Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Interview with Author Agitu Wodajo




  1. What inspired you to write this book

A Purposeful Life is a long-delayed response to the call I received in the 1980s through two evangelists who closely watched my life as a Christian woman going through difficulty in my marriage, career, and religious life in Ethiopia. These evangelists didn’t even know each other, but they both encouraged me to write a book, telling me “Agitu, you are a gospel (I am humbled by this), your life example could touch many lives and make a huge difference.” However, for quite a long time, I was unable to respond to the challenge until I experienced a very painful and humiliating wake-up call.  The long delay in responding to this call and writing my story was for a purpose—It offered me the opportunity to be refined more and gain a broader experience to produce an enriched book that speaks to diverse audiences, and all areas of life: marriage, career, family, social, religious, cultural, economic, and political.                                                                                             


  1. What exactly is it about and who is it written for?

A Purposeful Life is my personal story detailing my humble beginning growing up in the 1960s in Ethiopia, my extensive experience studying and working in both Ethiopia and the United States, traveling the world, and my services to others while raising five well accomplished children. My memoir walks readers through my various tribulations and the incredible perseverance, optimism, and faith I sustained through it all, with the help of God, in order to find and heed my call to empower underprivileged women to become self-reliant and bring a positive change to their family lives and their communities. A Purposeful Life will appeal to married and unmarried women and girls, churches and faith communities, governments, the United Nations, social-change advocates, policy makers, health institutions, international charitable organizations/donors (mainly: in Ethiopia Swedish SIDA, UNICEF, Canadian CIDA, Swedish Save the Children, Norwegian Save the Children, the Netherlands Embassy, the US embassy, and Plan International, and in Minnesota/USA: The Minneapolis Foundation, Catholic Charies. Minnesota Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, The McKnight Foundation, The Bush Foundation, The Amy & Butler Family Foundation) 

3. What do you hope readers will get out of reading your book?

I believe readers will get out of reading my book everything they are looking for in their lives as well as explore what they didn’t know or have never imagined. I consider myself as a research sample because I speak from a lived-experience in my childhood, career, marriage, and social life, and I thank God for using me to speak to others by life and words. What readers get out of my book include and not limited to: a) The power of faith, positive-thinking, optimism, courage, endurance, and perseverance b) The fruit of hard work, and putting others first, c) ethical and moral values c) making the right choice and decision before and after marriage d) how to cope with and handle cultural and religious pressures on marriage, e) The wisdom to raising successful children f) Myth and reality about life in America, from my lived-experience (particularly concerning racism and discrimination) I show readers why they should be grateful to America and its wonderful people who exercise good citizenship. I alert them to understand that America is part of the world and American’s are human beings that they are not perfect to avoid mistakes.    

4. How did you decide on your book’s title and cover design?

A Purposeful Life is what the title says. Each chapter displays God’s purpose in my life’s journey and how He helped me to fulfil that purpose. Concerning the cover design, the initial design I gave to my publisher was sunshine on the mountains and a woman standing on the top raising her hands up to heaven in victory, to show my readers how I triumphed over my tribulations, but the designer’s work was not exactly the way I wanted, and was revised three times. With the last front page cover design, I paid $78.00 in vain to shrink my picture so the image in the background shows clearly. At first, I didn’t even want my picture on it. Presently I am speaking with a different publisher to get my book re-published by the design and with quality I wanted. 

5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers – other than run!?


  1. Set time aside for your writing, at least 2 hours a day so it won’t take years to complete your writing
  2. Readers want to get something useful out of your book. Let your writing not be “for your information” type, but rather informative and inspirational
  3. Don’t allow any kind of discouragement to stop you from writing 

6. What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? 

Non-fiction books, such as inspirational stories, religious books, and memoir & autobiography are becoming popular. When it comes to book publishing industry eBooks and audiobooks are becoming popular while print books still take the lead. Seniors like me prefer reading print books. Promotion and marketing are hard for self-published authors who lack the skill and time to use the social media and other platforms or can’t afford to hire a professional blogger and book marketer. This in turn might have a negative effect the publishers’ marketability. 

7. Were there experiences in your personal life or career that came in handy when writing this book? 

My book is all about my extensive experiences in my personal life and career 

8. How would you describe your writing style? Which writers or books is your writing similar to?

My writing styles are narrative, expository, and descriptive. I describe and set scenes and provide a thorough descriptions that are supported with pictures, and take readers to all the countries and historical sites (with wonders of the world) I have been to including, Europe, Central America, east and west Africa, China, Hong Kong, and Israel. While writing my memoir, I purchased four memoirs and got a few from a public library and read. I thought Wangari Maathai’s, Unbowed, Tara Westover’s, Educated, and the former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Becoming have similarities with my memoir, but I found it different in many ways. 

9. What challenges did you overcome in the writing of this book?

I had two major challenges:


1)      Making my embarrassing, disgusting, and offensive marriage story openly public. Above all, I didn’t want the bitter story to overtake my constructive message of optimism, courage, endurance and perseverance.  I tried my best to overcome this challenge by removing 15,000 words from this book. I will include it in my next book titled, “How to Build Healthy Marriage and Families/Prevention and Cure” in an educational way

2)      When I started writing my memoir, it felt like I was writing my autobiography, and I feared that it won’t be as inspirational and engaging as it should be. I overcome this by consulting with an editor to write it in the form a Novel. 

10. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours?

After all is said and done, I am inclined to believe the two evangelists who encouraged me to write my story by telling me that I am a gospel and my life example could touch many lives and make a huge difference. Readers will find in my book the courage, faith, endurance, and perseverance they need for the day as well as the strategies to dealing with unforeseen circumstances and raising successful children, free from playing the blame-game. 

About The Author: Agitu Wodajo has more than thirty years of extensive experience in the areas of women empowerment, healthcare, community/economic development and social policy. The NGOs she stated in both Ethiopia and the United States helped underprivileged women with services that promote self-sufficiency and policy-change advocacy that lift barriers. Agitu Wodajo holds multiple degrees including diplomas in community nursing and as a pediatric nurse practitioner from colleges in Ethiopia, a Bachler of arts in human services from Metropolitan State University, an executive master of public affairs from Humphrey School of Public Affairs/University of Minnesota, and a PhD in Christian Leadership from Christian Leadership University.  She has received awards and recognitions from Metropolitan State University, the governor of Minnesota, the Department of Homeland Security, and KARE 11 News for her commitment to bringing about a positive change in the immigrant communities of the Twin Cities metro area. She has travelled extensively for study tours, training, international conferences, and workshops, and has witnessed firsthand the need for addressing our shared problems. She now resides in Atlanta, Georgia where she spends her time writing and serving as a president of a non-profit organization, Holistic Freedom International, Inc. Please see: www.agitu-consulting.com.  


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