Name – TIM I GURUNG
Age – 52
Where are you from
A – I am originally from Nepal, I came to Hong Kong as a British Gurkha soldier at 17, and I have been living in Hong Kong now with my family. As I joined the British Gurkha army at 17, I just attended high school and never got to attend university. I am a self-made man, I live with my wife, son and daughter, and run my charity ISSLCARE now.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
A – I just spent the whole year of 2015 on book promotions, 2016 will be my year of writing and I am planning to write 5 books all at once.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
A – I started writing again in 2009, the world was gripping with a severe financial crisis, business was slow and I decided to rekindle my writing again. I used to write when I was young, but I completely stopped writing as I became busy with earning a decent living for my young family. Since I had started working at 17 and worked extremely hard in life, I never wanted to work for money or fame again after I turned fifty, and I always wanted to dedicate the latter half of my life doing something more meaningful. Moreover, I also wanted to do something for the weak, poor and needy ones, my humble background taught me to appreciate good things in life, and I also wanted to give back something to the society as well. Writing was a gift that I could use to fulfill that wish, I only write for my charity now and I am using my writing to help finance my charity.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
- I have realized it at a very early age, I used to write assays, short stories, poems, songs and much more when I was at the high school and writing has always came quite easily for me. I used to write in Nepali language by then, then I didn’t even write a single piece since then for the next 25 years, and when I restarted my writing again in 2009, I started to write in English and it has been a sort of a new era for me since then.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
A – I have always been fascinated by the world affairs, global and serious events interest me in great deal and I have been studying them for ages. As I called myself a writer of conscience and righteousness, my books are always based on serious global and social issues and my first book was no exception. The main theme of my books is always based on real issues; I create stories around it and present it as a book at the end. My first book, FIVE STEPS, deals with five major issues (American occupation in Okinawa/Japan, Chiru – the Tibetan antelope which was almost wiped out by illegal poachers for its soft fur, Kashmir issue that has kept India and Pakistan still in war for so long, New York aftermath the financial crisis, and Portlandbill/UK, dealing with the Yobs problem) that I found more interesting at that time and I took them as the main subject matter of my first book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
A – I don’t think so, but my editor and some of the readers said I try to describe more, use long paragraphs and sometime tend of overdoing things. So, I have to pay more attention on improving on that, I suppose.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
A – I am always thinking about my next sentence, next story and next book; I prefer to do it while I am busy doing some household chores like cleaning, gardening and so on, and whenever I found a new story, it clicked at the back of my mind. And I keep on working on the general story as well as the title of the book at the back of my mind and finalize it when I am completely happy with it. The title hardly changed after the actual writing has done and I have just changed once out of my 8 books.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A – I am an idealistic writer, I write for the people, society and mankind whenever possible and I always want good for the people. Since my books are mostly based on serious global and social issues, they always carry a message and I want my readers to not only find but also apply them if applicable.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
A – As we all know, we write from our own experiences, the way we see things and the way we want the world to be in some ideal way. And my position has no difference. Having said that however, I can assure you all that only the subject matters of my books are real and everything else is fiction. Nevertheless, of course some of the events in the books are heavily affected by real events in life and such appearances are hard to avoid. But more than 95% of the stories in my books are entirely fiction.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A – All the experiences we get in life are mostly from our own life, the people we know and the events that are happening in a daily basis around us. We do also learn from reading news, watching TV and observing others in our life. But it is the people, events and societies which you have come across with in life that will leave the most impressive and long lasting effect throughout our life and it is from those same experiences that we tend to live life. They immensely influence our decision, we can learn a lot from them and my life was no different.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
A – Our world at the Eastern hemisphere is a bit different than here at the West, our culture doesn’t encourage reading that much as you do here, and if I were to admit here, I didn’t read that much books before in life. I started reading more books only when I decided to rekindle my writing again and read almost a hundred books during the last few years. I mostly read books by the Nobel laureates, I also tried books by some of other famous authors, and I did like some of them. But it was only limited to the first book of any author, from the 2nd book on, I could hardly keep my focus, and I had to stop. As a result, if I were to speak here honestly, I wasn’t influenced by any authors out there, and I am not sure if it is a shame or a gift. Sorry!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
A – As I have a busy writing plan for 2016, I don’t have much time to read nowadays, unfortunately and I am really struggling to read more books. Having said that, I am reading a three parts memoir by PETER MOSS, and BLACK TOM – TERROR ON THE HUDSON by RON SEMPLE is on my reading list.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
A – No, sorry, I haven’t seen one that attracted my attention. The big mainstream media only talk about the big names who have sold this and that millions of copies and so on, and I have no interests whatsoever of about them. I am pretty sure that there are plenty of very good and talented new writers out there, but sadly the market is so much so crowded and saturated by the would be writers that they simply don’t get to see the outside sun and be noticed. It is really hard for new and aspiring writers like us for sure.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
A – Due to my heavy commitments on marketing, I didn’t even write a single page in 2015, and I am planning to write 5 books all at once this year. I didn’t know it was that hard to change the mindset from promotion to writing mode, I am slowly getting into it now and hopefully I can start running again. I have to write at least 3 pages at the minimum each day, that is not that hard actually and I am pretty sure that I am going to achieve that pretty soon.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
