My Writing Journey – From hobby to passion, now a published author

The month of August is a significant month in Papua New Guinea for authors and schools. It is during this month that schools celebrate book week. I had the privilege of launching the Book Week program at Kopkop College in Port Moresby and took part in a week long Virtual Writing workshop with the Higaturu International School in Oro province.

At the launch I delivered a speech sharing my writing journey with the students and the teachers, in the hope that they too can start their own, or find courage to get into publishing. Here is a copy of my the speech.

Writing has always been my hobby. I recall sitting in front of the TV screen as a 6-year-old watching sesame street and retell every episode in my own words. As a child growing up, I did not have the luxury of owning a smart phone or a laptop, but I had a television at home.

When I started school, I had an instant connection to reading and writing. Learning became fun and reading became so easy. But school life for me didn’t go well. Just after completing grade 1 in 1996, my dad retired from his fulltime job to contest the National Elections in 1997 and we had to relocate to our village in Oro. Given the remoteness of the place, I had to start from scratch. There were hardly any schools nearby. The only school nearby had only one class and one teacher that taught grade 5. I was supposed to do grade 2, but my dad convinced the teacher and got me enrolled. On my first day of school, the teacher asked me if I could read his handwriting and I said, “no’. He then went on to ask me if I could read and I said, ‘yes’. After learning that I could read, he handed me a yellow card that said, “Reading and Comprehension”. Infront of the card was a story for me to read and the back of the card had a list of questions to answer. If you’ve done a reading and comprehension exercise once, you would know how it’s like. From doing reading and comprehension cards, I went on to practice my handwriting using the handwriting cards and the next thing I know, I didn’t have to do the exercises on the cards anymore, because I could read the teachers handwriting and could understand the lessons he was giving. Everything was getting better but when it was term break our teacher flew out and never returned. I did not go to school for the next 5 years. I continued to live life like a village kid. I spent my days accompanying my parents to the garden or babysit my grandmother. Everything was ok but I missed school so much, especially reading. So, whenever I stayed home with my grandmother, I’d take out my exercise book and write stories I could read to myself. Writing was also my only way of speaking English, because as I stayed longer in the village, I was beginning to speak the local vernacular and realized that I was slowly forgetting how to speak or write in English. It was then that I developed a love for writing and began to question if I was ever going to have the opportunity to go back to school.

One night as we gathered around the fireplace for dinner, dad told us that he was going to be getting on a chartered plane the next day to go to Port Moresby, and began advising us to be obedient towards mother and not let her do all the hard work herself. I do know how this news affected my other siblings but for me I made up my mind that I would follow dad to POM. Without consulting either of my parents, I packed my little bag and had it ready. The next day when dad was getting ready to leave, I told him I was going with him. Although he resisted in taking me with him, I stood at the road with my bag in my hand and started to cry as he walked away. As I recall, the tears I had were not because I wanted to see the city lights, the cars, the high raised buildings, or luxury. They were tears of longing for a better education. Of having access to doing the things that I loved the most. “Reading and Writing”. Suddenly, my dad had a change of heart. He walked back, wiped away my tears, picked up my bag and said he would take me. Oh, the joy I had in my heart knowing that my wish had come true!

My dad was a retired public servant and my mom was a housewife. They then became subsistence farmers. Dad was in POM for a short time and had to return. I was left with my older siblings who took on the role of educating and raising me. I had to repeat grade 5 again as per dad’s advice. It was a hard start given the fact that I was away for school for a long time, but the fact that I could read, write, and speak English made the transition smooth. Life was challenging living without mum and dad and being raised by your older siblings.  Despite the struggles I was going through, I never gave up. Going back to the village was no longer an option for me. I used every opportunity that I had to be in school whether I had enough money or had a full stomach. I was determined to excel and make my dad proud of me. One thing that really motivated me in school was that fact that after a writing exercise during our English lesson, our teacher would always read out my stories as an example of a great writing piece. At the end of the term when our report cards came out, I would always do well in English compared to the other subjects. After grade 8, I got selected to do grade 9 at Marianville Secondary School.

