Writer of the Year – interview with Noël Gama (14 February 2007)

Introduction

Noël has been a subscriber to my newsletter, Great StoryTelling Network
newsletter for a long time now. From time to time, I’ve added announcements he’s made in this newsletter. When he told me about being given an award from Writer’s Bureau, I thought it only natural to want to interview him. He hails from a place I’ve only read about but never visited, which is the Portuguese colony in India. I have great pleasure in introducing to you, Noël Gama …


Aneeta: Noël, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Noël: Hi Aneeta, this is a welcome reversal of role for an HR guy!

Aneeta: Let’s start with a little about you. Tell me, please, something about your childhood, where you grew up and life before you joined the workforce.

Noël: Yes, those are the days I dream about most, which inspired and motivated me to launch my first Blog2Book project, “Saudades! Folk Memories of Damão.”

Damão was a Portuguese colony for 400 years. It became part of India as recently as 1961. Hence, it is not surprising that there is a strong Portuguese influence in our music, songs, folk dance, cuisine, sports, dress and most importantly, temperament!

I grew up in this unique multiracial, multicultural and multilingual environment. As such, my mother tongue is Portuguese though I had my formal education in English.

Like the culture of Damão, my book is intended to be an exotic mix of local history, folklore, memoir, travelogue, and romantic colonial lifestyle, enticing the intrepid traveler as well as mitigating the acute nostalgia of natives and expatriates.

Aneeta: I understand that you’re in Human Resources. What does your work involve?

Noël: As Head of HR, my primary job is conceptualizing, making sound policies, framing effective rules and devising systems that work. I have put my writing skills to good use by authoring a number of policy and procedural manuals and even writing B2B copy. Again, when it comes to implementing these very policies and systems, persuasive writing plays a great supporting role. In fact, this will be the essence of my forthcoming Red2Green series of ‘How-To’ HRM e-Books.

Aneeta: How did you get into writing?

Noël: In school, my teachers always said my essays were outstanding. When I began working, my boss said the same about my correspondence. But it never occurred to me to write professionally until I found Writers Bureau three years ago.

Aneeta: What do you write about and do you use a particular storytelling technique?

Noël: I write non-fiction topics that interest me. I use copywriting techniques for ‘selling’ my story to the reader – not the editor. A good example of my style is at www.wildlifefile.blogspot.com

Aneeta: Well, I know that you’ve been awarded the Writers Bureau Writer of the Year Award for 2007. Tell me about this award, please.

Noël: The ‘Writer of the Year Award’ is open to all students of The Writers Bureau and is given to the student who has developed the most as a writer. Success is not judged merely on the financial gains but on publishing success including breakthroughs into new markets, success with a genre you thought you wouldn’t want to try, etc. The winner receives a £250 cash prize and there are four runners-up awards of £50 each. The winners are published on WB’s website and in promotional material. The Award is judged in January of each year. Applications must be sent in by 31st December of the preceding year.

Aneeta: What impact has receiving this award had on your life?

Noël: Now, I know that the write path is the right path for me!

Aneeta: I understand you run several websites. Would you like to describe each one of them?

Noël: Well, you could call them all websites since a blog is a website. But to be frank, I have only one website at www.Noëlgama.com with an ever-increasing number of blogs or groups of blogs, attached to it – all managed with Apple’s iWeb application and a DotMac account. Each group of blogs is a Blog2Book project. Each blog corresponds to a chapter and each posting to a topic in a ‘book’. The blog/book is intended to be a collaborative as well as corroborative effort with validation built-in.

I like blogs because they have a very personal touch, written in the first person like any diary entry while a website is usually written in the third person and may not even be written by the owner of the site.

Secondly, search engines love blogs.

And last but not the least, blogs don’t require me to write code – just good copy!

Aneeta: What are your plans for your future as a writer?

Noël: Now is the best time to be a writer anywhere you may be in the world. India is poised to become one of the world’s biggest publishing hubs. Self-publishing is big business. Add the three miracles of technology – the Internet, POD and e-Book publishing – to these three facts and you have a winning formula for business success as a self-publishing author!

Aneeta: As you know, this website caters for storytellers. What advice would you give them?

Noël: It was only when I came across this website that I realized effective writing is about good storytelling. Writing is just one of the mediums to tell stories. Storytelling is not only about fiction – it takes non-fiction from being merely factual to being real.

Aneeta: Noël, this is all I have to ask. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Noël: Michael Masterson of AWAI talks about ‘glicken’ – the cherry on the cake. Here’s the glicken I got from my venture into writing: I got one-on-one with people like, Marcia King-gamble, Peter Bowerman, Nick Daws, Carol Anne Strange, Clare O’Brien, Steve Slaunwhite, Rob Parnell, Michael Green, those wonderful people on MyWritersCircle & WritingIndia and… Aneeta Sundararaj – a wonderful human being!

Aneeta: Noël, such praise! Thank you.

Noël: Foi de grande prazer! (That’s Portuguese for ‘My pleasure!’)


This piece may NOT be freely reprinted. Please contact editor @ howtotellagreatstory.com for reprint rights.

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