Author and writing instructor Julie Ferguson asked me to write a guest blog about my experience writing a novel while living overseas. Here’s the article in full:
Hanoi is a surprisingly good place to write a book.
The capital of Vietnam boasts good coffee shops with Wifi, teaching jobs where you don’t have to work too hard to cover rent, and the jostle of 3.5 million other motorbikes that stimulates creativity.
It’s a total contrast to my home on Bowen Island in western Canada, where deer roam the yard and only the whining of chainsaws breaks the peace.
Writing in two very different settings, I’ve realised that wherever I live there are other writers around to help during the long, lonely journey of working on a first draft.
My roommate Tom introduced me to the Hanoi Writers Collective in April 2012, and throughout the next 12 months, the expat group became the lifeline that kept my novel moving along.
We were a mixed bunch, coming from different countries and writing in very different genres. Andy Engelson was writing an epic novel based in the U.S. Pacific Northwest; Diederik Prakke, about Buddhists in love; Mary Croy and Liz Burgess, sci-fi for young adults; Charlotte Adams, poetry; and Linda Mazur, a nonfiction study of the early Vietnamese architects in Hanoi. Continue reading