My passion for writing was elevated when I started writing journal entries at Marianville. It was also then that I started writing poetry. Poetry became an easy genre for me because I could confide in them. For someone who had lived far away from their parents for so long, writing became therapy. I also developed a relationship with my journal and would always look forward to receiving it after it was marked. I celebrated every positive comment from the teacher and encouraged myself to write better when I was asked to. One morning, my journal got rejected by my then Language & Literature teacher. She was a tough one. She had us write 5 journal entries every week. She would give two topics, one an essay topic and the other a creative piece. She also rejected every journal that came in late and refused to mark them. For someone like me who took my writings and her comments seriously, the fact that my journal got rejected hurt me so badly that I had to hide in the restroom for some good 10minutes and cry. But after I walked out, I took my journal to another teacher and asked her to critique my work instead. And I tell you, she did an incredible job. This is how it is with writing. Do not be limited to one critique but find more critics who can appreciate and celebrate your style of writing but can also guide you to write better. Cry if you must but find a way to laugh and smile.

I started to take the teachers advise and nurture my passion for writing and eventually I found the courage to share my writings with my peers.  I wrote 2 songs that were sung. One in school and one at church. Two plays that were staged, one in school and one in church, and wrote poems for funerals, birthdays and weddings. My confidence was boosted when more people enjoyed my writings. I also took the opportunity to take part in writing competitions or submit poems to the National Newspaper. In 2013, when I entered the Crocodile Prize Writing competition my perspective about writing transformed when I started receiving good critique for my writing from writers in other parts of the world and connected with other Papua New Guinean writers.  In 2016, along with 44 other Papua New Guinean women, I contributed to the My Walk to Equality Anthology which is the first ever collection of PNG women’s writing. After seeing other Papua New Guineans getting into publishing, I became interested because I had a collection of poems but did not know how to publish them. I did more research on publishing as I collated my poems but did nothing. In 2018, I discovered that the Library for All was collecting Children’s stories from Papua New Guinean writers and decided to write a few and send them in. Zuki the Crocodile was my first Children’s story that was accepted and published. Motivated by this, I went on to write 27 more stories which have all been accepted and published.  Then I went on to publish my first poem book titled “Nanu Sina: My Words” in 2019. It is a collection of poems extracted from my journal while a student at Marianville Secondary School. In 2020 while on lock down, 3 other Papua New Guinean writers and I launched the Ples Singing blog – a literary platform that is dedicated to promoting reading and writing in PNG. In June this year, I released the publication of a children’s book titled “When I grow up” which I independently published through a collaboration between a female PNG artist and publisher. Today, I have written 29 Children’s story books and a poem book.

So why share my story?

Some of you sitting out there are probably just like me. You have a passion in writing. Some of you are just starting out, others have been writing for quite a while.

Remember,” without an author, there are no books”.  If your favorite author did not dedicate his or her time to write, or ignored their talent, to do you think you would be reading their books today? Without writers, do you think we would have encyclopedias or textbooks today? Even music and films are produced based on written work.

As an author, you contribute something magical to world. And that is a book.

In a country like ours where the western culture has taken over our culture, there is a need for our stories to be captured in books for our future generation. PNG literature is a sleeping giant waiting to be awakened by a generation of active of minds ready to retell and record the diversity of this country so that it is accurately represented to the outside world. Our languages, traditional knowledge and skills, myths and legends, all will be forgotten one day if they are not written.

Read more because that is the only way to open your mind to great ideas, gain knowledge and enable you to be a critical thinker. Most importantly, write. Use the knowledge gathered through reading to create something beautiful. Something that is original. Something worth celebrating. Something you can give back to this country.

New Children’s Book Announcement

I would like to announce the release of my newly published children’s story book When I grow up which is now available in paperback on amazon for 6.20 US dollars

This book is a collaboration with Papua New Guinean female artist Clarisa Alu and poet Bradley Gewa.

