I'm one of those hopeless romantics that sees possibilities of a love relationship between people who otherwise wouldn't fall in love with each other. Also, my personal experiences, that is, my observations of people and the environment in which I've lived and currently live in, does play an influential part in what I write.

Smiling Lara..

It's natural for an author's personality to spill into his/her writing; do your themes and characters reflect your personal experiences?

Could you share any of such experience?

One example of such experiences include growing up in the Military Barracks. My father was a Colonel in the Nigerian Army so I was exposed to the intrigue of politics in Nigeria's Military and how it affected the nation, especially young people (people in their 20's an 30's) in their relationships. know, trying to have that loving, supportive relationship with a significant other in the face of a callous governmental influence that has produced an equally harsh environment that hardly supports its youth, I mean, in terms of quality education and job availability. So in my books, you'll find a central theme of what I've described above...and my goal then becomes making sure my characters overcome the obstacles and that they find their own happily ever after in the face of such austerity.

Are there any issues in the society that are dear to your heart?

There are many issues that are very dear to my heart and some of them include good medical care for the poor, Quality education especially for women...I believe a woman ought to be so well educated that she can be self sufficient and not have to wait around for some man to take care of her. Another issue dear to my heart is justice....and I mentioned this in my two books - Love in paradise and love at dawn, about how the a corrupt government doesn't care for its people, leaving the people to engage in all kinds of corruption and other shady practices in a bid to provide food on the table for their families.

I was discussing with a colleague recently, we both agreed that our perception of love and romance over here has been influenced by western romance novels. We thought that this somewhat makes for unrealistic expectations in relationships as the stories and characters are set in foreign lands with foreign cultures.. On second thought, we were like "But does culture or geographical location really have any perceived influence on romance? Does romance have a color? Do we have black romance and white romance?" You are the expert, help us out here.

Love and romance cuts across all cultures and every race, however the way we all show love is different simply because the issues that every culture/race faces is different, which will inherently affect the way we show love. I honestly believe that Love has to be practical. Partners who say they are in love need to assess the needs of their significant others in light of the environment in which they live. For example, giving an average hustling Nigerian woman sentimental gifts such as flowers will be not exactly be practical. I'm thinking she would be more grateful if you bought her something that would be useful to her... Why? Because in Nigeria, the average Nigerian girl is faced with challenges of how she can get basic provisions for herself to make ends meet. In the United States where I live, an average American who gives his beloved food provisions in lieu of sentimental gifts like romantic cards with flowery declarations of Love or will be thought to be very rude and redundant.

 lara's book, love in paradise

What market do you write for?

My novels primarily target women between the ages of 18 and 40 and the message I hope to pass across through my books is that Love happens to those women who have the audacity to dream big for themselves; women who are determined to become all the best they can be through educating themselves....not waiting for prince Charming to come wave his magic wand and rescue them from their bleak world.

How have they received you?

Generally, my books, so far have been received well. Of the two books I've written, I have to say my favorite was Love at Dawn. My female protagonist, Tory Da-silva....I felt a lot of compassion for her. She felt like a younger sister to me. Yes, she had made some very costly mistakes in her life, and I felt the urgent need to give her a happily ever after in spite of those mistakes.

Where can I get your books in Nigeria?

Love at Dawn is presently available at the Naija Sistas Book Store in Victoria Island. It's also coming soon to Debonaire Bookstores in Lagos    

Any new books in the pipeline?

Yes, I have a series of books I'm working on. Love's Prescription is in queue to be published by Ankara Press in Nigeria; also My "For Wale Taylor my first love, "is due to be published by the Little League Publishing in Chicago as part of a New beginnings anthology.

I've been wondering about the events and experiences that shaped your life; let’s start from where you grew up.

I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, went to secondary school in Ibadan, Studied at Ogun State University and Obafemi Awolowo University , then relocated to the United States.
Who were your favorite authors?

My favorite authors include Lisa Kleypas (I've got all her books) and Kiru Taye (I've got the only book she's published so far and look foward to buying every book she writes). I also love the classic works written by Ola Rotimi, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka. These men are more than me, they are eloquent story tellers. More contemporary authors whose works I enjoy include Tolu Popoola and Myne Whitman. Their books introduced me to Nigerian chic-lit. Loved it!
How did you come up with Lara Daniels?
I came up with Lara Daniels this way: Lara is my middle name, and Daniels is my paternal Grandfather's first name :)

Asides writing, what else do you do?

Apart from Writing, I hold a day job as a registered Nurse. I'm also a mother and a wife. And other things I enjoy besides writing, I'd honestly have to say is being with my family, writing my music, reading romantic books on my kindle, cooking in my cozy kitchen (I'm a good Cook, if I may so myself, lol), and watching reality TV shows.

It must be challenging sometimes, how do you hold it all together?

How do I hold it all together? By depending on God's good grace. There's my supportive family too. I'm grateful for them. And there's also my growing fan base who keep sending on those encouraging emails to keep on writing. I'm really grateful for them too.
What would be your choice if you had to eat raw pepper or a frog!

If I had to choose between eating Raw pepper and a Frog? I'll definitely take the raw pepper. I love pepper in my food, so eating it raw, that's just a bonus, lol.

Lol,Three words for Lara Daniels?

Three words for Lara Daniels: Love, Eat, Pray :)

CHIDI: Thank you Lara .

LARA: Thanks Chidi for the thought stimulating questions. It's amazing how much one can learn about oneself by answering otherwise simple questions..

CHIDI: Wow! Now you're the one who's got me thinking.... Lol.. Thanks Lara,it's inspiring to hear that. I really enjoyed our discussion. Thanks for taking out time to talk to us. I had fun!

1 comment:

  1. Cool interview. Not sure I'd want to eat the pepper or the frog but I think you made a wise choice. LOL
    Happy Saturday!