CLASSmagazine and USAfricaBOOKS Series on new Writers and Artistes • www.USAfricaonline.com
QUEENKAY: MY WORLD. QueenKay Anadu-Amamgbo on new book, love and moving forward.
Interview by Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher, USAfrica & CLASSmagazine, Houston:
Congratulations on your first book to be released in a few days, this August 2011. Please tell the readers of USAfrica and CLASSmagazine about what motivated the writing of the book, The Reconstruction and
Transformation of QueenKay?
QueenKay: After losing my husband of 6 years Charles Amamgbo in 2007 to bone marrow cancer here in the U.S, I felt empty; like my life was over. He was my life and I didn’t know where to start. During the last 3 plus years of grieving, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past and deal with some unanswered questions to tie lose ends to my life. It gave me a chance to look at the timeline of my life and where I was headed and where I started. I felt like this would be not just a healing experience for me but also for others.
Chido: Did you , shall we say, exhale… and what did writing the book do in that regard?
Yes, I did exhale and continue to exhale. The book helped me deal with a lot of issues which needed to be faced. I cried a lot during the process and felt a lot of relief. Sometimes, when I would read over a passage, it would be as though the things described happened to someone else.
It was cathartic.
Chido: How hard or easy is it to write especially a book?
I have so much respect for writers of any kind. This book was extremely difficult to write. It was emotional and I had to work myself up sometimes to keep going.
Chido: You are driven and work very many parts to be and remain successful. What is success for you? Success for me is simple. When I derive joy from doing what I am passionate about, constantly improving myself and reinventing the way I approach things. When someone tells me, “Just seeing the way you have held up, run your business and raise your sons, inspires me” That to me is a sign of success. It’s relative.
Chido: What inspires you to success?
Love. passion. The desire to make a difference.
Chido: You have described yourself as a “Mother, Multi-faceted Entrepreneur, writer, dreamer, do-er, hard worker, positive, joyful, peaceful, fun loving, carefree, kind hearted, very optimistic and enthusiastic…” What and who else is Queenkay?
I am still under construction and in transformation. I know there is a lot more I am learning about myself. For now I will say, I am truly at peace and loving this journey I am embarking upon. I would say I lived before now but now I am living in High Definition.
You are versatile and creative and stylish and business savvy. How do you balance all those with raising two energetic, very young boys?
Wow! Thanks for acknowledging that it is a balancing act. I am grateful to have my mum here with me who is my backbone and helps me with a lot more than raise the boys. I am riding on God’s grace because I believe in my spirit, he is looking out for us. These boys mean the world to me. I loved their dad with a love unimaginable and I love them even more knowing that I have to be dad and mum at least for the time being. I want the best for them and to give the best, you have to be the best. I push them so hard because I know that they have seeds of greatness waiting to be fertilized and I don’t want them to waste a moment of their lives not living up to their full potential. The stylish aspect is a work in progress. Business has always been in my DNA, it just needed an outlet to flow through. I’m passionate about creating things. If it becomes a business venture, then even better. But the passion has to be there. Right now, I have so many channels it is flowing to and from. I feel blessed.
Chido: What motivated you to become a writer?
I never thought when growing up, I would write professionally although in retrospect, I was always writing. I was more of an artist and through art, I expressed my innermost feelings without feeling or caring if I was judged or not. When I look at it all, there is so much more writing, art and creativity in me than I can imagine. Writing allows me to express myself in ways that speaking or sketching may not be able to. It challenges me to express words in a way the reader feels alive with the words and can relate to every word I am saying almost like a synchronized dance.
Assess the reading habits of the Nigerian and African communities.
I think Nigerians and African Communities are great at academia. But reading for pure knowledge or novels is becoming extinct. I remember as a young girl everyone I knew read. I had no choice but to read too. Most people I know read quick articles if any and get their information from the television and the internet. I still have a few friends who love to engage in a good book every now and then. But perhaps it’s because we don’t have a lot of younger generation writers that broke barriers like Chinua Achebe. But I am beginning to see a new wave of Nigerian Writers from back home and abroad that are bringing our various stories to life in this new technological age.
Chido: Who are mentors, favorite artistes and writers?
My mum would be my number 1 mentor. A woman of substance, character and resilience. She raised us as a single-mother and we all turned out very well. She gave me strength as a child to see that I could do the impossible even when I didn’t have a word for it. I have a lot of people in the arts I look up to for various reasons, to mention them and the impact they have made would be a whole new interview.