Inspired by traditional art, every character in this book represents a province of Papua New Guinea. It teaches children to dream big and helps them understand that regardless of their gender or ethnicity, they can grow up and achieve anything they wish for.

When I grow up is suitable for early learners up to grades 4 students, and it’s my first independently published children’s story book with the assistance of both a Papua New Guinean artist and publisher.

My collection of children’s story books published under the Library for All’s Together for Education project in Papua New Guinea consists of the following titles:

  1. Let’s go up to the mountain
  2. Raindrops  
  3. Are you ready to help with the mumu today?
  4. Jack and his rugby ball
  5. Old Mulga and the pawpaw tree
  6. Exercise
  7. In my country
  8. Delilah the photographer
  9. Vanua gets ready for Independence Day
  10. Mellam at church
  11. Fred’s trip to the market
  12. Zach and his toy truck   
  13. Max’s accident
  14. Let’s make tapa
  15. The balloon race   
  16. Nippa’s cupboard costume
  17. Jamie’s boombox
  18. Zuki the crocodile
  19. Elma brakes grandma’s cake
  20. Paul and bubu Tau’s Christmas tree
  21. Mona and the turtle
  22. It’s Belinda’s birthday party
  23. My flower garden
  24. Nehemiah’s first Christmas
  25. Mona and the barbeque
  26. Mikai and the firecrackers  
  27. Planting trees     

A safe place for Paulina and Jerry

*A story about Domestic Violence, how it affects women and children, and the options available for getting help

Paulina’s father was a violent man. Every night, he would come home drunk, argue with her mother, and beat her up. Seeing this, Paulina would grab her brother Jerry by his hand, run into her room, lock the door, hide in the closet and cover their ears.

Most times, they would fall asleep in the closet and wake up the next morning seeing their mother with a black eye and bruised face.

Paulina would always skip school to take care of her mother and brother.

Their home was always peaceful whenever her dad was not around. They enjoyed their mother’s meals, her jokes and the bedtime stories she would read to them each night.

But whenever her dad came home, everything turned into chaos. The arguments and fights would start, and Paulina and Jerry would spend the night in the closet.

One afternoon, a group of women visited her mother and told her about a Safe House for women like her and her children who have a violent father. Paulina’s mother was relieved when she heard about this and quickly left with Paulina and Jerry.

The Safe House had other women and their children, too. Paulina was sad that they left their home and dad, but she was also happy that her mother would not get beaten up again and she would not have to skip school.

Peacemaking – My culture

On Saturday January 30th, 2021 at around 7:30pm, my family had small peace-making ceremony here in Port Moresby. Leading into the new year of 2021, there were some misunderstanding amongst my older siblings’ daughters that resulted in dispute and disharmony between several family members. As always conflicts are bound to occur among family members and as such in our tradition, ‘kastom wok’ was the only way in resolving disharmony.   

In a village setting, disputes were always settled by the elders. They were full of wisdom and well respected by everyone that each time they spoke, or gave orders, everyone obeyed them. It was also common for someone with a high status in society to initiate disputes because they were seen to be capable in settle them. People often went to their gardens to harvest food produce or checked their backyards for betelnuts, coconuts or livestock to slaughter. These items were then used to settle disputes.

Here in the city, you would have to budget for this activity by sacrificing your wage or salary. You can call this an expensive exercise, and in fact, the amount of money, time and resources spent on doing kastom wok equates the value of damage done. One must feel the pain of sacrificing so much to understand the importance of respecting one another. Hence, people never created disputes unnecessarily unless for a valid reason.

For our family’s kastom wok, my husband and I did what we could. As much as conflicts were bound to happen, it is not healthy for a family to continue living with hatred, so we decided to be the bridge and make everyone reconcile. We made five different hampers each containing a 10kg bag of rice, a twin pack of chicken, a 12pack canned ocean blue tuna, a bunch of banana, greens and drinks. It was a thoroughly guided reconciliation. Every family were given twenty minutes each to air out their frustrations or disappointments to one another, and close of by apologizing for any ill behavior they had done. As the rain poured, we gathered under the shade of a high post house as each of our families gathered and everyone was given an opportunity to speak. While each person spoke, the rest listened quietly and waited for their turn. Everyone come out, spoke out and asked for forgiveness and each made a promise that night to put away all our differences and move forward into the new year with positive vibes. At the end of it all, each family were presented a hamper each as a symbol of reconciliation and unity. It felt so good seeing everyone laugh, shake hands and hug.