A – It is definitely my editor, VICTORIA GIRAUD. Although she got paid for the job, she has always been very kind, patient and supportive, and all of my books hitherto were painstakingly edited by her. I have also met some good souls at the social media, they have been very supportive to me and my works from the beginning and I felt lucky and honored to meet them. However, my editor has always been there for me, she had not only guided, encouraged and supported me but also mentored me when it was needed, and she has also been a very good friend of mine now.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
A – Certainly, if I had no confidence on me, I would have not decided to become a fulltime writer by now, and I am pretty happy with my decision. Having said that, I still think it is a very long, slow and hard journey, and eking out a decent living out of writing is not that easy. Especially in the Eastern hemisphere it is extremely hard. Furthermore, the market is also very crowded and full of pretenders. My decision was only made easier because of my current position, I don’t have to earn for my family, and I am doing it as a service to the society and nothing more. Writers should start it as a side job, shouldn’t leave the daytime job until you become someone, and take it as a serious career from there. Unless you come from a well-known background, have load of doss, or became the luckiest one picked up by a super agent, you should take it as a long term goal, be patient and persevere. If not, better stick to the daytime job.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
A – I hope I definitely don’t have to do it, if I have to do it again, I wouldn’t do many changes though, but I will definitely have to make some small changes here and there. I have experienced that before but in a very small way and whenever we try to redo again, the situation is different, the mindset is different and it is tend to have some changes for sure.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
A – I have never been a good talker, I don’t like loud noises, and I find solace in my own small world. I always have something going on at the back of mind and if I don’t take them out soon, I get annoyed, and writing is the only way I can offload them from my system. It all started when I was away from home, we used to write letter home and I could write 10 pages letter in a blink of an eye while the others struggled on 1st page. It was then that I realized I could write and as the saying goes the rest was history.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
A – Why not, I just wrote a blog about my current work and here is the link http://timigurung.com/2016/01/11/what-will-i-be-writing-in-2016/ and I pasted it here for your reference.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
A – My biggest challenge in my writing is to be able to write as it was my native language. English is not my mother tongue, I learned it through own study and perseverance, and I still have a long way to go before I can perfect it. When I started writing in English, I used to think it in my own language, make a sentence in English afterward and write them down at the end. It was only after my 3rd book, I was able to think it in English from the very start, make sentences and write all them down all at once. It is normal for any outsiders who don’t speak and write in the same language, I am trying my utmost best and hopefully I can get rid of that annoyance for my readers soon.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
A – I don’t have the most favorite one; I liked the fist book of some of the big names like Marques, Rushdie, Murakami and Hugo. But after 2nd book, the glitter was somehow gone and I lost interest. Therefore, I really cannot point out one book that really impressed me and the reason why I felt so excited.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
A – Not much, but for my next coming book in 2017, I am planning to visit at least 4-5 countries for research and I am sure that it will be very interesting.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A – The cover of my first 6 books was designed by my own daughter and son, they were pretty talented ha, and it actually got quite a reaction from various readers. As it was done as a favor, they decided not to bother again and I had to find a professional for the next job. Therefore, the cover of my 7th & 8th books was done by a professional and I am quite happy about it.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
A – Writing a book is a very long, hard and assiduous job, like raising a baby you are attached to each and every process of it, and when it is time for the baby to go free, you want your child to prosper. But that is not always possible, the world is a cruel place, and people don’t always behave nicely. Sometime, people get really mean, they trash your baby without reason, and your very good intention is questioned. It hurts but you will get accustomed of it with time and my position is no different.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
A – The biggest lesson I learned from my writing is this, not everyone will like your works, and once it is put onto the public, it is not up to you anymore and you are subject to be judged in many ways. Some of the comments can be pretty harsh, even abusive, and you have to be fully prepared to take it. Especially critical articles on the newspaper are more prone to such assault, modern technology has made it even easier as they can put comments right under the article, and most of them are not only myopic but also vitriolic as well. Writing is a noble and respected profession, the way writers are pimping it nowadays disgust me and a true writer shouldn’t stoop so low for exposure.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
A – I am not sure if I am qualified to give any advices yet, but if I really have to say something here, I would like to say few words. Be patient, write good stuff, persevere and market it well. Because without marketing, you will go nowhere and don’t leave your daytime job yet before you have established yourself well at the literary world.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
A – Thank you so much for reading, sharing and appreciating my works. By reading my books, you are not only making me happy but also helping the poor and needy ones and giving them a chance to start living again.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
A – An English book, it was TAIPAN by JAMES CLAVELL
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
A – I cry when I see the pain, sorrow and suffering of millions humans in the world and I laugh when the fool, greedy and selfish people get to taste the money, position and power of a nation full of much more foolish people.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
A – Mother Teresa, simply because what she did for the weak, poor and needy ones was simply extraordinary.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
A – Sorry, I don’t want to have a headstone, I want my ashes to be thrown into the ocean after cremation and I can live there forever without any restriction or attachment.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
A – I just want to have a simple life, write and help the poor ones through my charity!
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
A – I like watching movies with historical, social and life value; ordinary people doing extraordinary things; and based on real but meaningful events.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
A – Simple healthy dishes/colors that have everything to do with nature/melody and ballad.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
A – A teacher!
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
http://www.timigurung.com/blog – It is all about my writing, charity and books
Thank you so much for everything
Best regards and take care
TIM I GURUNG