Today we continue our interview with self-published author Vannead Horn. His book, The Spirit of a Fighter: From Cambodia, Victim of the Khmer Rouge Genocide, to France Then USA, was the recipient of a Pacific Book Award in the “Best Biography” category.
You can read the first part of our discussion with Vannead here.
Vannead, were there literary influences that helped you develop your writing style or choice of genre?
When I was a very poor high school teenager who could not afford the luxury of modern entertainment, I just loved reading the free Cambodian books from the library that told deep, emotional stories of love and sacrifice. Then, as a Cambodian-born person, I needed to read all kinds of writing in French and English to learn both languages for living in France and the USA. Despite the painful experience of learning dialects, I had a crazy dream to become a writer. In fact, I was about to be bogged down in an impossible mission!
But, as luck would have it—and thanks to the mixture of Cambodian, French, and Anglo-American literature–I succeeded in expressing my feelings. My own love stories about my mother, father, and my lovely siblings remain forever engraved in my book, The Spirit of a Fighter. In fact, the “spirit” of the title is the spirit of my mom and dad, which inspired me when I was young. It has stayed inside of me since then, and will continue to influence my life until my last day on Earth.
I would say that my style of writing is the expressions of a Cambodian-born author who first tries to fit his words into the French format, and then translates them into understandable English. Consequently, the readers might easily perceive that some “strange” phrases were simply expressed by a “strange and exotic” author.
About the genre: for my first book, if I had a choice or if my parents and siblings were still alive, I would’ve written a romance or love story instead of my own biography. Because, since my younger days–my early teens–when I learned how to choose books without the guidance or supervision of my mom, I always chose these two beautiful genres to read.
We’ll present the third part of our interview with Vannead Horn next week. His award-winning book, The Spirit of a Fighter, is available at Amazon and the AuthorHouse Bookstore.