Peacemaking or ‘kastom wok’ has always been part of our society and an act passed on from generation to generation. It is a symbol of unity and is the pillar that kept families and clans together. It is the very reason why our societies continue to thrive and live in harmony. It was common for misunderstandings, arguments and fights in our society but at the end, ‘kastom wok’ was always done to make peace. It involved the slaughtering of pigs and chickens, the harvesting of the best produce from the gardens, betel-nuts and coconuts or in some extreme cases, exchange marriages. I grew up embracing it as part of my Oro culture. I recall my mother cooking a pot of food or taking a live chicken with her to say sorry to an aunt or an in-law after having a heated argument with them. ‘Say sorry before the sun sets’, she would say, ‘and never go to bed with an unforgiving heart. Over the years, I have also gotten into the habit of showing gesture to say sorry. Not everything practiced in my culture can be adapted in a contemporary PNG society like the facial and body tattoo but ‘kastom wok’ in showing kindness, asking for forgiving or celebrating is one that I hold dear to me and practice today.

Remember: it takes stupidity and pride to create a problem, but it takes so much courage to stand up, admit your faults and apologize.

Picture source: The man who would not die

Two wrongs don’t make a right

Part 1

The year 2016 through to 2018 were the most challenging years.

Prior to having my eldest son in 2016, I had everything I needed to start a family–well, that’s what I thought so. A well-paying job, a partner who also had a well-paying job, a place of our own and a son. But after our son was born, we had to move out of the place we were renting because several conditions became unpleasant for our son. We then moved into my older brother’s place. Things were looking alright until I became the only breadwinner of our little family when my partner quit his job (which he had been working for a year) to venture into business, and just like every other start-up, he failed a few months into trialing and became jobless.

We moved out of my brother’s house at the end of 2016 and had to rent out a place. The most troublesome time came when I had to take out an emergency bank loan and then started feeling the pinch of repaying the loan while paying rent, stocking up on groceries and meeting additional financial expenses. To make matters worse, our son depended on drinking formula milk. One day his milk ran out, and I had no money at all. We tried giving him tea, but it was useless. He kept on crying and refusing to drink the tea, that we had to go out and borrow money just to buy his milk. Borrowing money, my worst nightmare became my best friend, who then became an additional expense every fortnight, leaving me more broke than before.

Our finances were an immense problem. I was skipping rent, then had to double on the next fortnight and it was a pain. I started losing weight, no we all started losing weight because most times, a 10kg rice bag, 10kg plain flour, cooking oil, sugar and tea was all I could afford. Fortunately, I didn’t have to worry about saving money for bus fare as my employer provided pickup and drop to and from work. Sometimes I slept without dinner because of stress and anxiety. People gossiped about us often, but little did they know that behind the weight loss was a young mother struggling to make ends meet for her little family amidst trialing times. We had some of my partner’s relatives living with us who did not even care a single cent to support us. They depended on us. They were there only to be fed and never bothered to help out with chores or putting food on the table.

I didn’t have to pay for a babysitter because my partner cared for our son while I went to work. This brought me more stigma as the norm in a traditional PNG society forbade men from changing their children’s diaper, cooking and cleaning or nursing them. Even my family scolded me multiple times whenever my partner took the liberty to attend to his son. I remember arguing several times with my mother just for having my partner share the responsibility of caring for our son. One can only imagine the trauma I was going through. Amidst all, I had the most supportive partner anyone could ask for. He hardly complained and supported me in caring for our son unconditionally. He was a blessing in disguise. But we were never happy.

Prioritize Happiness

Woke up today on the wrong side of bed?

