AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Carol Chu Mei Yin

Meet Carol Chu, a poet and a high school teacher who recently published her debut book, The World is a Dark and Lovely Place. Carol is currently holding an international giveaway on her Instagram for a copy of this book! Do enter as it is definitely worth a read!

If you are residing in Selangor, Malaysia, Carol will be attending #MYWritersFest2019 on the 16th of September in Intermark Mall. There will be another 9 authors who will be launching their books alongside Carol! You are also able to purchase a copy of The World is a Dark and Lovely Place during the event.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carol Chu is a high school teacher teaching English in the southern state of Johor, Malaysia which is very near to the island country of Singapore. During her free time, she reads and writes poetry. She is a self-confessed coffee addict who loves rainy days. Sometimes, she does reviews for books, crochets (obsessively) and plays the piano.

For more of her adventures, you can follow her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/carol_meiyin (writer account) or at www.instagram.com/cmyreads (reader account)


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ABOUT THE BOOK

The World Is A Dark And Lovely Place is a poetry book that describes nature, the fear of drowning, friendship, love and loss in a world that is at times dark but beautiful. My writings here are somewhat influenced by the classic style of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost; but the words, the mood and the settings are entirely my own.

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Read my review of it here


INTERVIEW

1. With your book launch coming up very soon, how would you introduce ‘The World is a Dark and Lovely Place’ to the public?

I wanted to write poems that are full of innocence, wonder and beauty. Initially, my writing was about the beauty of nature, then it became the beauty of friendship, love, loss, regret, and pain. If I was to introduce my book as a whole to the public, I would say this is a poetry book that tries utmost to capture beauty in a world that is lovely and yet dark, in that although the world and us as its people are not perfect but yet life on this Earth is beautiful. In essence, this book is about life and the belief that there is God who made all the beauty that surrounds us.

2. What is the inspiration behind ‘The World is a Dark and Lovely Place’ and how did you come up with that title?

My inspiration definitely comes from Robert Frost’s poem Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. The last four lines of his poems intrigued me and so I’ve wanted to write a book based on the feelings I felt invoked in those four lines,

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

I came to this book title of mine ‘The World Is A Dark And Lovely Place’ because I was truly inspired by this poem.

3. How did you choose which poems to include?

Basically, I included all my poems I’ve ever written complete, except I did not include my many incomplete bobs and pieces of scraps of poems (countless many, but all those are incomplete) and also 1 complete poem about friendship which I somehow lost. If I ever find it again, I’d see whether I’d include it in my next poetry collection. (Hopefully!)

4. As I read your poetry collection, I kept a list of my favourite poems and the list kept getting longer as I read your work! Do you have a favourite poem? Or is there one that you wanted to include but it didn’t fit the theme?

Awwws, THANK YOU for liking my poems. That means A LOT to me. I have many poems which are favourites of mine so it’s hard to choose. But if I had to choose, I’d say ‘The Old Oak Tree’ because this poem is my very first poem and what started me in poetry writing. I included all poems except many scraps and bits which are not completed as a whole poem, and I lost 1 poem somewhere, hnmmmmmm I got to try to search for it.

5. What was the hardest part of the process of publishing your book?

The hardest part is actually writing the poems, publishing is easy if you have a good publisher. Also, it’s hard waiting for results because I get over-excited and too eager so I pity my publisher sometimes. Nickey Teoh from TheInspiration Hub is a super nice person. I can never find anyone as patient as him. He explained about the publishing process and never once complained when I asked him too many questions. If you want to self-publish, it’s good to consider TheInspiration Hub as your go-to publisher because they deliver on their promises and are entirely honest about the publishing process and what needs to be done on the author’s part.

6. As a teacher by day, how did you find time to write poetry?

Writing poetry, reading books and crocheting are something I do as a passion so there’s definitely time for these 3 activities. Although I agree it’s hard to find time as I’m a teacher and teaching English to PT3 exam classes but I find joy when I’m doing these 3 hobbies of mine, because then I’d be too deeply engrossed i.e. in poetry writing to realise the world around me and in that state I find myself relaxing and in the ‘flow’ as my mind is in a completely deeper engaged level and that brings me immense satisfaction.

7. Currently, students in Malaysia are being exposed to poetry as a part of the school syllabus. As an English teacher as well as a poet, what are your views on it?

I think it’s not enough because students are only exposed to poetry on surface level. Most of my students only read when they have to and for my students, reading poetry other than the ones offered in school syllabus is very rare. I had my classes try writing poems twice this year in groups and all those are little successes but I think it stops there because for them to go into a deeper level and have their own inner motivation to write poems/poetry on their own, it takes more effort than auth I can handle on my own. Ultimately their upbringing as in their love of reading, their environment and the people around them as in family and friends and whatever else they are exposed to, play a bigger part in influencing whether they love writing poetry and whether they will try writing one or not. Or reading one, for that matter. For me, the love of poetry comes from within, and is tied deeply to the love of reading books. I adore books, so reading and writing poetry comes naturally to me.

It was definitely a lot of fun interviewing Carol as I love her work so much! Don’t forget to enter her giveaway! It closes on the 17th of September.


SKAVANSIEUR is now offering author interviews (questions regarding the author) and book interviews (questions regarding your book). Email skavansieur@gmail.com for any inquiries.

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