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Following the review of A Worthy Legacy, the author, Tomi Akinyanmi, was gracious enough to answer my questions and discuss her writing process and how A Worthy Legacy has affected her life.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Nigeria and I did all my schooling there. I moved to the US in 2002 and have lived here since then. I love to write in my free time and so I write stories poems and songs. When I am not writing, I am drawing.

How are you living your life differently now than you did before reading your grandfather’s last journal entry to you?
The words of wisdom in A Worthy Legacy have helped me learn to look beyond my feelings and thoughts to seek out the lessons of life in everyday situations. Now, whatever the situation, I try to find a lesson to be learned from it. What I have discovered is that I am learning every day.

Has this experience motivated you to help others and serve your community? If so, what have you been involved in?
Definitely. This experience has helped me identify the need to impart the right values to children at a very early age. One of the things I am teaching my children is the importance of helping others. Recently, I took my 3 and 5 year old children for community outreach events at some nursing homes in the area. They each played the keyboard and the violin as part of a children’s choir program during Easter and also for Mother’s day. The events brought a lot of cheer to the residents and the children loved doing it. From these events, the children have also learned a lot about compassion, empathy and that sometimes it doesn’t take much to make a difference. These are lessons which I hope will stay with them for life.

How do you put others in front of yourself as your grandfather said?
What this means is that in every situation, say you have a misunderstanding with someone, I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes and look at things from their point of view. This does not mean that you make excuses for bad behavior, but it might help you understand where they are coming from and also help you find a way either to resolve the misunderstanding, or to deal better with this person next time. What this has helped me to do is to be more compassionate and understanding of other people.

What’s next for you as an author?
I am greatly inspired by the feedback I have gotten on
A Worthy Legacy. For now, I will be working on a journal companion to A Worthy Legacy so that people who have been inspired by the book can write their own legacy of wisdom to others. I’m also writing about how to apply the lessons of A Worthy Legacy in everyday life. I hope to publish these books soon.

What is your writing process?
I start by to writing down my thoughts and, as much as possible, organizing them into categories, putting similar thoughts together and eventually, the story would start to take form. Once I have the basic ideas down, I start to tackle one category at a time. Of course I go back over and over again to reread and rewrite until it feels just right to me. After that I start to share with other people (initially family then friends, and critique groups) I listen to the feedback and take notes, go back and review and rewrite as I deem necessary, then pass it on to an editor to review and help me refine and polish it.

What are your top three favorite books?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Animal Farm by George Orwell

What are you reading right now?
1001 Ways to Market Your Books, by John Kremer