Paul M.M. Cooper was born in South London and grew up in Cardiff, Wales. He studied at the University of Warwick and UAE and after graduating he left for Sri Lanka to work as an English teacher and indulge his history for passion by exploring both ancient and modern ruins. His first novel, River of Ink, was published in January 2017.
Here's the blurb for River of Ink:
"From his humble village beginnings, Asanka has risen to the prestigious position of court poet, delighting in a life of ease. But when the ruthless Kalinga Magha violently usurps the Lankan throne, Asanka's world is changed beyond imagination. To his horror, the king tasks him with the translation of an epic poem designed to snuff out the first of rebellion...
Asanka has always believed that poetry makes nothing happen, but as lines on the page become cries in the street, he learns that true power lies not at the point of a sword, but in the tip of a pen."
Describe the exact moment you decided to write your book?
I was sitting in a lecture on Thomas Wyatt, a little hungover.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting to write your first book?
Don’t try to write sex scenes.
What’s your go-to procrastination method?
A pot of coffee and Twitter.
What was the biggest tantrum you had while writing your book?
I once got attacked by monkeys. Not really a tantrum, but make of it what you will.
Best thing about writing your book?
Travelling to a new place, learning a new language and making new friends.
And the worst?
Translating a 100k word Sanskrit poem from 1920s German.
Go-to writing snacks?
Is coffee a snack?
Read more My First Times here
Who or what inspires you to write?
Travelling and reading history.
The book that changed you?
My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.
Your pump up song?
"Hold The Line" by Toto.
If you could share a bottle of wine with one writer dead or alive, who would it be?
One piece of advice you’d give first time writers hoping to get a book published?
Take yourself seriously. That’s half the challenge.
Snap up your copy of River of Ink here, follow Paul on Twitter or visit his website, What a Lot of Birds.