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Thursday, 12 May 2011

Author Interview with Helmy Parlente Kusuma :

Helmy Parlente Kusuma was born in Palembang, Indonesia and spent 18 years there. He went to Jakarta to continue his study in IT and worked in IT industry for a decade. He is currently living in Jakarta although still looking for a place to spend the next decade.

I know you write romance; perhaps you’d you give us some insight into “Memento of Mai” in a few sentences.

I was introduced to a gorgeous lady on my trip to Vietnam. Our get-together during that ten-day trip was deeply engraved in my heart, I had to share my story or else I would run a risk of being crazy. No, it is not overstated.

How did you come to write this particular book?

Look at answer no 1.

If you have a favourite character in your novel, why that particular one?

Very obvious: Mai.

Where and when is this novel set and why did you make these specific choices?

May 2010 – October 2010. Look at answer no 1.

Where can people buy your book?

What qualities does a writer need to be successful?

I think he/she should have a deep passion to share his/her story. Everything else will come naturally. With hard work, of course.

What’s your working method?

I sketch a diagram or a concept. Then I daydream about that sketch until an ending is acquired. Afterward I write scene after scene – of the imagination video – to generate a draft. From here mundane things follow: edit, edit, and edit.

What’s the single biggest mistake made by beginner writers?

Not enough editing. Usually this is a result of eagerness to publish. Please submit your work to at least five layers of editing.

To what extent are grammar and spelling important in writing?

Very important. I found out the hard way. Enough said.

How much do you revise your MS before sending it off?

Ten times or more.

As a writer of romance, to what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?

Genre is supposed to be the yard stick, but I find it quite limiting sometimes, especially for contemporary work. Is it science fiction or romance? Is that fantasy or erotica?

Many authors see marketing as a bind. What's your opinion on this, and how do you deal with it?

As indie author you have to be comfortable with doing marketing or there will be no sales. I do marketing AFTER I finished my draft, not before. Because it will be too distracting.

How do you know where to begin a given story?

Once I have completed the video in my mind, I will view it from various perspectives.
This enables me to pick a place to start.

What sort of displacement activities keep you from writing?

Browsing, of course.

What support, if any, do you receive from family and friends, or a writing group?

They serve as pre-release reviewers.

Do you think presentation of the MS is as important as agents and publishers suggest?


How long does it take you to write a novel?

Six month plus.

Who or what inspires you?

Myself mostly.

If there’s a single aspect of writing you find really frustrating, what is it?

Creating bridges between actions/tensions.

Is there a particular feature of writing that you really enjoy?

Describing an event or an environment.

Do you believe writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?

Acquired skill, but, you’ve got to have passion.

What are you writing now?

My second novel, but not in English. I am hoping to sneak a short-story collection, in English, in between writing my second novel.

Do you have a website or blog readers can visit?


Given unlimited resources, where would you do your writing?

Sitting in front of my cottage somewhere in a mountain top, overseeing a vast valley ahead.

Where do you actually write?

In my room, sitting on the floor.

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