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Author Interview - Deni Y. Bechard
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Author Interview - Deni Y. Bechard

Post by: Kabita Sonowal


BookChums Interviews Canadian Writer, Deni Y. Bechard - Cures for Hunger, Vandal Love and Empty Hands, Open Arms 

This week, BookChums interviewed Canadian writer, Deni Y. Bechard. His book, titled Vandal Love was the winner of the 2007 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book. His other books include Cures for Hunger and Empty Hands, Open Arms - his latest book to be published. In this interview with us, he discussed Empty Hands, Open Arms, his inspiration behind writing it, the challenges he faced while working on it, his future novel and his suggestions to aspiring authors.
Q1. First of all, congratulations on Empty Hands, Open Arms. How long has it taken for 
you to write this book?
Empty Hands, Open Arms took a little less than two years of steady writing, often 14 hours a day, though I researched the book for about a year and a half before I started. The subject was urgent and timely, so I pushed myself to write the book as quickly as I could without compromising the quality. 
Q2.  How did the idea to write this book emerge?
When I finished my previous book, a memoir entitled Cures for Hunger, I wanted to write about environmental and conservation issues. I had been reading numerous books and articles on the environment, and I was struck by how dismal their projections were. I craved reading stories that would offer possible solutions or more information about positive approaches to conservation. When I learned about the Bonobo Conservation Initiative, I was struck by how much we all have to learn from their approach. 
Q3.  What are the challenges that you faced while writing this book?
Getting to the Congo and financing the travels and research for the book were fairly challenging. There was a great deal to learn about both conservation and the Congo. The Congo has a complex history, and I had to learn a great deal from the people there (as well as from books) so that I could understand the context for conservation there. 
Q4.  What do we read from you next?
I am working on a novel that takes place in Afghanistan, based loosely on the period of the “civilian surge.”
Q5.  What would you suggest to aspiring writers?
Do everything possible to get to know the places and people you are writing about. I am always surprised by how much I don’t know and couldn’t imagine about a situation. I suggest speaking to everyone possible related to a subject of interest. Learn to listen, to let people speak even when it seems irrelevant to what you’re looking for. It’s often surprising how disparate pieces of information come together and how you can begin to see a situation from a very different point of view.
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