The Break Up Recipe is a book that takes a humorous look at relationships and break ups. It's an opportunity for anyone who has been in a relationship to read something that they can identify with and smile. I wrote the book for a male audience but then during market research and test reads I found that women were very interested and have now become the main readership. It was for that reason (female audience) that I posed naked for the marketing material. That was done in the hope of appealing to my main readership. The book itself starts with a break up and from then we get taken on a journey of the main characters different social and sexual encounters with women, some of which are hilarious. According to some reviews I have had if you wanted to bracket the book and describe it quickly to someone, it's a combination of, Sex And The City, Bridget Jones Diary, The Hangover and, Think Like A Man.
Please tell us a bit about the character of Mark Mutton.
Mark Mutton is a man that's dear to my heart. I must admit as I was writing him I put a bit of my personality into him but did combine that with figments of my imagination to create him. Some of his encounters were written the way they were purely with the intention of raising a few laughs and putting smiles on people’s faces. He is vain but not arrogant; he is a nice guy who has a crude mouth and a unique view on the world. He is ultimately a guy who wants to be loved. He occasionally ends up in tricky situations purely by fault rather than design and in one of the most memorable scenes in the book he ends up in a ladies toilet that's empty at first and then fills up with lots of women while he is going through a very uncomfortable experience.
Why did you decide to write man lit and turn the chick lit genre on its head?
I decided to write man lit because I noticed that the romantic comedy genre was very populated with female writers and I wanted to add a male voice to the mix. Many of my female friends are always asking me how men handle break ups, what they're like when discussing their relationship with their friends and what really goes on in a man’s head. This book answers a lot of those questions. I also decided to write man lit because I wanted to get past the blokey humour that is in most male relationship books and get men who read it to be able to open up a bit more and add another dimension to the conversations guys have in a pub. In summary the book is a girl’s guide to men.
You say it is classic man lit for women, so how can men enjoy the book?
Men can enjoy this book because majority of them will find things that they can relate to. The humour in the book is very much geared to a male audience. Most men who read the book will have a laugh with each other about the content. I've experienced this first hand from the number of emails I receive all the time of gratitude. They come from men who have gone through break ups and found that it picked up their spirits. Equally there have been men in happy relationships who have used the book as a form of escapism.
Why did you want to write about relationship, sex and dating?
I wanted to write about relationships, sex and dating because it is one of the most popular topics of conversation around people I hang out with. When I am eavesdropping on conversations I find that a lot of the time people are discussing those subjects also. I am fascinated by the complication of the dating world and the way people pick their partners. I am also amazed by the reasons people give for ditching their partners. The world of internet dating has turned dating on its head and I wanted to add my voice to the discussions. There's not much actual sex in the book (I haven't had enough sex in my life to fill an entire book on the subject matter). The other reason there isn't much sex in the book is because everybody has sex in different ways and I don't think I'd be able to write sex in a manner that would appeal to everyone's tastes or preferences. Relationships feature very heavily in the book. The main reason is that I was interested in the massive differences in how people conduct a partnership. From my point of view a relationship is being with someone for the rest of your life (hopefully) and knowing when and when not to agree and disagree amongst other things.
Did you ever expect the book to be as popular as it has been??
I must admit that I had a hope that the book would be popular and I worked my arse to make sure it was. I sent out 3000 and more emails to bloggers and journalists to get their help, I continuously badgered and still continue to badger my friends on Facebook and twitter to spread the word. I also handed out close to 10000 flyers personally including in strip clubs and whorehouses. I wasn't a customer in either of those establishments; I just approached bodyguards and persuaded them to let me in. Looking back on it that experience was scary as I had a gun pointed at me most of the time. So in answer to your question, I hoped for success and put the work in to ensure it but never did I dream that it would get as popular as it did so quickly. The reaction from readers was fantastic, there is a hard-core fanatic group of women who read the book and still keep filling my Facebook inbox with naked pictures of themselves. I was also offered publishing deals by 3 different companies but the financial terms were a piss take and so I decided to do it all on my own.
You moved to England at the age of ten, so what are your memories of this?
It was quite a change in the weather first of all. Coming here from Nigeria at a young age I went from experiencing constant heat to changing seasons. The first time that I saw snow I trapped some in a jar to send home to my parents, I left it in my room and when I came back to a jar full of water it was then explained to me by one of the other kids that I couldn't put snow in the post and also it does melt. I enjoyed moving here because my parents sent me to school while they remained back home. What this meant for a ten year old was that I had a crazy amount of independence. I felt like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2. I missed my parents and my siblings a lot but I made lots of friends very quickly and discovered lots of new things on a daily basis such as Top Of the Pops and Eat as much as you want buffets.
When did your writing journey begin?
My writing journey began from when I was a child. A lot of my English teachers encouraged my writing efforts and that built up my confidence. I also read a lot as a child and still continue to as an adult. The love of books made it easy for me to want to write and I learned from the different writing styles of the Authors from the different genres that I had read because I never restricted myself to reading one particular genre. I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X which I thought was one of the greatest books ever written, The Da Vinci Code was another book that had me hooked and although it had criticism from some quarters I thought that Dan Brown did a tremendous job of writing the book equivalent of crack, I found it impossible to put down. After I finished reading Maya Angelou's books i decided that my learning was complete and I could now take a stab at writing my own book because her style was so beautiful, The nearest thing I can compare it too in a real human experience is foreplay.
What is next for you?
I will be writing two further books on Mark Mutton as well as another book on a completely unrelated subject. If anything else comes from my writing then who knows what else I might be doing?