Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest Augustine Sam author of Take Back the Memory.
Augustine is a bi-lingual journalist and an award-winning poet. A member of the U.K. Chartered Institute of Journalists, he was formerly Special Desk editor at THISDAY newspapers, an authoritative third world daily, first published in collaboration with the Financial Times of London. He later became correspondent for central Europe. His poems have been published in two international anthologies: The Sounds of Silence & Measures of the Heart. One of his poems: Anguish & Passion was the winner of the Editor's Choice Awards in the North America Open Poetry contest, USA.
Norm: Good day Augustine and thanks for participating in our interview.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? What keeps you going?
Augustine: Thanks for having me, Norm. I think I first considered myself a writer when my first play for radio was aired on my local radio station. I was in high school at the time and my two sisters and I used to sit by the radio every Thursday evening to listen to the radio plays.
One day, I told them I would convert one of my stories into a play and sell it to the radio station. Mercifully, they didn’t dismiss it as an untenable dream. They actually encouraged me to do it.
Back then, while other kids my age kept diaries, I kept piles of notebooks where I wrote short stories mainly for the pleasure of my two sisters who, by the way, were my first real fans and readers. I eventually converted one of my short crime stories into a play and took it to the radio station. The producer of the radio theater, who was used to receiving scripts from Theater Arts students and lecturers from the local university, tried her best to be polite, took the script from me and sent me home.
One week later, I went back to see her, half-expecting to be politely dismissed. I was surprised when she said she had actually read and enjoyed the script and said I should have left a phone number or a forwarding address. The next Thursday evening, when I sat by the radio and heard the words: “Turning Point, a play for radio, written by Augustine Sam,” I felt like I was floating in space. I think that’s when I considered myself a writer. And I’d say it’s the need to express myself in written words that keeps me going.
Norm: Why do we read fiction?
Augustine: Sometimes we read fiction to ‘escape’ and sometimes we do so to be entertained and be informed because fiction, in manifold ways, gives us valuable insights into many of life’s realities.
Norm: How has your
environment/upbringing/writing poetry colored your writing?
Augustine: My background as a journalist definitely helps; poetry writing has influenced my choice of words. But I think what propels me is my fascination with storytelling. This fascination began in my very first year in school when my first literature textbook, coincidentally, was a novel set in the port city where I grew up.
It was the story of a one-eyed, shabby, old man who spent his days at the harbor contriving different kinds of mischief that enthralled the local population. I had seen him at the harbor a few times when I was a kid. So, reading about him in the literature textbook, gave me a whole new insight into how the written word can actually capture reality.
Norm: What helps you focus when you write? Do you find it easy reading back your own work?
Augustine: A solitary environment, although I sometimes enjoy a little musical distraction. I generally don’t find it easy to read back my own work. Usually, I get away from it for a while, it helps.
Norm: What's the most difficult thing for you about being a writer?
Augustine: I have lots of imagination, so finding the time, I suppose, and trying to get into the mindset of other people, are the most difficult things for me about being a writer.
Norm: What served as the primary inspiration for Take Back the Memory and how did you decide you were ready to write the book?
Augustine: That’s an interesting one. Actually, Take Back the Memory, started as part of a chapter in another story I was organizing in my head. Initially, I wanted to use it in a chapter about a date night—you know, to create a minor distraction—as it was conceived as a scene in a movie that intrigued the protagonist of the original story on that occasion, but I just couldn’t.
The more I thought about it the more it expanded and soon began to detach itself from the original plot. I contemplated it for a long time before it occurred to me that the story of Paige Lyman could actually be a novel on its own. As a writer, I usually let my inspiration dictate the direction of my creative endeavors, so I suspended the original story and began to focus on plot development for what later became Take Back the Memory.
Norm: What purpose do you believe your story serves and what matters to you about the story?
Augustine: The purpose of the story is to explore the indecipherable mystery of love, to highlight the complexity of the human mind, and offer food for thought on what might constitute love and what, on the other hand, might constitute obsession. What matters to me about the story, first and foremost, is that the reader is entertained.
Norm: How did you go about creating the character of Page Lyman? Was she based on someone you know or knew?
Augustine: Paige Lyman is a figment of my imagination.
Norm: Did you know the end of your book at the beginning?
Augustine: I didn’t know the end until I finished the first draft, and then I decided to boost it with a ‘twist in the tail’.
Norm: Where can our readers find out more about you and Take Back the Memory?
Readers can find an excerpt of Take Back the Memory on my Publisher’s Website:
The book is sold in all the major online bookstores.
Norm: What is next for Augustine Sam?
Augustine: Two new books this year, hopefully. I am in the process of publishing my new poetry anthology, and I have just completed work on a mystery/thriller novel. Once I have these two out of the way, I’ll finally focus on the trilogy that was suspended to enable me create the story of Paige Lyman.
Norm; Thanks once again and good luck with Take Back the Memory
Augustine: Thank you.