Sunday, February 12, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, CHRIS MCKENNA

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR OF "PARADIGMS", CHRIS MCKENNA

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Thank you so much Chris for allowing us this interview. I would love to know how you came up with the idea for your book "Paradigms."

Thanks for agreeing to do the interview.

The idea for Paradigms came when I was back home visiting Scotland for a while. I'd spent most the years before living and working in various parts of Asian and at that time had been reading a lot of Eastern philosophy and getting into meditation - basically becoming a borderline hippie (I probably should have grown up in the 70's). For me it was a way of merging my two lives together and kind of finding a way of taking some of those great Eastern ideas out of a context that a lot of people feel overwhelmed by (with all the gods and multi-armed purple statues and what not) and putting it into a setting that they might be more comfortable with.

If you had to explain why Buddhism seems to be on the rise with so many people, what would you say the reason is?

I think it's because Buddhism - at least the kind I'm talking about - is not really a religion. It more of a practical philosophy that relies on your own hard work and your own experience. Nothing is to be taken on faith. I think that's what a lot of people in the west find refreshing: that they have to work out their own salvation.

In addition, I think when many in the west talk of Buddhism what they are talking about is a practice by which they can enhance their spiritual life. In that regard I don't see it as incompatible with any other religion. I'm not speaking for all western Buddhists here, but in my own opinion, most religions are all pointing in the same direction and different paths are appropriate for different people (though I would say that meditation is beneficial for all no matter what path they follow). I think many people who have grown up surrounded by differnet cultures and religions feel the seem way. We look at the couple that live across that hall who are practically saints in all ways, but from that they don't follow the same religion as us, and can't help but think that them going to "the big fire" would be a bit harsh. And so in our modern secular society the religion that is not really a religion, appeals to many.

Tell us more about your time as an English language teacher in Asia.

Basically I'm a drop out and it could be the best choice I ever made. Teaching is fun, challenging and lets you get to meet, influence and learn from a whole bunch of different people from all over the world. I think we should make a rule that everyone in the world must live and work outside of their own country for at least a year of their lives. It would make it a much nicer place.

I noticed your quote, "I should be clear, I don't know anything," but I think that's not true. So tell us one piece of your best advice, perhaps something you learned at an early age?

No, it's true, I don't know anything! That's the greatest thing I've ever learned. And that would be my advice. Stop pretending that you have the slightest idea what is going on. Start accepting that you are lost. Only when you've done that can you really find out where and who you are.

Is fantasy your only genre that you've ever thought about writing in or do you think you'll write something different down the road?

I've done a few short stories in different styles, but really I would love to write a novel that is straight spiritual fiction without the fantasy in it. My problem is my two minds. One wants to write spiritual works, the other wants to write fantasy and so I end up doing both at the same time. But maybe in the future, when I'm ready, I'll be able to write that story.

Who are some of your inspirations as far as writers go?

Herman Hesse is by far my biggest influence and his is the very kind of spiritual fiction I would love to be able to write. His stories have always found me just at the right time in my life and so I see him as a sort of guardian angel figure. Likewise other spiritual stories such as Paulo Coelho's "Alchemist" I have found quite inspirational. However, I'm also a fan of many fantasy writers including Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Terry Brooks and George R R martin.

How old were you when you first decided that writing was your forte'?

To be honest I'm not too sure, but I remember a student teacher we had visiting praising me for a story that I had written in primary school. So I guess from then on I probably seen myself a bit of a writer and I remember starting - but never finishing - quite a few awful and probably plagiarized fantasy stories, in high school. My first really attempts at writing though didn't really start until I started teaching again. For one I had the time to start working on it, but also that leap from the comfortable well paid job gave me a bit more confidence in myself.

We would also like to know more about your English language teaching in Japan, are you still there right now?

Nope, I'm now in China and will most likely be moving to Indonesia again this summer. Japan was a nice place but in many ways I found it a bit too much like home. It seems I like living in developing countries without so many of the distractions and worries that come from living in the modern world. I've been in and out of China over the years and do find it one of the more interesting places to teach. I've also been learning the language which has always been something I've wanted to do as British people are famously bad at learning other languages.

When you have a chance to read is there a specific genre you are interested in more than another?

For fun I tend towards fantasy and Science fiction and I'm currently working my way through one of Robbin Hobbs books. However, I really do love stories that can touch on that deeper truth. It doesn't really matter the genre - it think it's possible in any - but I think those book are rare. However, when you find them they stay with you the rest of your life.

Do you have any advice you'd like to share with other authors, also please share your links with us for your book.

Write what you want in the way you want to write it.

It's very easy to get caught up in all the rules of writing and what the industry is looking for now - just let it go and do your own thing. Otherwise you are writing their book and not your own.


DON'T FORGET TO ENTER THE CONTEST FOR (3) PAPERBACK COPIES & (3) E-BOOK COPIES OF CHRIS MCKENNA'S BOOK "PARADIGMS" AT:http://www.greatmindsliterarycommunity.com/#/contest-form/4555669435

If you interested in finding out about "Paradigms" you can try some of the links below:

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Paradigms-ebook/dp/B004HW7IIE
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paradigms-ebook/dp/B004HW7IIE/

Publisher:
http://www.gypsyshadow.com/ChrisMcKenna.html

The Truth about Faeries - Free Ebook:
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/59974

Podcast Interview:
http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/episode_051.php


Read more:http://www.greatmindsthinkaloud.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=interviews&thread=1096#ixzz1mC4Zra1i

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