Friday, October 13, 2017

Missouri Writer @WilliamReyland #amreading

Writer, William Reyland is joining me today.  William is the author of Sons of Isan, Taking Refuge in a Thai Temple.

He is a former Buddhist monk, and also a full time professional musician, and photographer. While living abroad he worked as a ACE and contributing writer for various publications, such as Gwangju News International Magazine, S. Korea, and EXPAT Magazine, Taiwan. His best work compels one to consider their humanness and the beauty of living a full and purposeful life.

So William, what have you written?

Sons of Isan, Taking Refuge in a Thai Temple, is my first book. It is a true story of my experience while living a rural Thai Buddhist temple. After raising my son as a single parent on a musician's income, I basically had two choices. I could continue onward with the status quo, which was actually quite fine, or I could clear the decks to roam freely into the unknown.

I choose the latter, trading my possessions, my comfort, and my western tinged and conditioned view of the world, for the robes of a monk, to live in a dusty Buddhist temple in Northeastern Thailand. Amid the warm and at times mysterious smiles of the Thai people, scary temple bathrooms and the equally mysterious rural Thai diet of two meals a day, which filled my alms bowl each morning, I eventually began to uncover certain truths, as well as the many falsehoods that had informed my life, and despite the stupefying heat, feral temple dogs, and one bout of dysentery, I found tremendous joy and some indication of my true self.

I'm tremendously interested in your book and your experience living as an American with Thai monks. In Minneapolis, we have a large Tibetan Buddhist community. I have had the privilege of working among these people and I'm sure they would be interested in your novel as well.

Many of my readers have commented that “Sons” is a brutally honest, humorous, and vivid account of a spiritual struggle and cultural immersion, and while this is certainly true to a great extent, the story continues to unfold, and even though my eyebrows have grown back and my robes have been replaced with blue jeans and Birkenstocks,  those days remain steadfast in my heart, and even if it is the only book I ever write, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to share it with others.  

Wow! Living as a monk must have been hard. Some of your experiences may be similar to those of Nikolai Grozni, a Boston Jazz prodigy who abandoned 15 years of music study to seek out the Dalia Lama's university in India and eventually learn many concepts of monkhood.

What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Good question. As I strive to promote Sons Of Isan, I am sometimes filed with anxiety over not having enough reviews or ones that may or may not pull any actual weight with my audience. In either case, consider the source carefully. I am fortunate to have some favorable reviews from both professional editorial sources, as well from my readers. That said, I've had a few tankers as well. In the case of a negative review, I try and set aside my ego in favor of using that negative criticism as an opportunity to improve and grow as a writer.

Can you describe one of the best writing compliments you received?

I attempt to create a vivid and stirring experience for my readers that is both moving, and informative. When a reviewer or one of my readers experiences my writing in light of these factors, I consider it a major success.

Where do you see the future of social media and publishing in ten years?

This is a tough question and I think it depends in large part on technology. With the advent of self publishing and our ever changing social media habits, it is becoming increasingly difficult for writers to find traction, and exposure in a market saturated by millions of other competing titles. In terms of social media, where we must exist, the challenge to be seen and read is a daunting task. Based on these factors, I think it will continue to be very difficult to find success. The best solution, no matter the genre, is to only put forth your best work, and stay on top of marketing trends and techniques.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing?

I've probably read a million pages of advice on, “How to write the perfect book.” I've narrowed it down to three main points that are fairly simple to follow.  

1.) Find your voice.
2.) Understand your readers.
3.) Draft, draft, draft.

What motivates you to write?

I'm motivated when a topic or storyline speaks to me on a personal level. The difficult and crucially important part is turning that into something that speaks to you.

More about William can be found at the links below.

That's all the time we have today folks.  Readers if you have any comments please list them below.

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