Tell us about your book and what inspired the idea.
My book is an inspirational autobiography titled ‘I had to lose my virginity’. My late father’s childhood, upbringing struggles, and how he managed to overcome them, is the main inspiration behind the book. My father desired one day to tell of how he had overcome the ‘curse of disability’ to acquire an education, to marry a wife and to raise a family. These things were but daydreams for disabled folks of his generation. Actually, the clan, including his own father, disowned and banished him when he stubbornly fought his way into a classroom. Luckily, his maternal uncles gave him refuge. It is unfortunate that my dad passed on before he could write his book.
Although I was not born with a deformity, my father’s story is quite close to my own. I, like my dad, underwent incredible challenges in search of a good education. Of course, some of the challenges were of my own making but they were tall challenges nonetheless. The narrative is laid bare in the book. When I looked back at the path I had walked, I resolved I must tell my father’s and my own stories in one. I thought that someone out there needs to be encouraged, even inspired by these stories. That is how ‘I had to lose my virginity’ was conceived.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I read a book. If ever I am addicted to something, the thing is books. I just love books. When I am not reading, I will always make time for physical exercises and my family.
This is your first book, what did you learn during the writing process?
Two things, I can speak of:
a) How easily ideas just flow once you put the pen on paper; and
b) How much work is involved in producing a good book. For a writer especially, you don’t enjoy your sleep until the publishing editor signs off on your manuscript.
Tell us about your book collection
I must have some two hundred volumes in my study shelf. All are favourites but ‘Obesity Code’ by Dr. Jason Fung is my current favourite. I struggled to cure a weight problem using trial and error methods until I came across this book. Thanks to Obesity Code, I dropped 30 kg within a year without too much struggle.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kind of feedback do you get?
I have said in my book, “Fall in love with yourself to the point that you cannot do without yourself.” My readers are fascinated about this saying and many have commented on it, asking to know how they may love themselves. I also receive feedback from women wanting to know where I found the strength to conquer the pain of being divorced.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing about certain aspects of personal life, the colourful ones especially, is not easy but then a ‘real person’ story is not complete without them.
What has this book taught you?
Humility. I have been humbled both by my own story and by telling it. I am humbled by a realization that every success story has a helping hand, so that it would be a fallacy if I said, “I am self-made.”
Any message in your book that you hope your readers will grasp?
My father’s and my own experiences have taught me that there is no wall in this world that cannot be jumped. If it cannot be jumped, it can be sunk. With bulldog determination and a sense of purpose, anyone can achieve great success no matter how they started out in life. That is God’s perspective of people and everyone ought to understand this.
What are your future projects?
I am working on something, which will be published in the coming year, hopefully. Obesity has caught up with our society as a critical healthcare concern and I do not think it is getting sufficient attention. It is a high time someone started a serious social conversation about it and I choose to be that person.
What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?
Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung
Any writing ritual?
They say procrastination is a thief, but I think it is a killer. So, when it comes to writing, I never say, “I’ll write later” I am ever armed with my minute notebook and pencil to capture the fresh thoughts before they disappear. It is not unusual for me to jump out of bed at odd hours just to scribble a paragraph or two. But I have my special time at dawn to write before I officially start off my day.