Tolulope Popoola is a writer and blogger born in Lagos, Nigeria. She currently resides in London with her husband and daughter. She is the creator of the online fiction series In My Dreams It Was Simpler and author of the newly released novel, Nothing Comes Close. She also writes short stories, flash fiction, and articles for print and online magazines.
When and why did you decide to become a romance author?
I don’t think I can put a date on when I decided to become a romance author. I just wanted to write, put the words in my head on paper and if people read them, it was a bonus. I started writing the love story in Nothing Comes Close because it was something that I observed around me. I saw people struggling to make certain decisions when it came to their relationships, and I tried to capture that in my story. Relationships are one area of life that every adult has to deal with – we’re either searching for the right person to be with, or trying to make the best of our current status. Love is a universal language, finding love is not always easy and overcoming challenges always makes a good story, so I put those situations together.
What kind of books did you read growing up?
Growing up, I read a lot of different books; from Enid Blyton’s adventure series, to the Sweet Valley books, African literature books, Pacesetters series, to Mills & Boons, classics like Little Women, bestsellers like Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins. I read almost any book I came across.
Would you say the romance novels you read (if you read any) growing up presented a balanced view of fictional love and relationships versus the real life version you saw around you?
I read a few romance novels growing up, but I don’t think they represented the reality I saw around me. For one, most of them were Mills & Boons stories with foreign characters, living in different countries and sometimes a different historical context. So I enjoyed reading the stories, but as pure fiction. The relationships I saw in my Nigerian environment were very different.
How has what you read (romance novels) during your formative years shaped your outlook on love and relationships as an adult? How have you been able to separate the two?
The stories in romance novels usually have one thing in common: the couple fall in love and have a happy ending. It’s quite easy to see that compared to fiction, not every love story in real life ends happily. People make bad decisions, experience heartbreaks, or stop putting in effort into making their relationships work. It’s quite easy for me to separate reality from fiction when it comes to romance. I think it’s important for readers to understand that while true love exists, it takes more than love to have a “happily ever after”.
Yes, I want to write stories that are very realistic as well as unpredictable, so I don’t try to stick with the “formula” for a typical romantic story.
When you sit down to write, do you think of what you’d like your readers to take away from your finished work? If so, what is it?
I want my stories to entertain, inform and make my readers pause for thought.
Nothing Comes Close is Tolulope’s first novel and can be found at most online retailers including Amazon, Waterstones, Book Depository, Kobo, Apple iStore, and WHSmith.