Unhappy for no good reason?

Grumpy or just can’t seem to control yourself?

Go back to sleep, close your eyes

Take a deep breath, count up to five

Relax and remember

Someone out there is fighting for their life

On their sick bed full of regret

For the things that they did wrong, for the life that they did not live

For the people they hurt, for the grudges they held long

Life is not enough, it is short

Shake off negativity, take off any bad clothing that may cause disharmony

Today might be your last day, have a blast

Make others happy, put a smile on someone’s face

Tell yourself that your heart should be filled with happiness

And it should be your priority

Mindful Living on Twitter: "Be happy. Be yourself. If others don't like it.  Then let them be.… "

Give Thanks

Give thanks for all you have

the clear blue sky, the floppy white clouds, the sunshine, the birds chirping

a roof above your head, food on the table, clean drinking water, clothes on your body

shoes on your feet, money in your pocket, a job and a family

Someone out there yearns for what you have

children to cuddle, a spouse to love

abled hands and feet, eye sight and a voice to speak

friends who check on you often, light at night, warmth by the fireplace

imagine how terrible someone’s life might be out there

Give thanks for all you have

Give thanks for a little – Giving thanks Quotes - Inspirational Quotes  about Life, Love, hap… | Thanksgiving quotes christian, Thanksgiving  quotes, Gratitude quotes

Book Review of Nanu Sina: My Words. A book of poems

Emnaupng's Blog

nanu sinaNanu Sina or My Words in the Musa Language of the Oro Province is the title of this book of poems by Carolyn Evari – a Writer, Blogger, Author, Mother and Wife living in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.  The book is  published by local publisher, JDT Publishing.

The book contains Caroline’s refection of life and living, growing up and coming of age.  The book of poems has 82 pages, containing 60 original pieces that are categorized into 4 sections; Conflicts, Relationships, Hope and Family. 

A copy of this book and others that she has written can be found on Amazon.com. Carolyn has also contributed to the 2017 My Walk to Equality: a first all-women’s Anthology from Papua New Guinea. In her story she relates her story of survival as a young girl in Port Moresby. To me her story of overcoming life challenges…

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Caroline Evari tells: ‘Nanu Sina’ came from deepest emotions Nanu SinaLEIAO GEREGA | PNG Post-Courier

 

PORT MORESBY – Imagine reading through a collection of poems only find out that they were written throughout a decade by a young woman struggling through life.

The 85-page book of poems mostly came as an extraction from a young writer’s Grades 11 and 12 school journal and is titled ‘Nanu Sina’ (‘My Words’).

Looking back on her journey, Caroline Evari of Popondetta, who penned her poems as a way to express her emotions while a student in Port Moresby, does not feel that her journey was unique from any other young Papua New Guineans navigating through life.

Her book captures a decade journey and discusses the four main themes based on conflict, relationships, hope and family and raises questions on fear doubt, love, regret, persistence, motherhood and children.

“I wrote in the evenings during study times, early in the mornings and during quiet times,” says Caroline reflecting on the time it took to write her poems.

She also realised she wrote better when she felt stressed from worrying or having self-doubts. However, she says not all her poems are structured around the same topic.

“My poems are centered on my observations and general topics related to society,” she said.

Perhaps having those experiences written down during those emotional moments have led fans to describe her work as beautiful and perceptive to daily issues.

Popular writer and blogger of PNG Attitude, Keith Jackson described Caroline’s book as a collection of “sublime Melanesian verse from a poet of perception.”

Others enjoyed reading her poems while a few have used it for their purposes.

“My girls have not been able to put the book down,” said one fan. “They read it every night.”

While another one said: “Reading your poems brings me memories of the time you wrote a beautiful poem and I had it read at my brother’s funeral.”

To Caroline, having those experiences written down was an important way of managing the emotions that any teenager would have felt at that time.

To have actually published it into a book she wants her readers to know that it’s okay to have doubts, fears and uncertainty as a young person but not okay to have those emotions build up and have a negative impact in their life.