Since I have lived in America, the catalyst for pushing myself to my fullest potential would have to be Ms. Oprah Winfrey. Others that have inspired me in their fight against injustice and inhumane treatment are Fela, Mandela, Martin Luther King. As far as writers, Growing up, I read Chinua Achebe’s books, which examined my culture and what we were dealing with especially with the advent of colonization. I read Cry Freedom a book by Donald Woods about the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
Somehow, I have always been drawn to stories like that. I also admire those who have gone before me to make it easier to tell my story. I still read a lot. One of my new Favorite books is the profoundly written The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I also love non-fiction with elements of romance, drama, mystery, suspense and action in it. I enjoy reading books by Nicholas Sparks and on the Political Genre, I loved Obama’s Audacity of Hope. It dared me to dream.
Chido: Share with us a brief bio-sketch/profile of you. My full names are Nkem Ifeoma Nneka. When I was kid everyone called me KayKay. When I got older my added names were names of women of strength: Queen, Queen of Sheba. I was born in Columbia in Missouri in 1974. I’m a mother of two young boys, Chika and Lota, a multi-faceted entrepreneur, writer, enthusiast, and optimist. I moved to the United States from Nigeria when I was 18-years-old. After living in the Washington, DC area for a few years, I relocated to Los Angeles, California. My desire to realize my creative passions led me to seek opportunities in Hollywood. Before any of those goals took off, I took a detour, to follow my heart’s pathway… falling in love and getting married….
Chido: To say that you have been dedicated to the years of healing from the pains of your loss of your late, very young husband will be a polite summary. You practically refused to allow a ventilation into the future. What informed that position, after several years?
I will be the first admit that I didn’t think it was possible that any man could possibly get my attention after Emeka passed. But, I know he wouldn’t want me to be grieving for ever. I am open to the possibilities that life brings but I am also fragile (after such a big loss) and wouldn’t want anyone to ruin what I have built with my sons but rather enhance it and love me unconditionally regardless of “Queenkay”.
Chido: A few days ago, the first week of August, I saw on your facebook page, you announced a new beginning…what’ s that all about, why, who and wherefore…?
The New beginning I was referring to is the journey that the release of this book will take me. No man in the picture yet. My life is full and I am overjoyed with where I am so far. If for some reason I never get married again, I would not be disappointed because the 10 years I knew Emeka, where like a lifetime. Some people married for 50 years may never experience that. If I were to be blessed again, I would thank God forever. For now, I am loving life and living it like I said, in HD.
Chido: Remarkably too, on the cover of your new book, you have a wedding gown on at a construction site in the Oakland Bay area (I hope my reading of the background environment is right). You are sending another complex message. Can you tell us; rather, would you tell us?
Well, Look at it this way. I was a young woman in love when I got married. No woman marries with a back up plan, “well, if he dies, I can marry my high school sweetheart” But when we take those vows, we should seriously consider the magnitude of the words. “In Sickness and in Health”. My husband was sick and I stood loving by his side until his last breath. I took on the role of a man and with my construction gear, I broke a lot of ground. I have a dual role now, to be a feminine loving mother and to be firm with my boys so they grow up to be strong young men. I am forging ahead like the winds are beneath me, pushing me farther than I can think or imagine. The wedding dress says, “look, I am a woman, soft and gentle, but if I have to be strong and do what I have to do, I will step up to the plate” Life is full of complexities and challenges. We have to rise to the occasion.
Chido: Are you remarried, remarrying or …Who’s privileged…?
No. I’m not in a relationship and of course not married yet. I will if Mr. Real steps up to the plate. No suitable suitor in the picture, but I am very optimistic.
Chido: One wish…
That I will live life to the fullest potential possible. We are all born with seeds of greatness, I want mine to grow beyond my wildest imaginations.
Chido: One regret, or what you would do differently? I think I would have preferred to have flowed more in life and not to have fought for everything I wanted. Besides that, I am happy with the choices I have made so far.
Chido: Your favorite artiste/singer/group? I love love love music. I love music from my father’s generation to current. Favorite Genre includes, Jazz, Afro beat, Afro Pop, African High life, R & B, Hip Hop, soul, reggae, rock. The singers or performers are too many to name any. We can start with these few, Hugh Masekela, Whitney Houston, JZ, Elton John, P-Squared, Awilo, Fela, Celine Dion, Alicia Keys…it goes on & on. I especially love lyrics that move me to think deeper about love & life.
No, I should Thank you for the opportunity. I feel honored that you want to feature my book on your USAfrica multimedia networks and CLASSmagazine. May God continue to expand your networks and give you favor. Amen. ©USAfrica 2011. E-mail: Chido247@Gmail.com. Wireless: 1-832-45-CHIDO (24436). Office: 713-270-5500.