PH: Hello and welcome to my blog. I'm interested in learning more about you and your work.
|Augustine's first published book|
AS: Well, thank you for having me. My name is Augustine Sam; I am an Italian citizen of African descent. I’m a journalist by profession, a novelist by choice, and as I love to say, a poet by chance. I am a member of the U.K. Chartered Institute of Journalists, formerly special desk editor at ThisDay newspapers, an authoritative third world daily, first published in collaboration with the Financial Times of London. I am the author of Take Back the Memory, a contemporary women’s fiction, recently awarded a 5-star seal by Readers’ Favorite. My poems have been published in two international anthologies: The Sounds of Silence and Measures of the Heart. One of those poems, Anguish & Passion, was adjudged winner of the Editors’ Choice Award in the 1998 North America Open Poetry contest, sponsored by the National Library of Poetry, USA. And on Valentine’s Day this year, my complete collection of poems, Flashes of Emotion, was released.
PH: What do you like most about writing?
AS: What I like most about writing is the opportunity to communicate with people everywhere (which is a big deal for someone who is as introverted as I am), and of course, the freedom to express my thoughts by way of prose or poetry. The truth is, the only time in my life that I really feel alive is when I am writing.
PH: What sorts of things do you like reading?
AS: Actually I like reading all kinds of things, sometimes including even things that put me off.
PH: What's your favorite book?
AS: I have more than one favorite book. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, for example, is one. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, is another, and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, to mention just three.
|Augustine Sam in Italy|
AS: I had a passion for writing when I was a kid. I remember that while some of my friends kept toys I kept piles of notebooks where I wrote short stories that I invented mainly for the pleasure of my two sisters who, by the way, were my first real fans and readers. Back then, we used to sit by the radio every Thursday evening and listen to the radio theater, which was very entertaining. One day, I told my sisters that I wanted to write a play for the radio. Mercifully, they didn’t dismiss it as an untenable dream. So, I converted one of my short stories into a play and took it to the radio station. The producer of the radio theater, who was used to receiving scripts from Theater Arts students and lecturers from the local university, tried her best to be polite, took the script from me and sent me home.
A week later, I went back to see her, half-expecting to be politely dismissed. I was pleasantly surprised when she told me that she had actually read and enjoyed the script and then scolded me for giving her a script with no phone number or a forwarding address attached. The next Thursday evening, when we sat by the radio and heard the words: “The Breaking Point, a play for radio, written by Augustine Sam,” my sisters and I just looked at one another and started screaming.
I think what inspired me to write was my first literature textbook in school, which coincidentally, was a novel set in the port city where I grew up. It was the story of a one-eyed, shabby, old man, who spent his days at the harbor contriving different kinds of mischief that enthralled the local population. I had seen him at the harbor a few times when I was a kid. So, reading about him in the literature textbook, triggered my fascination with storytelling and gave me a whole new insight into how the written word can actually capture reality.
PH: What was the scariest thing about publishing your first book?
AS: I suppose the scariest thing was being told that “I had no name,” which in some ways, also explained the constant rejection, to the extent that what eventually became my ‘first published book’ was actually the last one I wrote.
PH: If you could say one thing to a fledgling writer, what would you say?
AS: Invent your style. Listen to everything but take only what is useful to you. Aim at the sky so you might hit the tallest tree.
PH: Do you like to do anything unique to get in the mood to write?
AS: Not really. I just light my pipe and listen to news bulletin on the radio and I’m good to go.
PH: Where can readers go to learn more about you and your work? (social media, buying links, etc.)
|Augustine's newest release|
Twitter handle: @austin_sam001
Facebook Page: http://goo.gl/W7W1Ta
Book trailer: http://goo.gl/2kt6td
Barnes & Noble: http://goo.gl/N6WXJ4
Google Play: http://goo.gl/qZaJsR