Today we talk about Letters to a Friend, a book by David Arumainayagam published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author David Arumainayagam to get to know him better, when he decided to write his personal story in his book Letters to a Friend, as well as the sensation he felt by reading his life on the pages of his book.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- When did you decide to write your personal story?
I think that the shock of being diagnosed with cancer made me think about my life and what I had created by way of a legacy, beyond that of my two wonderful children. That, coupled with falling madly in love with someone so unexpectedly, caused me to feel the need to capture my thoughts on paper. When I sought counselling after separation and diagnosis and was asked to write about some of my vivid dreams, I had inadvertently created the barebones of my story. I had made some sketchy notes during those bleak days of lying disconsolately on my hospital bed recovering from major surgery, but never really did much with them at that point. It was during the days of Covid lockdown that I realised I needed to do something more productive than watch Netflix endlessly. I began pulling together the various notes and thoughts to form a story of sorts. I guess that despite my circumstances at that point, my stars were in better alignment to lay the foundations for this story to be realised. I had always enjoyed writing, but never really created the opportunity previously to do so in great earnest. I only dabbled at various times writing humorous articles for magazines for the Gun Club I belonged to, and also that for a lunch grouping of my men friends. It certainly never dawned on me to write a book! A short story perhaps, but not a book! And yet here we are!
- What particularly significant experiences in your life find expression in your book?
It’s primarily one of love. It really began as project to uncover what it was that I experienced by falling in love unexpectedly after a long marriage. I have a very analytical mind with a need to understand my emotions on a more rational basis. I have also been told several times not to overthink as I am generally inclined to do, so the exercise of putting pen to paper allowed some coherent marshalling of thoughts. I began, therefore, to write about my previous instances of love to determine what really made my heart tick. In doing so, other emotional experiences arose. Some pleasant and joyful and others of great sadness and pain, but therapeutic, nevertheless. I think that divorce matters were still raw at this point, which is why I didn’t elaborate other than mention it as one of my causes of distress. I also felt that although that negative aspect prevailed in my life, I wanted to express gratitude for the two wonderful treasures I derived from the marriage – my daughters! The cancer diagnosis was also a difficult subject to discuss emotionally so I limited it to one of speaking of its acceptance and the acknowledgement of my life being very finite. The focus then became one of making the book a tale of love. Speaking of my belief that love could be the panacea for all ills. Certainly emotional ones!
- What would you like to hear from your readers?
Haha, as many positive responses as I could reasonably garner without resorting to coercion, I think! Seriously though, I just hope that they enjoy my story and hopefully relate to some of the many instances and experiences I have mentioned. Thankfully some of my friends who have read various chapters at various times have enjoyed the recollection of my life’s poignant moments. My daughters appear to have enjoyed the recounting of my schoolboy experiences, for example. I have tried my best to capture the sentiments felt at those times and hope that they conveyed the sense of circumstance that I faced. There are so many clever authors who have the ability transport one into a visual experience of landscape and emotional setting. I have tried my best to convey that in my words and hope it works similarly well! Most importantly I hope that the readers will enjoy the journey of my life through all its peaks and troughs and feel as I do that love could conquer all, and that laughter is such a wonderful restorative tonic. Even though not all the situations were joyful, or successful, it was nice to be able to look back and laugh at what life threw my way. I hope that they will feel the same.
- What sensations did you feel by ‘reading’ your life on the pages of your book?
Lots – love, joy, pain, sadness, fear, concern, laughter, they were all there. I believe that I mentioned a rollercoaster of emotions in my prologue. I hope that my readers will glean similarly from my tale. I had not originally intended for this work to be published, so it really was founded on the sentiments I wanted to convey to family or interested friends. I guess, therefore, that this book is written with words from my heart rather than from my head. In executing this tale, I felt everything from hurt to ecstasy. I suppose that it was necessary for me to feel those emotions in order to convey those senses in as sincere a manner as possible to anyone who cared to read my story. Beyond the sadness of divorce, and fear of cancer, the anxiety I felt when I was at a financial low point was almost unbearably overwhelming. I was grateful for the generosity of family and friends during this time. It taught me to value personal relationships over materiality. My pet dogs were such a wonderful source of comfort too. Losing one of them was therefore devastating. I must admit that I am rather nervous about going ‘public’ with my story, as I am generally a very private person, with no wish to discuss my life with complete strangers. I think I am genuinely anxious about its reception despite my recently telling all and sundry, including my followers on Instagram, about its publication. We shall see.
- Are you planning to write more books?
Yes. As a matter of fact, I have already started on three further books. One is a follow up on the first, in the hope that readers would have enjoyed the first one and developed some appetite for a second. It is written in very much the same vein as the first i.e. as a series of letters to Geoff, who incidentally is real. The focus though is not so much about love but my view on various aspects from home renovations through to online dating. I decided also to include a travel journal of sorts to relate tales of my experiences in various cities and the wonderful people I met along the way. Another of my books is actually as a ghost writer for a friend. He has many interesting tales to tell of his time as a jewellery store owner. He appears to enjoy my way of story telling and has engaged my services for a fee! How wonderful it would be to be paid! The third book is also at some stage of preparation and speaks of love. I must admit it is a subject that fascinates me. Despite having experienced it on many occasions I am yet to truly understand it. Perhaps some feedback from my readers would help!
Europe Books thanks the author David Arumainayagam once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside him on the editorial path that led to the publication of his book Letters to a Friend. We wish him the best of luck for his book and for his future works.
To you, my dear reader, I wish this book may you connect with the author’s feelings and emotions through the reading of his joyful and less joyful life experiences; that those author’s experiences may equally allow you to reconcile with yours, reliving the journey of your life and reflecting on how to continue living day after day, making it worthy and getting the best of out of it.
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy your reading!