After more than ten years interviewing singers, politicians, movie stars, etc. We finally decided to interview an author. Luckily for us, we were able to get in touch with Pat Diaku. She’s the author of Uncovered: A girl’s Story of Resilience (published by Black Tower Publishers). Today, we will be discussing about her and her book. If you haven’t read Uncovered: A girl’s Story of Resilience, we advise you to do so.
Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to write.
My name is Pat Diaku. I’m an entrepreneur; a public speaker, a certified life coach and a minister. I’m the Chief Executive Officer of Oakhill Business Consults, a company I created to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and acquire relevant skills. I’ve been on the faculty of Fate Foundation since 2011, and recently, a Tony Elumelu Foundation Volunteer Mentor. I co-founded The Family Tree House Initiative, a community where I mentor young people to develop and imbibe the right value system, build their leadership competences to drive social change and nation building. Apart from business, I’m also a Lead Fellow and very passionate about sustainable development in the African continent. My concern is the African Girl-Child which is why I mentor vulnerable girls from ages 10 to their early 20s in various secondary schools and higher institutions in and outside Nigeria.
My inspiration came from my personal healing story of rape and abuse while growing up as a teenager; incidences that affected me psychologically and mentally to the point of thinking suicidal thoughts. I had no one to lean on during this period of my life and so when I eventually found a support system in my husband and a group of mentors, I saw the need to extend the love and support I received to other young girls. I discovered from my interactions with these young people, especially the girls that they are hurting deeply and need someone to give them hope and show empathy.
What has influenced you the most as a writer?
One of the things that has influenced me the most as a writer is majorly our society; the influence of our belief systems, our lost values as a people, the patriarchal and traditional dominance of women and its negative impact on the society including the way the female mind-set has become conditioned to enforce the status-quo thereby hurting each other in the process.
Uncovered: A girl’s Story of Resilience is an interesting book. How do you think this book can have an impact on the society?
Uncovered: A girl’s Story of Resilience is my true-life story. It’s about my resilience. It’s about my struggles, the challenges I encountered in life; it’s about giving hope to the hopeless. This book is set to change the narrative of the girl-child and encourage a change in our mindset. When you read a true life story of a young girl who was sent to Lagos as a help; survived two rape incidents, survives all kinds of physical and emotional abuses; developed a terribly low-self-worth; hated men but eventually becomes a professional; travelled and worked in every continent of the world; (26 countries); has several businesses; been married for 25years to a man who adores her, you’ll definitely be inspired. This is how the book inspires one; the summary of my message is: “If I can make it in life, then you too can” and that’s the truth.
What are the challenges you faced while writing and publishing this book?
One major challenge I faced while writing this book was the fact that I was going to expose my vulnerability to the world. But I knew the time had come for me to do it. I needed to break the culture of silence around rape and abuse and to encourage victims to speak up and most importantly to seek closure and healing. As for the publishing, there wasn’t any major challenge safe for funding, but God brought a publisher who believed in my vision, published the book without even meeting me face-to-face and waited for the book to be released and launched before getting paid, which was extremely rare in this part of the world.
What will be the goal of your next book?
The target of my next book which I hope will be released by the end of the year will be on better parenting. From my interactions with young people on the field, I have come to realise that a lot of parents have been shut out of their children’s world; knowingly or unknowingly they have lost their children’s trust and a lot of these youngsters are bitter. I can tell you that some of the societal vices we see today can be traced to the deep-seated anger; the family failure as well as the societal failure they have experienced. Hopefully, lost family and societal values will be restored as people read the book.
What advice will you give your younger self?
Be bold enough to follow your dreams. Never, ever allow other people intimidate you. You’re good enough and you’re tremendously and absolutely loved by God. And that’s the most important thing so stop looking for love and validation from people.