Thursday, October 20, 2016
An Interview with Best-Selling Author Camron Wright
Best-Selling Author of The Orphan Keeper
1. What inspired you to write The Orphan Keeper?
I was out with a friend, Dave Pliler, who is a screenwriter, and when you put two writers together, the conversation will always steer toward story. He began telling me about an acquaintance, Taj Rowland, who had been kidnapped as a child in India. We were actually at a basketball game and as he relayed Taj’s story, I was soon turned sideways in my seat, wide eyed, completely ignoring the game and crowd. This happened about the time that promotion for my book The Rent Collector was winding down, and so Dave and I arranged to meet with Taj several days later. About ten minutes into that first meeting, I knew I’d stumbled into one of those rare and amazing stories that writer’s dream about, and I feel privileged for having had the opportunity to write and share the experiences from Taj’s life.
2. Can you tell me a little bit about the book?
As I mentioned, The Orphan Keeper is based on a true story. It’s about a young boy in India who is kidnapped, carried three hours away and sold to an orphanage. The orphanage owner sends him to the United States, where he’s adopted by an unsuspecting couple who believes he’s an orphan. By the time the boy learns enough English to tell his new parents that he already has a mother and father back in India, it’s too late. His American parents are horrified, of course, and attempt to find his Indian family, but all avenues lead to dead ends. So the boy grows up as the only Indian in a predominantly white community with no expectation of ever seeing his distant family again. As a teenager, however, coincidences begin to occur in the boy’s life that prove fate has other plans. In short, The Orphan Keeper is a story about discovery, persistence, connecting with our past, and making sense of our place in the world.
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish The Orphan Keeper?
I’ve always remembered a line from the Author’s Note in Yann Martel’s book, The Life of Pi. Martel is relating his meeting with Francis Adirubasamy, an old man in an Indian café who confidently tells him, “I have a story that will make you believe in God!”
While The Orphan Keeper isn’t a religious book, I hope it’s a story that gives every reader a greater sense of purpose. It only reasons, after all, that if providence cares so much about a scruffy seven-year-old boy from India, it must also care about the rest of us.
4. What advice do you have for writers?
I tell everyone hoping to write a book that I’m living proof, “If Camron can do it, anybody can do it!” My background is in business, not English. (In fact, English teachers scare me.) That said, don’t expect the path to be easy. It’s a process that takes crazy amounts of patience and persistence. I find many writers like the idea of writing a book, of going through the motions, but because of laziness—or more likely fear—they won’t pay the required price, exposing their heart and soul, their strengths and weaknesses, which is what it takes to create their best work.
5. Where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
Over the last several years I’ve watched my eBook sales rise noticeably. I expect the trend to continue. Will it mean the end to physical books that we get to cradle lovingly in our fingers? I doubt it—at least not in my lifetime.
I see the shift to electronic media as one that empowers writers—creating an easier path to publishing—but one that also hurts them. With everyone able to “publish” electronically, it means the market gets flooded with mediocrity. More writers are published, but fewer find financial success. The bottom line is that on both the writing and publishing sides of the equation, parties need to deliver stories that make a greater difference, that touch us in more personal ways. Average will no longer cut it.
The good news for all is that there will always be storytellers. As people, we inherently love to gather around the metaphorical fire and hear the words, “Once upon a time…”
6. What challenges did you have in writing your book?
Putting the right words together. I’m being a little facetious, but the struggle is always to craft sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters that flow, that capture the heart of the story and convey emotion to the reader in a way that keeps fingers turning pages. I want to make readers late for meetings. I want them to miss church because they decide to read just one more chapter. I want to take them out of their world and put them so squarely into the middle of the story, they forget about their cares and concerns. That’s my goal. And when they do return to their own reality, I hope I’ve given them something to take with them, to help with their own journey. Getting even close to achieving that desire is always the challenge. It’s what makes the craft of writing so fascinating and yet so amazingly frustrating.
7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
This feels oddly like a job interview question. Here we go:
If you normally read non-fiction, you’ll love The Orphan Keeper, since it narrates Taj’s real-life story so closely—and what an amazing story it is!
If you’re into fiction, it’s also perfect, since the book reads a bit like a mystery, capturing your attention and keeping you enthralled well into the night.
If you prefer cookbooks, no problem! While there are no recipes in The Orphan Keeper, I promise the descriptions of Indian food will have you sending out for Chicken Tikka Masala—for lunch and dinner.
If you adore stories about other cultures, bingo! There are enough interesting American, Indian and Hindu facts within its pages to have you chatting at the water cooler for days.
If you love books about romance, you’ll swoon at the way Taj lassoes Priya (in a purely figurative manner), in a story that reads like the best of Romantic Comedy Week on late-night TV.
If you like books about Klingons, gorgons and the planet Starth, … well … you should seriously broaden your reading tastes and instead give The Orphan Keeper a try. You won’t be sorry!
Lastly, and on a more serious note, reading this book will not only give you a greater appreciation for your own life, but it will also make you smarter, thinner and more attractive—I guarantee it!
The Orphan Keeper [Shadow Mountain Publishing] is available via Amazon and through other major and independent booksellers nationwide. Learn more about Taj’s story at http://theorphankeeper.com.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.
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