New Client Alert — Ruona Okundigha
- By: Ramona Pina | Date: Sep 16 2022
What you Write:
What book do you wish you had written, and why?
Okay this is a really hard one because I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that I wished I’d written. Is that weird? Most of the time when I read books, there are elements that make me go “that’s so good, I wish I’d done that”. It could be gorgeous prose or a really exciting premise or very vivid characterization. I get inspired by things like that often and think about how to improve my own writing, but all my favourite books are so intertwined with their authors that they’d lose some of their charm if I’d written them.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
This changes very often. Usually I’m listening to music—the main artist of the moment changes often but some of my all-time faves are BTS, Janelle Monáe, Rina Sawayama and Taylor Swift.
Besides that, it really depends. I really love learning about space and big cats so I’ll have periods where I’m super focused on those and I’m just reading books and watching videos and basically consuming whatever media I can about them.
I also watch a lot of TV—movies, dramas, anime. I will watch anything from anywhere as long as it’s not problematic or horror.
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
I’m @ruonawrites on Twitter where I talk about books, writing, music and whatever my current obsession is.
What’s the last book you read?
HONEY AND SPICE by Bolu Babalola. I will forever rave about Bolu’s writing and the gorgeous things she does with language.
I’m also currently reading TWICE AS PERFECT by Louisa Onome and I love it. Her characters are some of the most vivid and fleshed out I’ve read in a while, even the super minor characters feel like living breathing people.
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
A private beach that’s permanently at sunset. Just that sea smell, a soft breeze and the sound of waves lapping up against the shore.
What’s your favorite thing about reading or writing?
Immersing myself in a new world. Reading fiction, more so than any other type of media consumption, really allows me to not just view but experience new things, new places, new ways of being and I think that’s some real life magic.
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
I love how open and transparent BookEnds is about the whole publishing process and how dedicated the agency is to helping authors at every stage of their journey. From the blog to the interviews to the YouTube channel (fun fact: I discovered the channel right after I got the email from Ramona—call that fate or my CIA agent working overtime), that’s aimed at giving authors the tools to make the best decisions for themselves and their work.
It also feels a lot like a family. It’s really cool how much communication there is on the agents’ side and my agent-siblings have been so sweet and welcoming. BookEnds feels like a place to grow.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
Don’t give up. I know you hear this all the time and sometimes you just want to roll your eyes, but your stories need to be told, and the right agent to support them is out there. I was close to giving up so many times while I was in the trenches and if I had, I wouldn’t be having this interview right now.
Sometimes you might have to shelve a book and that takes an incredible amount of courage, but keep writing and keep querying. Don’t give up on getting your stories out there.
What was the most important question you asked when interviewing agents?
I’m a Libra so I’ll cheat a bit and give you two: “what is your vision for this book?” and “what is your vision for my career?”
How did you know your book was ready to submit?
First, I could read it through without cringing. So there weren’t any glaring grammatical errors or weird things like characters needing to pee at the most random moments.
I think the biggest thing was that I could read it through and turn my editing brain off. So I was actually getting sucked into the story even though I’d written it and that was when I was like, “it’s ready.”
Okay, this was a ton of fun to do and I hope it’s been fun to read for everyone who’s stumbled on it. Hope you’re having a good day, stay hydrated (guess who needed this reminder) and if you’re into books or you’re an ARMY or you’re an ARMY who’s into books, come hang out with me on twitter.