Borneo Tom: Stories and Sketches of Love, Travel and Jungle Family in Tropical Asia – Author Interview and Excerpt

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Borneo Virtual Book Tour

Join Borneo Tom McLaughlin, author of the travel journal Borneo Tom: Stories and Sketches of Love, Travel and Jungle Family in Tropical Asia as he virtually tours the blogosphere from March 2011 to February 2012 on his first tour with Pump Up Your Book

About Borneo Tom McLaughlin

Science teacher Tom McLaughlin battled a rare neurological disease to a stand still, packed up his life and moved to Malaysian Borneo from a Washington D.C. suburb.

Landing in Kuching, he quickly learned the Malay language and involved himself in projects which includes orangutan rehabilitation and research about the famed naturalist, Alfred Wallace, whose thunder was stolen by Charles Darwin.

The advent of cheap air travel to many destinations in Southeast Asia transported him to many adventures. From dancing naked in an earthquake in Sumatra, to getting lost in a warren of World War II Japanese caves to walking the rim of a volcano with poisonous gas, he has jumped with foolhardiness into everything wild and wonderful, all related in his book Borneo Tom.

Reuniting with his Peace Corps family of thirty five years ago, sharing adventures with one daughter, then reconciling with another after a divorce, marriage with full kampung ceremony and then taking both daughters on his honeymoon to Bali are a few of the highlights of his remarkable personal life. Oh, but we can’t forget? His vasectomy coupled with a wife diagnosed as barren has reproduced a son, Dzul Patrick, now a few months old.

Tom teaches at the Lodge International School in Kuching, Malaysian Borneo while writing about his adventures as a US expat living in Borneo.

You can find him at:
On Twitter
On Facebook
On Kindle!

About Borneo Tom: In Story and Sketch: Love, Travel and Jungle Family in Tropical Asia

Join award winning science teacher Tom McLaughlin as he moves from America to Malaysian Borneo as he tracks orangutans, dances naked in an earthquake, swims with jellyfish AND MORE DANGEROUSLY…falls in love.

Walk with him through a cacophony of emotions including great joy when he finds the love of his life and marries in a village ceremony, reunites with one daughter after a divorce, travels with another and flies the entire family on his honeymoon in Bali. Oh, yes, did I forget? His vasectomy and his wife’s diagnosis of barrenness produces a son, Dzul Patrick, now a few months old.

Each stand alone chapter is humorously sketched by Water Front Niki, a familiar face to all who visit Kuching. Niki’s sensitive portraits of the national bird, the Hornbill, decorates living rooms world wide.

**Proceeds from the book go for items that support the Matang Wildlife Center that rehabs orangutans and other amazing wildlife.**

Hi Tom:

Welcome to Paperback Writer.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to speak with you!

Q:  Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book? 

The idea came from an author named Lat who is very successful with a book series here in Malaysia. His books are all cartoons while mine are sketches coupled with a narrative.

Q:  Was it a light bulb moment or something that you thought about for a very long time?

The idea rolled around in my head for about a year as I gathered material..

Q: How did you come up with the title?

Almost everybody had at least heard the word Borneo and my first name is Tom so it was a natural. I wanted something that most people would remember.

Q:  How did you find an agent and publisher?

I had read so many horror stories about agents and publishers that I completely skipped this route. I went to a printer and had the book assembled. I am now selling it on the Internet and bookstores in Southeast Asia.  But remember, I live in Borneo, so the production price per book is very inexpensive.

Q: How long did it take you to complete the first draft?

The first draft coupled with working with the artist took six months of eight to ten hour days. One of my mottos is: Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Q:  What’s your favorite time of day to write?

Very early in the morning.

Q:   Do you have a writing routine? Daily goals or a specific ritual you do to jumpstart the writing muse.

I am always writing in my head. I look at everyday situations and ask “how could this fit someplace in my book”. By the end of the day, my pockets are filled with notes, some great and some horrible. I then go through them when I sit down to write.

Q:  With all that you have encountered on the road to publication what advice would you give to new authors

I hired Author Marketing Experts and paid them $10,000 for a web site and they said they would do magical things with the Internet so money would just start rolling in.

At the end of their three month campaign I sold zero books with a 173 Google rating.

My advice: research your marketing firm because “All that glitters is not gold”

Thank you, Tom for stopping by Paperback Writer. I wish you continued success with your tour.

Read an Exerpt!

Bukit Tinggi, Sumatra Indonesia – Women rule here. The culture, matriarchal, requires the land pass to the daughters. The custom predates the arrival of Islam and no number of Saudi Arabian missionaries, whose job it is to ensure pure Islamic tradition being observed, are ever going to change it to the Qu’ran required patriarchal system. They have tried. And believe me when I tell you, these ladies would have no part if it! Local customs and religious belief coexist side by side as they have for hundreds of years.

I wandered into one particular village and stopped at a house and chatted with the owner. She was lovely lady in her 40s with two teenagers, a son and daughter. She informed husband had divorced her and left. I teasingly asked her if I could marry her and move in but I think she thought I was serious. She looked me over, considered the idea and said yes but everyday I would have to work in the nearby rice fields. There would be no freeloader man in her house, I surmised.

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