1: What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I am definitely a night bird. I write at night. That’s when I feel alone with my thoughts after all the impressions of the day.
2: Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
Usually I start writing in my head – as unusual as that may sound. Then I just sit down in front of the keyboard and it pours out.
3: What do you draw inspiration from?
The topics I write on are not the fictional themes of love, adventure and suspense. I write on pretty serious and often sad real life topics – human rights violations and social problems like human trafficking and the private military and security industry. I don’t think we could call what drives my writing inspiration per se in the classical sense of the word. I also have to do a considerable amount of technical research. With me, it is perhaps more correct to call it motivation – motivation to discover and reveal injustice, and rather than only point the finger, also try to suggest legal and policy solutions, as I do in Trafficking for Begging. That being said, however, usually the idea about my next book just comes out of nowhere and jumps at me.
4: Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?
When I sit down, I tend to write relentlessly. Sometimes up to 10 hours in a row when I have all of my ideas and research ready. So it really pours out and I have never stuck to numbers and word count goals. I do as it feels. Sometimes my back and shoulders complain, however, and I have to listen to them, too.
5: Are you a published or a self published author and how do you come up with your cover art?
Really both. Traditional publishing came to me first and only then I realized that amazingly self-publishing was an option, too! The first book I co-authored in 2009 entitled Beyond Market Forces was published by a mainstream publisher. I am also currently working on my next project for Cambridge University Press, which will see the day light in 2012.
However, there is something very intimate about having a self-published Kindle ebook and this is exactly how I feel about Trafficking for Begging. It might sound cliché but this is the only book I feel as my ‘baby’. I was responsible for everything, including formatting, selecting a professional image for the cover, publishing it and carrying out the press work around the launch. Self-publishing is just great and gives you this unparalleled feeling of ownership and intimacy.
6: What drives you to choose the career of being a writer?
Writing has always accompanied my work – irrespective of whether I worked in academia, for a non-profit organization or for the United Nations. When people speak about the divide between practitioners and the real world, on one hand, and academia and theory, on the other hand, I always want to say that this doesn’t have to be that way. I really try to bring into my written work all that I encounter at the work place – be it new evidence and research, or simply an intuitive direction as to where political processes might be headed. I try to bring the real world into my otherwise very technical books, which sometimes perhaps raises a brow in some academic circles. Just as an example, in my latest book Trafficking for Begging, I really wanted to include the vivid stories of begging victims told in their own real words. Had I not self-published it, but dealt with a law publisher instead, I assume that these parts might have not survived at the expense of pure legal narrative. I am grateful that Kindle exists and the book can profit from a hybrid law-personal story model, which otherwise probably wouldn’t have been possible.
7: Do you own an ebook reading device?
I just got a smart phone and I actually read all of my ebooks on it using the Android Kindle Application. It is so comfortable; it is light and I can read all my books in the comfort of my sofa, bed or swing in the garden. It really changed my perspective on the reading experience.
8: Who are some of your favorite authors and what are you reading now?
I love Arundhati Roy and my favorite book is The God of Small Things. Her world is magical.
I just finished reading the Justice Game, which really spoke to the lawyer in me. The novel is fantastic and exciting! I also enjoy romantic stories and my favorite author in that area is Leslie Kelly.
10: How did you come up with the title of your latest book?
(Laughing) As with everything it just hit me: Trafficking for Begging: Old Game, New Name. I wanted it to rhyme for some reason. Also I wanted it to underscore that this practice has been around for a long time, hence: old game. In the same time, I wanted to draw the attention to the fact that we are shaking up things here and re-conceptualizing old phenomena into new legal shapes and contours.
11: What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I am actually finishing an article on the same subject as my book, entitled Human Trafficking for Begging?. The article is to appear in the 2011 issue of the Buffalo Human Right Law Review and also underscores the exploitation and trafficking of begging children.
Apart from writing some short articles for Global Business Magazine, I am also focusing on the next big thing, which is a chapter compilation on sustainable finance that I am editing for Cambridge University Press. I can’t say much more, but I promise that the contributing authors are working hard to get human rights and environmental issues into the business realm of the finance industry through their chapters. So, stay tuned if reshaping the financial sector is an area that interests you.
Author of Trafficking for Begging: Old Game, New Name