John De Silva, currently residing in New York, is a native of Sri Lanka who had his secondary education at St Joseph’s College in Colombo, where he came under the tutelage and influence of Rev. Father Mercelline, a versatile writer and a national literary figure. It was through him that John had his baptism in writer ship, although much of the story-writing was not pursued until the year 2007.
At the age of 19, an unexpected meeting with a naval officer and a visit to a ship berthed in Colombo harbor, lead to a youthful fascination for seafaring in him. He joined the merchant Navy as an Officer Cadet, and after having completed intermediate study at Sir John Cass College, London and Lal Bahadur Shastri Nautical College, Mumbai, he graduated from Sydney Maritime College as a Master Mariner with an overall work experience of over 35 years.
Now, being both a marine surveyor and consultant with professional qualifications, he continues to sail during which, he ventured in to writing and published his first novel, a memoir, in 2008.
What inspires you to write?
It all started from my High School days. I am a storyteller. I enjoy sharing my stories with others. It could be a love story or something that happened worth telling others, especially when I knew the story carried a message to the listener more often than not, for his or her benefit. The need to see positive changes in the lives of people is what my writing is solely based on. Each story has a message; and one with a purpose. I narrated and wrote short stories during school days and when I started sailing, I had more and more tales to tell.
Having listened to my stories, my wife and few of friends persuaded me to put them on paper. And, I first started to write in 2007.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am an outliner, so far, at least. I have followed that method for quite some time now, and often use notebooks and Microsoft word to bring about the thoughts vexed within my mind onto paper that eventually will be the guidance for my writing. I would recommend it to beginning writers primarily because it requires thinking the story through, eliminating a lot of wasted time chasing bad ideas. It also provides a blue print to which the writer can refer while working on a story over the course of months or even years.
It may be not easy, as one would think, to have a story prepared from start to finish. Outlining gives a chance to the writer to add or change the details of the book, to pen notes in the margins, to reflect on what has been written and to finally decide how all those intricate bits and pieces of aforementioned reality will fit with those landscapes of imagination.
What advice would you give other writers?
Write about something which really interests you. Know your genre and, the audience too. Write on a schedule, separate your work from your life, be tenacious and don’t quit.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I have tried all kinds. My first one was self published. On the second one, I lost direction. All advises I had, especially from my mentor at an Advance Creative Writing Course, was to offer it to a Traditional Publisher. Unfortunately, nothing came through. While looking around for other avenues to publish my book, I was offered a contract by a Subsidy Publisher, and I accepted the same. I later found mine was a bad decision and the project was an overall-loss.
The third book is again, self-published and the response to it has been rather pleasant.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
While eBooks may be more convenient, paperbacks and hardcover books will continue to maintain their place in book publishing.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Non-fiction, Memoirs, Spiritual Growth, Adventure, Relationships, Personal Growth
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print