A few months ago, I received an email informing me about an award called the Book Award 2020 organised by the National Library of Malaysia. Within the text of the email was an invitation to submit a publication of my choice to be considered for the award. I thought it was a hoax and wrote back to ask if this was really true. Lo and behold, it was! So began the process of submitting The Age of Smiling Secrets for consideration by the experts. I was very grateful for the support from family, friends, the readers of this webiste and also subscribers to my newsletter. As it stands, my novel, The Age of Smiling Secrets, is now on the shortlist (2 categories) for this award. Unfortunately, like many other events this year, the ceremony to announce the winners of these awards has had to be postponed several times because of the pandemic. Instead of wallowing in this malaise of sorts, I decided to take the opportunity to get to know those behind this award. I wrote to the National Library with a request to interview its Director-General. I am mighty pleased that the Director-General consented to this request. Without further ado, I have much pleasure in introducing you to Maizan Ismail.
A few weeks ago, I received a message from a friend about the publication of a new book called The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human. I found this title intriguing and went about looking for more information about both the book and its author. Duly fascinated, I made a request via my friend about whether or not the author was open to being interviewed. She was. So, without further ado, I allow me to share, in her own words, the story of The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human and its author, Marguerite Richards.
When I was still contributing feature articles to the New Straits Times, one of the most curious assignments I had was to work on a story about a quiz master. I never forgot this story for a few reasons. One, a quiz master? What on earth was that? Two, the gentleman in question had a unique name (although I suspect that like most Indian names, it’s probably not unique in his hometown) – Phanindra. Three, Phanindra turned out to be one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever interviewed – you could practically feel the energy bouncing off him. Four – his general knowledge was vast.
“In my books, I try to bring my settings to life by giving minute descriptions of the buildings, the way of life of these ancient peoples, their food, their farming practices as described by the archaeologists and scholars who studied them. This is how it works sometimes in science fiction and most of the time in historical fiction. Writers create (or recreate) the universe in which their story is to unfold,” VJ Singam, author of ‘Disorientation’.
Mbeke and I first met a year and a half ago during a celebration hosted by 7C Life RealiZation Centre. A few months later, during the full moon, we travelled together to a resort in Sepang to take part in a session called ‘Gratitude of Life’ where we immersed ourselves in seawater. The purpose of this session was to express our gratitude to Mother Ganga and set our intentions for a successful and happy life. It is said that during the full moon’s heightened gravitational pull, the power of our intentions increases which allows them to be manifested quickly. During the journey back from Sepang, we discovered that we lived in the same area and from then on our friendship developed. She asked me to submit a story to an anthology she’s working on (please see below for details) and I was deeply honoured. She shares her story with us in this interview.
Introduction: I met Farella a few years ago. I was assigned to a story by the papers and went to meet this pretty young lass. I was fascinated by her gumption – she had a dream, a desire and she made it all happen. Here, in her own words, she tells her story.
“Same old. Same old. 2004 has been so boring.” These were the words my friend said on Christmas Eve. Neither of us was aware that our belief that the year would end on a dull note was premature. On Boxing Day, I was at home in Alor Setar. I was busy caring for my puppy who was recuperating from an operation. I’d shortened her leash by twirling it around one leg of our dining table so that she would remain in one spot. Suddenly, the glasses in our cabinets rattled and the dining table shook. This tiny little dog is too strong, I thought. Yes, looking back, this makes little sense. At the time, though, I was so focused on trying to make sure my fussing dachshund stayed still that no other reason for the house shaking occurred to me.
Breanne Dyck is the founder of MNIB Consulting and helps online training businesses scale their impact, their team and their revenue. Her strategies help to create transformational learning experiences that customers can’t stop talking about. Breanne regularly consults on flagship products and programs, CreativeLive courses, live events and workshops for thought-leaders such as bestselling authors Chris Guillebeau, Tara Gentile and Natalie Sisson.
Margaret wrote to me a while ago to ask if I’d put information about the publication of her new book in our newsletter. I was fascinated by her story and asked if she’d like to be interviewed. She agreed and here’s her story.
Arlene and I have a mutual friend, Joanna Celeste. Joanna suggested I send Arlene a copy of Bitter Sweet when it was first published. I did and since then, Arlene and I have been in contact. Her story is interesting and I hope you enjoy reading her tales as much as I do.