Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and third, is of thriller novelist and guest blogger V.M. Gopaul. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
V. M. Gopaul was born, and grew up, in Mauritius – a small tropical island in the Indian Ocean. In high school his favourite subjects were mathematics and physics, which he excelled at. While he pursued an interest in English Literature, he had to work this course in on top of his already full timetable. Even if his test scores only managed a passing grade, the influence of Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy, and Woodworth inspired in him a growing fascination of characters and plot development. At this time he decided to one day write his own novel.
In 1969 he gained a Commonwealth scholarship to study engineering in Pakistan. During his adolescence his family struggled financially and this scholarship was his only ticket to leave Mauritius and discover the world.
In 1971 his adventures brought him to Canada where he pursued a career in electronics and later in software. He set aside his desire to write a novel, but never forgot it.
In 1979, after obtaining a degree in computer science from York University, Toronto, Gopaul pursued a career in Information Technology at a time when it was beginning to flourish. Yet, his desire to become a writer continued to build tension within him. However, pursuing both writing and computer technology would have been like riding two horses at once. It seemed a risky proposition. So, he worked as a consultant at multiple international companies including IBM, Xerox, Merrill Lynch, and Royal Bank of Canada. During this time he wrote seven books for IT professionals and then two books on spirituality.
In 1981 Gopaul jumped into the rental business with both feet, beginning with one income property subdivided for several rental spaces. He learned hard and fast how his innate trust and genuine shyness could work against him in such a position. Still, it was an experience that helped shape who he is today and allowed him to learn so much more about the man he was and the man he aspired to be.
In 2008, after retiring, Gopaul began a new career as a fiction writer. Eager to begin this lifelong dream, he opted for a writing coach rather than wade through three more years of University to obtain a BA in Creative Writing. After finishing his book “Tainted Justice,” besides learning writing skills, he had discovered a new passion. Now, he loves to create dynamic plots and characters while building tension and drama. This is an art that takes him into a magical world of creativity where idea are endless. He published “Tainted Justice” in January of 2012 and is currently planning to write three more thrillers.
And now from the author himself:
When I first held that brown package, I knew what was inside. My impulse was to rip it open like a five-year-old tearing the wrapping paper off of a much anticipated birthday present. But I could not. Instead I slid the tape off the flap; and there it was. My dream book. It was beautiful. The cover was shiny. The gold on the title highlighted the richness and meaning behind the image of a lady holding a distorted scale above. It’s real. The feeling of relief, satisfaction and pride filled inside me. An awesome moment– the kind a mother would experience when holding a newborn after a long, hard labour.
I waited for this moment for over 40 years; this was more than just getting a book published, since I have previously written and published nine. This one was very special. It was a dream come true. I’ll tell you how it all started.
In high school I took English literature and part of the course involved studying poetry, a Shakespeare play and a piece of fiction. After finishing the course I had an inner desire to write a novel, but I was not particularly fluent in the English language, nor was I experienced with literature. In fact, I barely passed either subject in high school. Back then I knew being a writer was not a career choice for me. I excelled in mathematics and physics, and I was set on a career in electronics or in software, so my impulse to write a novel was put aside.
Decades later, the longing to write fiction was still burning inside of me, and yet I also realized that I was not yet particularly attracted to writing or literature beyond that early introduction. Writing a work of fiction normally takes many years of skill development – many years I did not want to wait.
So, in 2008 I took a short cut. I hired a coach and editor to teach me how to write Tainted Justice from beginning to end. And it was all done through the modern wonder of the Internet, without any need for face-to-face contact. After finishing this book, in addition to learning the necessary writing skills to be a successful fiction author, I had discovered and latched on to this new passion like a vice.
The next step was to publish my book through the traditional route; by finding an agent and a publisher. I was looking to take this route for two reasons. First, from previous experience—I was aware that self-publishing consumes a lot of time and capital. With the taste for a new passion, all I wanted to do was write. The second reason was because of the stigma associated with self-publishing, which turned me away from exploring it further—at first. Over many months, I fired query letters to nearly sixty agents and out of them all, I received only a few responses requesting for two chapters of the manuscript.
In the meantime, I researched the self-publishing industry. Through a blogger and agent named Nathan Bransford, I discovered two things: the upheaval the self-publishing industry was experiencing, as well as the emergence of the eBook. Kindle, Nook and Kobo were new frontiers for readers. These technologies were pushing sales higher. Just like the music industry, book publication was going through a revolution, giving the independent publishers a fighting chance. I also learned another secret: when it comes to putting books in the hands of readers, it requires a major marketing campaign and big-name publishers that have little or no market budget for a newbie—all funding is reserved for already established writers. I was on my own no matter what.
Another source of valuable information came from free webinars. One online course really opened my eyes to a new vision—why not consider writing as a business?
Once convinced about taking a new direction, I quickly looked to self-publish Tainted Justice. I went with Fastpencil, a do-it-yourself publisher with a print-on-demand approach for paperback. Within weeks of holding the first copy, the electronic version was available in Kindle, Nook (Barnes and Noble), Kobo and Apple’s iBookstore. It was as easy as opening an account in each of these distribution outlets and uploading the book. Other than time, it cost me nothing.
Now that the book is out there, the steps of letting the world know about my book have started in earnest. My website is up and running, I gave local paper and TV program interviews, and had a book launch party. Of course, no writer can avoid the social media. Facebook pages for Tainted Justice and a Twitter account are ready. To some it may sound like a lot of hard work, but in the business of writing one has to build a readership through many different avenues. Fortunately, in doing so, I am having a lot of fun.
You can find more about V.M. and his writing via…
- WEBSITE: http://vmgopaul.com
- FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/VMGOPAUL/323985801010938?fref=ts
- YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=VMGOPAUL&oq=VMGOPAUL&gs_l=youtube.3…3244.6973.0.7322.214.171.124.0.0.0.110.689.5j3.8.0…0.0…1ac.1.DgA3fYmS018
- LINKEDIN: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=52620021&authType=name&authToken=O6yK&goback=
- Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Tainted-Justice-ebook/dp/B006L68EVO
- Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/tainted-justice?keyword=tainted+justice&store=allproducts
- KOBO: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Tainted-Justice/book-RuCJovwP3kGFT65785Aykw/page1.html
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As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.