London Book Fair 2020 & Author’s Viewpoints on Writing & Much More…Published February 8, 2020
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS for LONDON BOOK FAIR 2020
1. How did publishing your first Book change your process of writing?
The publishing of my first Book was nervous and excited at the same time. I was not sure if any publisher would give me a chance. Dog Ear Publisher gave me that chance like a local company did for me with my first job so that I can put it on my resume. I’m grateful for it and have continued writing for four years now.
2. Do you try to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I view writing like composing a song or drawing a picture. I have to follow the basic rules of writing. But, I also need to create something that is appealing to readers and also make my work unique compared to other writers. That is the equation I have to balance for my writing.
3. If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?
Like writing a computer app, I need to have a general plan for a book with the introduction, body, and conclusion. Then, I have to do lots of research for those parts before coming up with a detailed plan for it.
4. What does literary success look like to you?
Literary success for me is not about how much money I can make with my writing. Rather, it is about how many lives I have changed by my books and how many aspiring writers I have inspired by my person example.
5. What’s the best way you think to market your book?
The best way to market my book is to have potential readers touch and flip through it themselves. That way they can see and feel it for themselves.
6. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I do my research for a new book by reading through relevant books and then checking out other sources through the Internet before beginning a book.
7. How many hours a day do you write?
As a pastor and preacher, I write sermons and various articles for the church every day.
8. What are the ethics of writing about your book?
My book “Living for a Higher Purpose” is a Memoir. So, I use the chronology of my life, from the last days of the Viet Nam War to the first few years of my priesthood, as the framework for the book. I give readers facts and also share the emotions of the protagonist and other characters as I try to paint a picture of the events in the book.
9. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
One thing I would give up to become a better writer is to dedicate my entire week to writing instead of having to carry on a few part-time jobs at church and nursing homes to pay my bills and market my books.
10. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
The most difficult part of my artistic process is to have enough time to create spectacular work. But, now I have to juggle all my part-time jobs and writing at the same time. That can affect the artistic ability on my books.
11. Does your family support your career as a writer?
No, they do not. Because they do not know if it can help me pay all my bills as a real job does or not. So, I have tried to write in my free time while holding down all my part-time jobs.
12. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It all depends. I have written six books of various genres so far: memoir, devotional, self-help, and children. Like writing a song, if I have good inspiration, everything would flow easily and the detail plan for the book would pop right up. The whole process would take only a few months. Otherwise, it would take a bit longer.
13. What is your writing Kryptonite?
My writing Kryptonite happens when I stop having new ideas and being creative. Otherwise, ideas for my new books have not stopped coming out of me as I shared with you about various genres of my six books above.
14. What are common traps for aspiring writers?
One of my nieces shared with me how she attempted to write her first story, but for some reason ran out of steam after a few pages. My advice for her and all aspiring writers is to keep on writing and never give up. Success takes hard work and discipline. Also, the life of a writer can be lonely and secluded. One has to be alone and tied down for long hours to complete a book.
15. Do you think someone could be a writer if they do not feel emotions strongly?
That would be hard to do. As I shared above, writing is like composing a song or drawing a picture. If someone does not have an artistic soul, that person would have a tough time expressing it in a song or a book.
16. In totality, what’s the message of your book “Living for a Higher Purpose” and you as an author?
War could not bring happiness and security to the people but instead grabbed them of these things. The difficult situations Viet found himself in are relatable and parallel to the struggles of the modern-day readers. Anyone who has been through the toughest times of their lives can find comfort and security in reading this book. Viet’s story inspires readers to find their own higher purpose in life.