Lifelong Storyteller, First Time Novelist: Your Unique POV is your Strength!

Self-published author EeJay Enekwa: “If my project didn’t resonate with certain agents, all that meant was that it was as unique as I thought it was.”

eejay enekwa

“It’s a romance novel, so to speak. But it’s not about the guy.”

EeJay Enekwa works as a clinical pharmacist in a hospital, but she’s always loved telling stories. And today, alongside her career, she’s a self-published author of her first book, The Way You Look At Me. “Twelve-year-old me is not surprised that I’ve written a novel. In fact, she’s just got done writing one about a pair of best friends who have a major falling out and find their way back to each other years later,” EeJay says. 

EeJay’s journey might be familiar to many of us who’ve always had a love of books and a vivid imagination – but also know how those can often take a backseat to everyday obligations like academics, work and family. It tends to be our greatest passions that get put on the back burner while we do what we need to so we can get a leg up on life. Still, it’s worth remembering that ‘not now’ doesn’t mean ‘never’ unless you let it – and for EeJay, that’s what self-publishing her first novel meant.

eejay enekwa

“Growing up in Nigeria, we had to decide what we wanted to be by the ninth grade,” she tells us, “because in senior high school (tenth to twelfth grade), we had to take classes tailored to the path we’d chosen. I went to science class because I had decided to be a pharmacist. And when my parents sent me to attend college in America, I didn’t know what it took to be a pharmacist here – but then I found clinical pharmacy.” 

“I’ve watched Grey’s Anatomy for years and I love it, but once I started working in a hospital, I began to notice how the show was so centered around doctors that the doctors were performing tasks that would ordinarily be performed by someone else,” EeJay continues. “I watched doctors do the work of phlebotomists, or nurses, or pharmacists. As a pharmacist, I wondered: Why has there never been a pharmacist on the show? We’re in the hospital too! We’re crucial members of the hospital healthcare team!”

…Great point, woman! How many times have the doctors on Grey’s “sent bloodwork to the lab” while we, the audience, don’t give any further thought to who’s actually doing the work to make those diagnoses? There’s so much of “popular doc culture” that takes place off the screen and it’s about time someone brought it to the fore.

This is where EeJay’s lifelong love of storytelling came together with her unique point of view – and a novel about the intersections of life, love and pharmacy was born. It’s set during the opioid crisis, and it’s the first in a series she’s already working on – and it’s also, dare we say, the first of its kind within the niche. But what else sparked the urge to put it all on paper for EeJay?:

eejay enekwa

“I had helped to work out the logistics for a patient to get a drug that would wind up saving her unborn baby’s life. At twenty-two weeks of pregnancy, her doctor realized that she had a rare condition where she developed antibodies against her babies’ platelets, causing them to have spontaneous brain bleeds. She’d already lost two pregnancies to that condition, and they were determined to ensure that it didn’t happen with this one. No one truly considered how tough it would be to infuse large volumes of this product until the issue arrived at my table. It took me two hours of working with several departments to make it work, and once it did, I felt like a superhero.

At that moment, I realized that pharmacists worked so far behind the scenes that lay people didn’t even realize we were there. We got things done that people didn’t know the half about. We put out fires even though people didn’t really see us doing it. How many times did we catch errors? Or make sure the patient got the right drug in the hospital? I felt that someone should write about that. Then I thought: What if that someone was me?”

We love that kind of initiative – and the fact of the matter is, these days, it’s easier than ever to take your novel from idea to print if you choose to self-publish. A quick Google search will give you a handful of proofreaders and editors, both freelance and from publishing houses, who can help get your book into shape for printing and distribution. “Get feedback from your tribe too,” EeJay adds. “I ran so many things by my friends, my sisters, and my coworkers that I’m pretty sure I exhausted them. But the feedback was important. If they’re honest with you, it will help you improve.”

“Just do it. If you have a story to tell, write it down. It’s easier said than done, and of course it’s a little daunting when you sit to write a novel knowing you will be compared to people with degrees in English Lit or creative writing. One thing I forced myself to do was to NOT take the rejections personally. I had to see it like this: If my project didn’t resonate with the agents enough for them to want to read more about it, then all that meant was that it was as unique as I thought it was. So give yourself the grace to make errors. As long as you’re willing to improve, you’ll be fine.”

Friends, consider this a gentle motivational push as we step into 2022: If you’ve been meaning to get the ball rolling on your novel, the time is now! Wherever life has placed you gives you a unique perspective and story to tell, and no one can do it like you. We want to see more stories by and about women in the coming year, and can’t wait to support them along the way.

“We all have the desire to love and be loved. For me, a good romance story should end with clarity; where the two people involved can see each other for who they are, and accept themselves, flaws and all. That is ultimately what I hoped to convey with the relationship portion of the novel.”

Want some inspiration from the final product? You can grab yourself a copy of EeJay’s first novel, The Way You Look At Me, here! You can also read more about EeJay on her website, and be sure to give her a follow over on Instagram while you’re clicking around.

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