The Best Read for the Holidays
With the Writer Spotlight Series, we create a positive image for young girls to refer to by having conversations with different writers and illustrators. This month we have been doing Q&As with many writers, to get to know more about them and their work. Here, we are showcasing all the questions we have asked author Abiola Bello. We discuss her YA book, Only for the Holidays.
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Welcome Abiola. Tell us about yourself.
Hello! I'm an author and write children, middle-grade and YA. I've been writing books since I was eight years old and wrote the first draft of my first book, Emily Knight, I am when I was twelve years old. I also run a small indie publishing house and The Diverse Book Awards.
What was the inspiration behind the characters, Tia Solanké and Quincy Parker in Only for the Holidays?
Tia is a representation of my dislikes! We both don't like the countryside, both are scared of horses, both don't like having to leave the city to stay in the countryside! She's also British-Nigerian, which was fun to write. Then Quincy is ultimately the representation of a nice guy, who are usually friend-zoned but for me nice guys never finish last, so I really wanted that type of character as my prime male MC.
Only for the Holidays, a perfect holiday read. Can you share with us something about the book that is not in the blurb?
Quincy and Tia are experiencing a toxic love that they both have to navigate in different ways.
As a YA writer, how important is it to have stories about Black love?
Very important. Representation in romance is so weak and I love that I'm able to contribute to that. It's important for young people to see Black people not just in the context if slavery and gangs.
In three words, what does holidays mean to you?
Jesus, family, blessings
Hashtag Press is a book publishing house promoting fresh voices. Can you explain the inspiration behind it?
Becoming a published writer, especially as a debut and, if you're underrepresented, is really difficult. I've had a journey getting published, so I totally understand the ups and the downs of being an author. Getting an agent can take a lot of time and patience and although Hashtag does work with agents, we are open to working directly with authors. To really grow the access of literature, it's important to find those fresh voices and support them.
Quick Fire Round
Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter?
Endless summer always
Movie or Book?
Sweet or Savoury?
About the author
Abiola Bello is a British-Nigerian author from London, England. She is the bestselling, award-winning author of the children's series Emily Knight I Am and contributed to The Very Merry Murder Club anthology. Love in Winter Wonderland is her debut YA. Abiola has won London's BIG Read 2019, was a finalist for the People's Book Prize Best Children's Book and was nominated for the Yoto Carnegie Award.