Tumi Mfoloe, a junior animation student at Lipscomb, accidentally stumbled upon her passion early last year when she was able to self-publish her first novel.
In January of 2018, Mfoloe self-published her book, The Meeting, on Amazon under the pen name Tumi Yukii. Soon after, it became available for purchase at Barnes and Noble.
She first developed the idea for the book while reading stories on a site called Wattpad, a place where aspiring writers can share their works for free. She claimed that many of the stories that she read all sounded the same, so she took it upon herself to write something different, not really expecting it to go anywhere.
Her story features two musicians from New York, Tumi and John, who meet each other on a night out. Unlike other romantic novels Mfoloe had read, this couple has a different type of relationship from that of what is normally seen in media these days. It shows the story of a Christian couple that focuses on the importance of communication in a relationship, along with the decision to save its first kiss as a couple for marriage.
“What I love about Tumi and John and everyone else in the book is that they will sit and have a conversation—they’re open to communication,” Mfoloe said.
Mfoloe received incredibly positive feedback from her story after it was posted online, as her story was read over 200,000 times. Because of this, she decided to rewrite it and publish it into a novel.
“If these people online have liked my book and have said all these great things about it, then probably people outside of this format will like my book, too,” Mfoloe said.
She states that she wants people to realize that relationships like the one Tumi and John have do exist in the world, and that they shouldn’t have to settle for something they’re not comfortable with.
Mfoloe says that writing this book has taught her a lot—about writing and about herself, along with the calling God has placed upon her.
“I’ve always looked up to certain people, but writing a book has taught me that I admire myself and that I believe in myself,” Mfoloe said. “I wrote all this because I believe it, and I believe God gave me this story to tell it. That’s the only reason it is what it is now.”
One of her inspirations for publishing was Rupi Kaur, the author of Milk and Honey, who also self-published and had her book become a best-seller.
She plans on continuing to work on the sequel to her book as well — hopefully next summer once she graduates. After the sequel is published, she plans on exploring other genres such as historical and young adult fiction.
Mfoloe wants to encourage anyone who wants to put their work out there to do so.
“Everybody in this era of social media can have a voice, but you have to believe in yourself, and you have to be willing to learn,” Mfoloe said. “Have confidence in yourself and what you’re doing.”
Photo courtesy of Tumi Mfoloe via Instagram