When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I found myself hiding from the world in a dark closet, filled with yesterday’s boxes and worn out blankets. I would cram myself into the most awkward space but always leave the tiniest gap in the door to allow a strip of light in – as I was afraid of the dark. I soon learned that writing meant that even if I was hiding in the closet, I was not trapped or suffocating, and the words I wrote released me and lightened even my darkest hiding places.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer and how does that affect your writing?
I am a full-time surgeon. I qualified from medical school in 2004 and have since then passionately pursued a career in trauma and orthopedic surgery. Now, after many years of exams, night shifts and hours scrubbed under the operating lights, I have completed my higher surgical training.
I am very committed to medicine and surgery in the developing world. I have worked in my short career in South Africa for one year as well as volunteering as a medic for a number of weeks in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake and Pakistani floods, both in 2010. I also worked for 6 months in Cambodia, at a charity surgical center in 2013 and I have recently taught orthopedic surgery in Ethiopia.
I aim to continue this trend by utilizing my dedication for trauma and orthopedic surgery to develop services for those in the world less privileged than I have been.
Throughout my travels, I have been blessed and privileged to meet a wonderful array of inspiring, talented and beautiful people that have allowed me to maintain my belief in the underlying goodness of the human heart, despite the epic sadness of the world around us.
What have you written so far?
I have written many short stories that are neatly placed under the bed, to keep the monsters away and allow me to reach out and read them in moments I cannot sleep.
I have also written and published medical travel diaries from all my experiences as a doctor in difficult circumstances, from the harrowing to the uplifting stories of those battling life in incredible situations.
And lastly, I have started writing my autobiography, where I ultimately end up under the city lights of Tokyo, bearded and gray, chanting the meaning of life, over and over again in perfect clarity and delusion.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
The White and Black Book is a unique story of a book, within a story, within a book. A mysterious book is found in a secret library, by an anonymous female reader and as she begins to reads the book, she finds the book inspires and comforts her throughout her life – until she eventually discovers who the author is.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing this book?
We all have to say goodbye to each other, at some point in our lives – when we never get to see, touch or speak to them again. This book was written for a friend, to travel with them throughout life, when I was no longer able to speak to them again
Tell us more about your main character. What makes him or her unique?
The main character is unique because she is nameless, anonymous, no one and everyone at the same time. The main character is relatable to every reader, and indeed, the main character is the reader themselves – for they too have found this mysterious book in their own secret library.
What is your next project?
I am compiling my fairy tale short stories, with a working title “Under the bedtime stories,” where hope and love are infused with the confusion that affects us all.
What inspires your writing?
I write to release the words trapped between my head and heart, those words that make me laugh, cry and choke simultaneously. In the quietest times, in the most joyous times and in the saddest times, I would curl into my corner and write to be free.
These writings are for me and myself. There was never an intention to share, to display or to publish. However, I was, once-upon-a-time, convinced to open up my words, and although I fear criticism more than I would ever seek praise, I was inspired by the clapping of love to share my writings outwardly. For the first time in my life, I have found a peace within my spirit to let my words float gently into the air in a giant, multicolored, heart-shaped hot air balloon.
I have always believed that the power of words can change the world, and so maybe with this new found belief, they can, one single character at a time. Maybe, on a quiet day, if you have the time, look to the sky and if we are lucky, my hot air balloon would be floating by.
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