My name is Laura Tata Onuigbo. I am the author of the best selling book entitled Red Passport. It’s currently for sale internationally on Amazon.
I enjoy writing fiction and am astounded by the success of my first novel.
Red Passport is about a struggle by Nigerian citizens to remain in the UK against so many discouraging and nerve-wracking odds. Because the hardship in Nigeria – corruption, unemployment, insecurity and hunger – has made returning home an unattractive option, the characters are ready to do whatever it takes to succeed, including illicit sex, back-biting and a cat and mouse game with the authorities.
The main characters are an intriguing mixture of individuals. Tasie is a sexy, spunky and clever girl who takes life and its troubles with a pinch of salt. She is nice despite being vain and hung-up. Sheni is devious and randy. He will do anything to lure a woman to bed. Uche is a desperate, troublesome and vengeful young woman who fails to realise her own naivety and ignorance. Busayo is hardworking and determined. A typical Nigerian hustler!
The setting of the story is Southampton because not only do I live here, I have fallen in love with it and see it as my home. The book was a much-needed chance to pay tribute to the city.
Many people ask if the story, or parts of the story, are based on real events? The only part of the story that is real is the scrapping of Tier 1 Post-study visa by David Cameron, and other historical events that occurred in Nigeria at certain times.
I know some authors engage in extensive research to fuel their novels but the only research I did – learning the ways of the English – was an involuntary one, which I had done long before I knew I’d write a book. My findings came in handy in portraying the English characters. I relied on the memories I gathered as a child to create the social mood of Nigeria in the mid-1980s, for the flashback chapters.
Readers always want to know where I got the idea to write this work of fiction. The idea struck me when post-study visa was scrapped and I saw how badly it affected foreign students especially Nigerians. I had long heard how men use women and women use men in a bid to gain legal residency in the UK and US and many other countries, so I put two and two together and formed my story.