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In part 2 of our conversation with author Yoyo Opoku, we go into the future of the Borrowed Wife series, particularly Husbands on Hold.
|Interview Date||May 7th, 2018|
How The Borrowed Wife Book Cover Came To Be
Taking into note Yoyo wants to present women who look like her, who she can relate to, the reason for what essentially is Vida on the cover is for representation. To have a Black woman with unique features, a dark complexion, the curves she does, and also a fit hat tips to Vida’s culture. Hence the waist beads and also the red pumps.
Two important features for they represent both Vida’s power and sexuality. Sexuality due to waist beads being meant to be something alluring, as can be red pump shoes. Yet, also there is a sense of power for the beads represent where Vida comes from, her culture, and a good heel is part of what makes her feel like a powerful woman. So, when stripped down, the silhouette and these two stand out items aren’t essentially what makes Vida, but are strong identifiers.
Yoyo notes that as she writes, she writes as if she is writing a scene. For while she isn’t too knowledgeable on how to write a script, her love of movies and media, in general, is a strong influence. Now, as for whether we may see The Borrowed Wife transition from book to screen? Well, she has worked on the possibility. Particularly by getting in contact with Ava DuVerney’s people and them directing her to an address to send her work. So, who knows, between Ava herself or AFFRM, now ARRAY, we may see Vida and her story in The Borrowed Wife coming to the big screen, television, or maybe turned into a web series.
As for why Yoyo is pursuing that route vs. doing it on her own, as she did with this book? Well, simply put, like with not knowing the ins and out of writing a screenplay, yet, knowing how to make a web series, short, or movie is the only thing holding her back. Though, as noted, the idea is definitely in mind and between speaking to Ava’s people and trying to get in contact with producer Will Packer and multi-hyphenate Tyler Perry, there is a real pursuit in moving Vida’s story from the page into a visual format.
1. Who or what inspires you to continue?
For Yoyo, what inspires her to continue are her children. One recent moment in particular which really felt validating was her oldest son hugging her and saying he was proud of her. This encouragement is something kept in mind as she finishes up Husbands on Hold.
2. Do you feel like, in your field, you have started to gain ground and get comfortable?
At this point, after all that is mentioned in part 1, Yoyo wouldn’t necessarily say she is comfortable but certainly more knowledgeable. Take for instance using social media. At the time of the interview, she was still trying to decide how much and what kind of content to put out there – especially beyond advertising the book.
However, as for other things, like attending events to promote it, as she has done a few times in New York and New Jersey, she is getting comfortable with that experience. For while she leans more towards being shy and introverted, she no longer has the same kind of fear she once had. Be it criticism or negative comments, she has learned that those things are but a learning experience. The kind which makes her not just a stronger writer, but also person.
3. What is one thing, if someone wanted to follow your path, you’d tell them they must do and what they should avoid?
The key thing you must do, according to Yoyo, is embracing your confidence. You need to not just build yourself up to the outside world but also believe in yourself. Especially because there is a lot of negative energy out there. And while you should do your best to keep people from draining your energy, no matter who it is, realistically that isn’t always possible. So you will have to rely in knowing yourself and believing in yourself.
4. As of where you are now, where do you see room for growth?
Though Yoyo has one book out, and another on the way, she strongly believes writers shouldn’t stop learning and trying to improve on their craft. For her in particular, she wants to take more writing classes and also network with like-minded people. For, relating to how inspiration came in college, she found doing assignments with others in English to be a bit of a challenge. Mostly in terms of recognizing other people’s talent fueling the need to refine her own.
Leading to the need to question, How Do You Receive Inspiration But Not Let Others Influence You Too Heavily?
In response, Yoyo cites how while she may have read Terry McMillan, James Baldwin, and others, there is a basic format for most books. There are two people who meet, fall in love, one loses the other person, and ultimately wins them back. But, what each author does is put their own twist on it. Bring their own uniqueness in the form of, like for Yoyo, presenting strong African women and their culture. If not how their culture, in an environment outside of what feels like home, brings a different dimension. By doing so, while some can spot and see influences, you can still make it wholly your own.
5. In the long run, what do you want to be your legacy?
When it comes to Yoyo’s legacy, what she wants to be remembered as is a funny, romantic, and suspenseful writer. One who also herself was a funny person and brought positive and diverse representation of African women. Not just their stories, filled with both beauty and heartache, but also their humor.
Next Book Status
As of the interview, the hope was that before July 4th, which just passed, Husbands on Hold would be sent to the editor and released. It was noted the cover is done but she was still finishing it up. However, the latest she expected was this summer. So we still may have some beach reading material yet.