Welcome to my very first author Q&A! I am very honoured to have Wesley Leon Aroozoo as my very first author to be interviewed on this platform. He is the author of I Want To Go Home, a story of his journey in meeting Mr. Takamatsu, whom lost his wife during the great tsunami that hit Onagawa in 2011. It was a moving, heart wrenching tale with some insight from the author’s perspective. You can read my review by clicking the book cover below.
Without further ado, let’s get into the interview!
- When did you decide to be an author and how did you manage writing with your daily routine or job?
Generally, I enjoy creating things regardless of its medium. I came to enjoy writing when I was in secondary school in Singapore. Writing essays and poems were something that I felt I could express myself with. But I did tend to write a little off the mainstream type of writing style. During my O’Levels I had a D7 for my English Language (when I would usually score an A) and many assumed that it was because I wrote off-point for my essay. I’m not sure of the reason, but it took a while to get back into writing. In my late teenage life, I started dabbling with script writing and from there it went to play writing, and now back to writing in the medium of books. At this point I find writing to be a great challenge and mainly this is why I write. I like to take on projects that I am clueless about and have a chance of failing at doing so.
Managing writing with my daily job as a lecturer-in-charge at LASALLE College of the Arts is tricky but not impossible. It’s a challenge I still struggle with but thankfully LASALLE and my wife are supportive of my creative endeavors, so it’s not as painful as it could have been.
- Where did the inspiration to write I Want To Go Home come from?
The inspiration behind wanting to write I Want To Go Home, is my hope to inspire people with Mr. Takamatsu’s amazing story. To tell the readers that when nobody believes in you, don’t give up, keep pushing on. I want the book to inspire people, just as how he inspires me.
- How long did it take to gather information for this book?
It took a year of communication over email with the help of Miki Hawkinson, the translator who would translate our email letters from Japanese to English and vice versa. After that, we met Mr. Takamatsu in Onagawa for a week to spend time with him.
Aside from this, there was also time needed to gather research about the 3/11 tsunami, Japan, radiation and many other issues that I wanted to address in I Want To Go Home.
- There are many ways to lay out the story of Mr. Takamatsu and his wife, how did you end up choosing to write it from your perspective?
I felt that my perspective would be a comfortable starting point for a reader to learn about Mr. Takamatsu’s life. I felt the questions I would have might be similar to the question a reader would have when meeting Mr. Takamatsu. Overall, I felt it was an interesting way to write about Mr. Takamatsu.
- How did the experience of coming out with I Want To Go Home change your life or maybe your views on certain issues?
It taught me to not give up, regardless of the odds or what people say. It taught me to be brave. Mr. Takamatsu learnt how to scuba dive in his mid-fifties to find for his wife. I find this inspiring. Mr. Takamatsu taught me to appreciate our loved ones, what we have in life and to push on for what we believe in. He and the project had a big impact on my life.
- If you could use three words to describe this book, what would they be?
Observing, Searching and Waiting.
- What do you hope to achieve by writing this book?
My hope is to be able to inspire people and so far that is possible in Singapore, since the book is available here. But, my hope with the 2nd edition that will be out in January 2019, is to reach out to readers in Japan and other parts of the world. I feel it’s important to share with Japanese readers, Mr. Takamatsu’s story. But, sadly it has been difficult to have the book available in Japan. Hopefully, the book will have this opportunity one day.
8. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers or whoever wish to be an author one day?
I would say discipline is important when it comes to writing. Find a time to schedule your writing timings, so that you can sit down and write. And most importantly, don’t give up.
The second edition of I Want To Go Home will be out in January 2019. The new cover will be in a different colour as well! If you are interested in getting a copy of the first edition, you may visit this link: https://www.booksactuallyshop.com/collections/math-paper-press/products/i-want-to-go-home
About The Author
Wesley is a lecturer from LASALLE College of the Arts. He is a graduate with a Master of Fine Arts from New York University Tisch Asia and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from Nanyang Technological University.
Wesley is also a filmmaker with 13 Little Pictures, whose films have premiered in festivals such as the Busan International Film Festival and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. He has programmed films for the VIDEOvoiddeckseries at The Substation and various art organisations.
On the literary front, Wesley is a published author of I Want To Go Home(Math Paper Press, 2017) and Bedok Reservoir (Math Paper Press, 2012). Wesley has also written television scripts for Mediacorp and staged plays for local theatre companies.
He shares his home with his wife and Sembene, a Russian Blue cat. He is also an avid collector of retro video games.