Interview with Paul O’Garra, author of Malak Desert Child
08 Apr 2019
What can you tell us about your new release, Malak Desert Child?
Malak desert Child is a story of North Africa. The main protagonist is a small girl with lots of courage. Poverty and a criminal parent can break the spirit of some children or bring out the strength in others. Malak is a prodigy in her own way, and her faith has much to do with it. Her destiny and origins are mysteries entwined in the recent and ancient history of the North of Africa and the Sahara Desert. The Algerian war of independence and subsequent civil war also play an important part in the unwinding of the tale. The book is written to interest and excite, wonderful personalities and places people its pages, and unexpected happenings , such as a high speed race at sea and through the Straits Of Gibraltar, grip your imagination.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I´ve always read books since childhood, and often scribbled. I never kept anything till my youngest daughter one day exclaimed” Papa, don´t throw anything away , keep everything.” That, and having recovered from a bad illness, I went to study film-making, a lifetime ambition. I found I was good at writing scripts and it somehow got waylaid and Eureka! My first book appeared as of it´s own volition.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
Absalom Absalom, I love William Faulkner. The God Of Small Things. Miss Smillas feeling for snow..Tender is the night,Scott Fitzgerald..Hemingway 49 short stories. Actually I could go on and on I have so many top books.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
William Faulkner undoubtedly, it would be fascinating just asking him a few leading and warm friendly questions to inspire him to talk, to open up, as to who he was and how he thought and felt. One does glean lots from his many books, but there would be much more to learn from a chat.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love everything about writing. I suppose it´s common to all authors, that we actually become a part of the stories we are writing. I particularly like when the book starts writing itself, and when I read my previous night´s work, don´t recognize it as being my own, a bit like the story of the old cobbler and the elves.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day would be: getting up at eight ,30 minutes stretching, bath, medicines and ready for the world. I would have breakfast in a bread shop cum café downstairs, hot coffee and a huge well toasted slice of country bread with garlic and fresh tomato rubbed in and doused with olive oil. I would then walk around town, to the bank, shops, everywhere. Midday up to my country house to water or whatever needs doing, play with Mr Harry, the dog. Lunch at a vegan restaurant. In the afternoon, back in my town flat, after a short siesta I would write, edit, and work generally until evening when a long walk to the next town would be on the agenda. I would visit my good friend Mr Rashid and we would watch the sea and talk and laugh about everything and greet friends arriving at the restaurant.
What scene in Malak Desert Child was your favorite to write?
There are various, however the favorite would be when the family are first led into the Bedouin tent where the Caliph reclines surrounded by his warriors, and meets Malak.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Not really, I just try to be a good person in an active way, to be humble and always work towards strengthening my faith in God.
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