Caroline says finding someone to talk to is a good way to take off the pressure but if you’re anything like her, then write them down in a diary or notebook.

“Let all your frustrations, confusions or fears walk all over the pages of your journal,” said Caroline.

“One day,when you have matured in life and gained enough confidence, you can look back at your journal and be able to see your journey painted all over it.”

That’s what Caroline has been able to do. To look back and be amazed at the journey she took as a teen to an adolescent and finally as a mom with two kids.

Attracting to people to a craft is important to an artisan and similarly, as an author Caroline feels it is important to have her readers resonate with her poems.

Caroline grew up in a family of seven and her dad comes from Musa in the Oro province and Waema in Milne Bay, and is a retired mechanic. Her mother is from Musa and is a full-time mum.

In the late 1990’s Caroline grew up in Popondetta and missed out most of her early childhood education but made up for it by attending her elder sister’s Grade 5 classes.

In the mid-2000’s she was sent from Popondetta to attend the girls’ secondary school at Marianville in Port Moresby.

It was there that the young writer developed her love for poems and remembers spending quiet times writing in her school journal.

“Poetry to me is what I’d like to call a fancy way of expressing one’s feelings,” said Caroline, going on to say that the beauty about poems is that it does not necessarily follow a certain rule in literature.

“It is the best way of expressing yourself,” she said.

Caroline describes poems as a lyrical composition adding that if one can imagine the impact of a lyric then they would be able to understand how beautiful a poem can be.

The drive behind writing poems came about as a way of expressing her loneliness and missing out on parental love.

“I was the youngest in the family of seven and had to leave my parents in Popondetta and go and live with my older siblings to attend school.

“In a way, it made me miss that parental love and care and made me see poem as an outlet to pen all my frustration and experiences.”

During her university days, Caroline had about 65 collections of poems but was still uncertain about the direction in which her writing would take her. In 2015, she began planning the publication of the book but wasn’t able to get it through because of a lack of inspiration.

“The idea of getting my poems published came when I entered the Crocodile Prize competition. I compiled the poems electronically from 2014 to 2015, extracted them onto a template I downloaded from Amazon.com and sorted them in 2016.”

But the urge to publish would become strong after she joined the children’s writing project with the Library For All.

“Seeing the final product of my stories from Library for All really motivated me to get my long overdue collection of poems published. So, when I was inspired to get it published, I got JDT Publications who assisted me with editing, cover page and publications.”

JDT Publications is run by Jordan Dean, a well-known Papua New Guinean writer who has a Facebook page where he has helped so many aspiring writers. Apart from publishing, JDT also offers editorial services, branding and social media marketing and customised illustrations.

There are about 85 poems in Caroline’s book and by deciding to give a local name to it, Nanu Sina from the Yareba language in Musa in Oro Province, the book places more value on her origin and her local dialect.

Her journey has come with a lot of support and help through kind comments, friends reaching out to ask her for advice on publishing and more people asking her to buy her books.

“As an author, it gives me satisfaction knowing that the book is a significant achievement to me.”

But having a role model to look up to is something the young writer says, has really helped her grow as a writer. Caroline has since been receiving mentoring from popular PNG writer Rashmii Amoah Bell on how to write and promote her own books.

Rashmii Amoah Bell’s contribution to PNG literature has challenged many female writers and helped bring out discussions on issues affecting their lives.

“Rashmi Amoah Bell as we know is a Papua New Guinean woman who edited the ‘My Walk to Equality’ book which is the first book that contains a collection of writing from Papua New Guinean women…. how good is that,” said Caroline.

Apart from publishing, Rashmii solely promoted and marketed ‘My Walk to Equality’ where it had its copies purchased and distributed successfully.

Overwhelmed with joy that she’d managed to finally put her words into the beloved, hard-copy form of reading which we call books, Caroline hopes Papua New Guineans would see how important it is to publish stories into books than contributing to social media platforms.

“Because a book is your unique product and you as a writer own the copyright to it,” she said.

