Interview: George Byrant talks about Life Is...An ordinary Kiwi reflects
George Bryant is a prolific author. He has written 43 books and booklets, edited over 50 volumes and written numerous articles. He is one of New Zealand’s foremost writers on people in society, based on his experiences as a teacher, preacher, public speaker, politician and social worker. George talks to NZ Booklovers about Life Is...An Ordinary Kiwi Reflects.
What inspired you to write Life Is...An Ordinary Kiwi Reflects?
I published my autobiography in 2006. People have constantly asked me to do an update for 2020. My response? An updated biography really wouldn’t attract much attention. However, I’ve had many life experiences since 2006 and I love writing about life and people.
My desire, as a writer (and ex-teacher) has always been to encourage and enlighten, to challenge, and to help people think about what’s going on around them.
So, I had the vision of combining personal experience and life issues in one volume to “help clarify some of life’s issues and complexities” (p199).
Fascination with the ups and downs of living on this unique planet within the universe.
What research was involved?
A skilful use of the internet, especially quotations on various topics
Some use of reference material in libraries
Following up ideas and thoughts that came to mind as I pondered various chapters
Observation of people behaviour, and listening to their views
Checking a wide variety of literary sources i.e. quotes and information from books I’ve read or studied. See bibliographies at the end of each section e.g. quotes from Shakespeare, leadership gurus, the Bible, authors classical and modern, news sources, Government reports…
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
It is impossible to write this sort of book at set times every day. One has to be ‘in the mood’ or ‘as the spirit moves’. Thoughts about life occur at any time of the day or night. I’ve often awakened in the early hours of the morning to jot down a thought or two. Sometimes I tapped out paragraphs on my laptop sitting in bed in the morning, or in my car facing a view of the beach or bush. However, most of my initial writing occurred while sipping a cappucino in the corner of my favourite coffee bar. Of course, there were numerous revisions of chapters, usually in quiet places when my mind was fresh.
If a soundtrack was made to accompany this book, name a song or two you would include.
Probably I have a dream from ABBA, and You raise me up.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
A new sense of the nature of life on this planet, and what it all means. The value and appreciation of people and the complexities of life. A discovery of some of the “missing links among the miscellaneous pieces of life” (p199). I hope it will make people think about the gift of life.
What did you enjoy the most about writing this book?
The sheer joy of writing something fresh, in the hope that some readers, at least, would be positively impacted. I enjoyed discovering and writing about the uniqueness of individual human beings and our complexities. All very fascinating.
What did you do to celebrate finishing this book?
I took my wife out to dinner! The major celebration will be at the launch before over 100 of my friends and acquaintances.
What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?
I’ve had to read so much around the writing of Life IS… I haven’t had much time to read other books. However, I enjoyed John Grisham’s The Guardians and have just started reading Camino Winds. I like his concise style, feeling for suspense and legal topics.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
That’s secret! I’ve now compiled 43 books and booklets over the years. Maybe it’s time for a ‘brief’ rest!