WELCOME to another author interview, this time with an exciting adventure writer, Brian Connell, who was born in Kenya and spent most of his youth with famous wildlife photographers and film makers. He built and ran a game lodge for many years, and is a huge advocate for wildlife protection. His two books, “Msomi & Me” and “Elephants Are People Too” make exciting reading for both adults and children.
Here’s what he has to say:
“Having been brought up in East Africa, in the company of some of the greatest wild-life photographers and film-makers the world has ever seen, it was only natural for me to attach a camera to myself and follow in their illustrious footsteps. I am by no means in their league, but the lessons I learnt from them has, in my humble opinion, led me to make some worthwhile images.
Taking photographic skills and a love of the bush, I started a bush-camp in the middle of nowhere with the intention of running photographic workshops in the wilderness of Africa. For seven years I had an absolute ball, enjoying a lifestyle that few have ever experienced. My mentor, Msomi, and I lived in close proximity to the wildlife; learning, teaching and above all: living!
This collection of anecdotes will give you, the reader, a fair idea of what living in paradise is all about. Interspersed in the text are a number of stories that I have collected during my travels – myths and legends and wonderful stories from Africa. While having little to do with life in a game lodge, they show a side of Africa that few people know about. I hope you enjoy them – I do.”
I was brought up in Kenya, in the company of many of the wild-life greats. Armand and Michaela Denis, Alan and Joan Root, Des and Jen Bartlett to name a few. It was their influence that engendered my abiding love of the wilderness. The stories in the books are solely experiences we had while at Nokuthula, my game lodge.
Do you think you missed out on anything important by growing up in East Africa? If so, what in particular, and how do you think you would be different for it?
I probably did miss out on a lot of important stuff, but each individual has his or her own idea about what constitutes ‘important stuff’. I was too busy having fun, adventure and excitement traveling around with my film-maker friends to worry too much about was going on politically, or even socially. This desire to be in the bush as often as possible resulted in losing out in the girlfriend stakes and becoming a bit of a loner. On the plus side though, it exposed me to people from all religions, colours and social strata, making me tolerant of all and better person for it.
I was, and remain, a voracious reader, but if any one book has to be singled out, it is Jock of the Bushveld. It really made me wish I had been born into a much earlier time.
Is there an element of writing you dislike or find challenging? How do you overcome it?
I have a well-known sense of humour and am able to find the funny side of virtually any situation. This trait comes over well in my books, but it is patently obvious, when writing about poaching, for instance, that my emotions are running wild. My writing style tends to change a bit, something my readers have commented on. The only way to overcome that sort of challenge is to write it as if I was speaking aloud, warts and all, and let the emotion flow. Writing about man’s inhumanity to animals is the most challenging and emotional experience for me.
Do you have any tips or advise for new authors and writers?
I write about my personal experiences, so it’s perhaps a bit easier than writing a novel. I tend to day-dream a bit, telling myself stories in my head and let my sub-conscious work away at it for a while. Then write! Let it flow., and it will! Let the words appear, disregarding good grammar or ‘correct’ sentence structure. You can always go back and edit. But above all, don’t be shy to display your emotions if writing about something dear to your heart.
Would you like to add anything?
My books tell stories of Africa, a place of mystery and adventure even today. But Africa’s wildlife is in dire straits with the terrible poaching epidemic currently underway. I would plead with anyone who has a heart and a sense of adventure to read my books, get a feel for the wonders of living in the bush and doing everything they can to help out.
Click on any of the pictures above to access Brian’s website, and please share this interview with your friends. Together we can all do our part to help protect the dwindling wildlife around the world that is being cruelly slain illegally. Once the wildlife is gone, there won’t be any more!
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ANTHONY DONNELLY blogs about all things writing, inspirational, and motivational. He has published a number of books for both children and adults. His elaborate first novel 49Q? THE ENIGMA CONTINUES is currently climbing up the Amazon charts, and is available in Kindle or paperback. When not sat at his keyboard writing, he can be found in Costa Rica, North America, or somewhere in Europe motivating and coaching individuals and groups in self-development techniques and life-balance.