“It is a rare thing in PNG for people to become ambitious about publishing book but the moment you publish a book and hold the hard copy for the first time, it gives an amazing feeling of achievement and gives you a whole new perspective.

“Imagine if Facebook, Twitter or Instagram ceased one day, you would lose everything. But when your work is compiled in a book, it stays on forever.”

As a new publisher who’s taken the risk, Caroline wants to see Papua New Guinean writer’s emerging. “Papua New Guineans are great story tellers,” she said.

“If we do not capture all our stories right now, they will one day disappear from our minds and lips.”

For Caroline writing is an art and is something anybody can do where it needs a strong motivation to face challenges in a country like PNG.

To aspiring writers who have tones of manuscripts locked away Caroline advises that commitment to writing gets the job done and unless you’re not committed than you lose focus and end up procrastinating your book.

She has also advised on being prepared to pay the price in order to produce quality work and to also make the right connections to the right people to help support their passion for writing and publishing books.

Caroline recently received her first twenty copies of the book while her first copies have been sold out so far.

Over the coming months, she will be conducting a series of school talks to NCD schools and would like to ask language and literature teachers to reach out to her on email caroline.evari@gmail.com should they want her to visit their schools.

Excitingly, Caroline is looking at giving the first 10 copies of her book to the first 10 schools that invite her to speak to their students on her writing and publishing journey.

Apart from her own book, she will also be giving away several books such as Crocodile Prize Anthologies and books authored by other Papua New Guinean writers.

Caroline has already been invited by three schools in National Capital District and is now busy with several book projects including children’s books, another poem book, a collection of myths and legends, and a book about her career journey.

When Caroline is not working, she spends her free time writing and has already authored several children’s story books for the Library for All, contributed to ‘My Walk to Equality’, the Crocodile Prize competition and to spillwords.com

Caroline who works as a team Assistant with the World Bank Group says she receives a lot of help from her supportive husband and loves spending time with her two beautiful kids, Zechariah who is 3 and Nehemiah who is one.

Looking through her book of poems Caroline sees a young woman who has finally found her passion, found love and is unafraid to face challenges in life.

“It’s is all about taking the risk and finding your passion,” she said.

https://asopa.typepad.com/…/caroline-evari-tells-nanu-sina-…

Book Interview with gorgeous Betty Wakia

Caroline Evari: ‘Choose to rise above every circumstance….’

Betty Wakia (2)

Betty Wakia

BETTY WAKIA

BETTY WAKIA: Why did you decide to call your recently published collection of poems, ‘Nanu Sina’?

CAROLINE EVARI: ‘Nanu Sina’ simply means ‘my words’. I chose this title because, as you read through the book, you will notice most of the poems are basically my own thoughts related to my personal experiences and observations.

BETTY: Can you tell us what sort of poems are in this book?

CAROLINE: The book is divided into four parts – Conflicts, Relationships, Hope and Family. In each, you will find poems that resonate with the theme. For example, under Conflict, you find poems that talk about war, doubt and fear and under Relationships there are poems about love and friendship.

BETTY: How did your environment and upbringing colour you’re writing?

CAROLINE: Both have had a huge impact on my writing. Growing up, I never openly shared my challenges with the people around me. Because most of the poems have been extracted from my Grades 11 and 12 school journals, they are basically my way of expressing my fear, disappointments, hopes and dreams for an envisioned future. My journal was a place for me to confide in, so I wrote and wrote without stopping because I found writing a way of relieving stress.

BETTY: Give us an interesting fun fact about the book.

CAROLINE: Most of the poems are a misrepresentation of who I am today. You will find me writing a lot of uplifting poems in contrast with what’s found in the book.

BETTY: How many drafts did your book go through before publication?

CAROLINE: This book went through five drafts.

BETTY: And how long did it take to write?

Caroline: Most of my poems were written in 2008-09 when I was in secondary school. I started compiling them electronically from 2014–15. So, it took me approximately 11 years.

