The Interview: Bookbag Talks To Femi Bolaji

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The Interview: Bookbag talks to Femi Bolaji


Summary: Sue was moved when she read God Tells the Sun to Shine: An Amazing Story of Love and Forgiveness and there were was quite a bit to chat about when author Femi Bolaji popped into Bookbag Towers.
Date: 9 January 2015
Interviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee

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Sue was moved when she read God Tells the Sun to Shine: An Amazing Story of Love and Forgiveness and there were was quite a bit to chat about when author Femi Bolaji popped into Bookbag Towers.

  • Bookbag: Close your eyes and imagine your readers. Who do you see?

Femi Bolaji: I see someone who is inquisitive, intelligent and curious enough about the book's title 'God Tells the Sun to Shine' to decide to read it. My readers are likely to range from mature minded young adults to the not so young. They will be open-minded.

  • BB: What inspired you to write 'God Tells the Sun to Shine'?

FB: I owe the book's title to the refrain in Lenny LeBlanc's song - 'All My Dreams'. The song ends with the words 'You're the one who tells the sun to shine'. I decided to research Lenny's claim in the Bible that God is the one who tells the sun to shine. Quite accidentally I stumbled on Jacob's story (which I had read many times before) and realised he had a remarkable 'Sunset to Sunrise' experience. I decided that the story was worth retelling and I could relate to it. I have had a number 'sunsets' and 'sunrises' in my life as well, when I needed God's help to change the situation.

  • BB: I sense that your Christian faith means a lot to you. How did this come to you?

FB: That happened when I was a civil engineering undergraduate at university. I struggled to be motivated about my studies and everything really but could not understand why. I therefore trudged along until the final year when a friend invited me to a campus christian group? At the meetings I met other students and lecturers and I was impressed by their faith, their sense of purpose and commitment to one another. Then I decided to read the Bible through and was surprised how relevant Biblical accounts were to contemporary times. I also learnt that God has a purpose for everyone including me! Identifying and living in that purpose has helped me to remain highly motivated and enthusiastic about life for 25 odd years.

  • BB: Do you plan to retell any more biblical stories and if so, which are your favourites?

FB: Yes. I am now planning a sequel titled - 'God Tells the Rain to Fall'. Several years down the line, after Jacob had returned to Canaan there was a severe famine that threatened to wipe out his entire family and belongings. Once again he desperately needed God's help. There are many interesting characters in the Bible but my favourites are everyday people I can relate to - like Jacob, Joseph and David.

  • BB: The Bible has been described as the least-read best seller. What does it mean to you?

FB: The Bible is not an easy book to read more so if you are not reading from a modern translation. Also, it is perceived to contain obscure historical accounts of bygone eras. Unless you read it with an open mind and from a perspective of faith, you would soon loose interest or feel unable to live by its prescriptions.

  • BB: Do you think the Bible has much to tell us about modern life?

FB: I found out early that the Bible is relevant to every situation. The various accounts offer answers to many of life's questions - albeit in coded form sometimes (you may have to read between the lines). From the Bible you can get insight on life, love, business, politics, careers and much more. Through my writing, I aim to help my readers see the practical applications of Biblical stories to modern day life.

  • BB: Where and how do you write? How long did it take you to write God Tells the Sun to Shine?

FB: I like to write short stories. Usually I start with an inspiring theme (e.g. Love and Forgiveness) which I dwell upon until I find an applicable Bible story. Afterwards I plan the telling of the story with my reader in view - inquisitive and open minded. I was very busy when I wrote the book so I woke up early over a period of two months to write and re-write. (In my everyday life I am a Civil Engineer, I manage the delivery of major motorways and river crossing bridge projects in developing countries).

  • BB: What would be your desert island book?

FB: It would be a book on cognitive psychology e.g Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman or Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

  • BB: You’ve got one wish. What’s it to be?

FB: That I will not have regrets afterwards about my everyday choices.

  • BB: What's next for Femi Bolaji?

FB: As a writer - I plan to write two sequels to God tells the Sun to Shine i.e. 'God Tells the Rain to Fall' and 'There must be more than this'.

  • BB: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us, Femi and we look forward to reading those books.

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