Another in our series of interviews with members of Mairangi Writers. Paul is one of our newer members and is keeping us entertained at meetings by reading (in a delightful rich brown voice) the latest section of his memoirs. Here's Paul...
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I’m an early riser – I walk five kilometres each morning before seven. After breakfast, I have been working on my first book, which is currently being edited. I am presently completing an online course with Yale University entitled; Moral Foundations of Politics. I am an avid reader, and spend the early afternoon indulging in my latest acquisition. There never seem to be enough hours in the day. How did I manage when I was working fulltime?
What is your favourite book from childhood? Tell me about it.
“Moonfleet” by J. Meade Falkner. The novel is set in the 18th century, and written in the 19th. The theme explores a young teenage boy growing up with his aunt in a small village on the Dorset coast in England. The central character is John Trenchard, and the narrative explores his coming of age and the transition from boyhood to adulthood. John learns many of the men in the village are smugglers. The story weaves between England and Holland. A boyhood romance weaves its thread through the story. I first read the book when I was fourteen. It had a lasting impression on me. In particular I found the story compelling, and the beautiful prose carries the novel to its romantic conclusion.
What are you currently reading? Tell me about it.
“The Long Road to the Deep North” by Richard Flanagan. I finished the book last week. The story is centred on an Australian surgeon, Dorrigo Evans, who is conscripted to South East Asia during World War 11. He is captured by the Japanese, and ends up commanding a group of fellow soldiers who are forced to labour in constructing the Thai-Burma railway.
Dorrigo is haunted by a love affair he had with his uncle’s attractive wife two years before in Australia. In his position within the confines of the Japanese prisoner of war camp he experiences the tension between love and hatred, life and death. On day his lover sends a letter to him; it will change his life.
This beautifully written novel celebrates the human spirit, and what it is capable of enduring under extreme hardship. The physical and mental cruelty inflicted on the prisoners is harrowing, yet the novel keeps the reader engaged to the end. Definitely one of the most memorable books I have read over the last twelve months.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Why does it stick in your memory?
Not really. Writing is a hobby I have found time to indulge in, following a busy work career.
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Complete freedom and the joy of personal reflection. To be able to construct an idea or a memory from the past and give it shape is so rewarding. I’d always wanted to write for pleasure. My first book has taken me a year to finish. The journey is almost complete. A change of genre from non-fiction to a novel is currently occupying my mind.
What is your writing process?
Map out a basic story book in my mind. The detail comes from research, and as each chapter is constructed I have tried in my first book to engage the reader, without giving away the ending. I found writing for three to four hours on weekdays has been engaging; where did the hours go to?
Rewriting was a discipline I spent considerable time working on. As each chapter was completed I would then redraft again before moving to the next one. Once the manuscript was completed I then revised each chapter again three times over. The forth draft will comprise amendments from the editing process.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading fiction, nonfiction, and surfing newspapers online. I would spend an hour each day on the web reading articles from the BBC and The Guardian. I enjoy eating out with my wife, often accompanied with friends. We both enjoy spicy food; Indian and Thai would be our favourite cuisine. Our five grandchildren take a lot of our attention and time.
What are you currently working on? Explain.
I have completed my first book, a memoir about adoption and identity. The manuscript is currently being edited. From that process I intend to make alterations to the text and then publish the work during 2015.
List of Books by this author: “Searching for Enda: A Memoir on Adoption and Identity”.
Contact: email firstname.lastname@example.org