Sharing her creation with the world and having published two books is the fulfillment of a lifetime for Tulia Nacola. The 39-year-old is a professional carpenter and runs her own Pacific Harbor-based furniture business, a business she had operated for 11 years.
Nacola, from the village of Soa in Nakorotubu in Ra, comes from a family of six and is the second youngest child in her family.
Writing is something she’s not new to, since her father Ratu Jo Nacola was himself a writer and professor of English at the University of the South Pacific.
Growing up, she said that reading was something she loved simply because it transported her to another world created by the writer.
She said she has always been fascinated by how writers have woven their experiences and knowledge into beautiful stories that readers have taken with them forever.
“I have always been a strong believer in telling and passing on family stories to the younger generation, which has kept me alive,” said Nacola.
“So the inspiration came from wanting to share my stories and also the ones that have been passed on to me, as well as my experiences and beliefs in the hope of inspiring others to write and tell their stories.”
Nacola says her first novel, Strength of a Name, was a creative non-fiction book based on her parents’ education and the challenges they faced growing up with their families and when they first met.
“It follows the path my father took as a young man from his village and traditional paths to academia, and how he lived in both worlds and the sacrifices he had to make. “
She said her second novel The Brown Dress was a compilation of stories about women in remand and women’s prison.
“It’s a story of self-discovery and courage through the friendships made while the women were there.”
The 39-year-old said The Brown Dress took her around 30 months to write.
“I had to divide my time between two passions, woodworking and writing, so I made furniture by day and wrote by night.
“When I started writing, one of the challenges was not having enough time to do everything.
“Sometimes I found myself exhausted from work, where other commitments and responsibilities took precedence.
“And then I was frustrated that I wasn’t going to meet the writing goals I set for the week or the month.
“Then you get to the point where you have to sacrifice for what you really want to accomplish.
“So I deleted the unnecessary things that took up my time like social media. I had to give up on friends who weren’t helping me grow and change my bad habits.
“I’m still learning every day, but I find it easier now than when I started”
Looking back, she said the experience of publishing two books has been both rewarding and empowering.
“It’s a wonderful experience because I can share my creation with the world.
“It comes from a very personal and honest place and it feels good to be able to leave something behind for the younger generation.
“When I wrote The Brown Dress, the material and information I gathered from these women opened my eyes to a whole new world.
“I think we are all guilty of judging to some extent, and these women in these institutions belong to that spectrum of judgment that I too was a part of.
But what we forget is that they too have stories, that they have families, hopes and dreams that were taken away by miscalculated decisions or simply because they were in a situation that they thought they couldn’t get out.
“The aim is to show that these women deserve to be considered as mothers, daughters or wives. Not completely thrown out as if they had lost all purpose in society.
She advised members of the public to do what makes them happy, things that they are passionate about and that would bring purpose and accomplishment.
“It won’t be the easiest trip to take, but once you’re on the right track, no other feeling can compare to the extent of pride and satisfaction you discover in yourself.
“So let go of all the unnecessary things and focus on what you want in life.
“If you believe you can do it with such conviction, it’s already done.”
Both books are available on Amazon.