BETTY: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

CAROLINE: I don’t have a schedule for writing poetry. I write whenever a phrase or a sentence pops into my mind. I note it on a piece of paper or in a book. I might even open a separate word document and jot down thoughts throughout the day. I guess that’s the beauty of poetry, you don’t have to necessarily schedule a time to write.

BETTY: How did the book get published?

CAROLINE: I contacted Jordan Dean at JDT Publications and he helped me publish the book.

BETTY: Where do you get your information and ideas?

CAROLINE: The beauty about poetry is that you don’t really need to think hard about writing, you just need to use your emotions – it’s about using your full five senses. My inspiration comes from my surrounding and through observation. I write better when I can feel emotion and the book is made up of these expressions.

BETTY: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite and why?

Zuki

CAROLINE: So far, I have written four books, this poetry collection and and three children’s books. The story books have been published by Library for All and, as an author, I contribute by writing stories which they pay for, develop into picture books and publish for distribution in the remote areas of Papua New Guinea. I am still waiting to hear if my other stories have been developed into picture books. My favorite book is ‘Zuki the Crocodile’ because that was my first children’s story that got accepted by Library for All and has been developed into a picture book. It’s also available on Amazon.

BETTY: Did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

CAROLINE: It gave me a whole new perspective on writing. I try to brainstorm around new topics or projects to work on and think about how I could develop myself at a more professional level.

BETTY: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

CAROLINE: One surprising thing is the support I receive from friends and family members and the impact my writing has created. This is a driving force for me to do better.

BETTY: Do you hear from readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

CAROLINE: One reader was able to relate to the poems which also brought back to her a memory of a poem I had completely forgotten which I wrote and read at her brother’s funeral. A colleague of mine pointed out that most of the poems depict sorrow and grief and saw that was me expressing myself. He was very impressed with the book. Another colleague said her daughters seem to enjoy the poems and every night, before going to bed, they read at least two. She says they are now beginning to gain interest in poetry.

BETTY: Are there any current projects you’re undertaking?

CAROLINE: I have a good number of children’s stories I wrote for Library for All which they turned down after their reviewing process, so one of my major aim is try and work with an illustrator to develop them into picture books. Secondly, I have an incomplete pile of positive quotes, thoughts and poems which I am hoping to complete and publish. I do not have a timeline for this.

BETTY: How do you market and promote your books?

CAROLINE: My current platforms are Instagram, Facebook and WordPress. I am also in the process of developing a media release to run on PNG Attitude. I am using Rashmii’s mentorship in this project and it has been good so far.

BETTY: Can you share with us the best way to reach you and where to learn more about your books?

CAROLINE: ‘Nanu Sina’ is available on Amazon for anyone who can buy online. For those within PNG, you can reach me on Facebook or by email caroline.evari@gmail.com

BETTY: What other authors are you friends with and how do they help you become a better writer?

CAROLINE: Rashmii Amoah Bell since I connected with her through the My Walk to Equality Project until to date. Jordan Dean – since the day I followed him on Facebook. Baka Bina – whose kind words towards my work really motivated me to publish a book. I am also a member of writer groups on Facebook, this is where I learn and try to collaborate with other writers. I also follow other writers’ blogs and Instagram, this is how I learn.

BETTY: Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer?

CAROLINE: I believe the best way to become better is to be determined to be better. And by being determined, you will begin to do things to improve yourself, such as doing research, approaching the right people, facing your fears and taking risks. Being determined also enables you to not stop until you have reached your goal.

BETTY: As a Papua New Guinean female writer and author what do you want to see and achieve in the next five to 10 years?

Caroline: Write more than 10 books and explore other genres. I see myself publishing more children’s story books. I would also like to see a ripple effect being created by this achievement and have a solid platform in place for forthcoming Papua New Guinean writers.

BETTY: What is your advice for women who want to publish their own book?

CAROLINE: Nothing must ever stop you from achieving your dream. The only way to be heard or be recognised is when you choose to rise above every circumstance and fight fiercely until you reach the frontline. It may never be easy for a woman, but what makes you think it’s easy for a man? Self-determination and discipline is the only difference

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