eBook Dynasty September 2013 Resident Writer Q & A: Pavel V. Kim

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Q: Can you please describe how you started writing? Why do you think you have to write?

A: Since my early childhood I have always liked to read. I read books and literature on various topics, including country guides, Russian language and literature, classics in Russian and foreign languages, and translations of foreign classics, science fiction, economics, management, etc. My writing started with the small stories I wrote for myself. In my school years we had to write a lot for the classes of Russian languages and literature — stories on different topics such as “how I spent my summer”, etc.

I read that everyone “bears at least one book inside” them. That book can be an expression of their interesting real-life stories, or fiction, or the knowledge they possess and wish to share with the world. I hope my own writing can inspire many potential writers to write their books and contribute to the world treasury of literature, culture, science, etc.

There is one sentence I agree with — people have not only “to take” but “to give” also. In the university where I teach, I notice that foreign languages can be easy for one person to learn, but for another person the learning process may be difficult, scary and boring. As time goes by, I try to find out what the possible factors are that influence the efficiency of foreign language learning, and how to make this experience more organized and comforting. Thanks to the opportunity of teach foreign languages in my university, I get to use textbooks from different countries. My own experience of learning foreign languages also helps me in selecting effective teaching tools, crystallizing my knowledge, and developing new learning methods, tools and recommendations that are suitable for anyone who wants to master a foreign language. These are applicable to the majority of languages in the world. All of this led me to the creation of my book, and I am just sharing my knowledge with the world.

Q: Among the world’s writers, who do you think have most influenced you?

A: All Russian and Soviet classics have left their impact on me. Among the world’s known authors, I have the pleasure to have read the Chinese classic writer Wu Cheng’en, whose Journey to the West describes the adventures of the Monkey King, Sun Wukun. This is one of my favorite books in my library. I have read it many times.

Q: You have recently published Language Master: Foreign Language Mastering Secrets Revealed as a Chinese ebook. What do you try to convey in this book?

A: In this book I would like to share the developed methods and tools for foreign language mastering, which do work and are reliable. The book shows readers that the journey to a new wonderful world of foreign languages can be interesting, easy, structured and comforting, which is opposite to common stereotypes that this process is boring and painful, as well as costly.

The methods, tools and study aids contained in the book are developed in a structured fashion, which helps readers and foreign language learners to make their own process of mastering foreign languages organized, exciting, psychologically stimulating and effective. And that is only one of the advantages. All the other advantages are found in the book, which will be pleasant surprises for readers to find.

Q: English is your second language, and your personal journey to master this foreign language has been long and fulfilling. Can you please describe how the learning of English has changed or affected your life?

A: I started learning the English Language in the 6th grade of secondary school and it continued at the university. It has affected/changed my life in the following ways:

  • I won the city’s and the region’s Olympiad of the English language among high school students;
  • I was then included in the student exchange program between sister cities Taraz (Kazakhstan) and Fresno (California, USA) in 1991. In the beginning of 1992 I came to the USA. Can you imagine the feelings of this ordinary school student who suddenly came to the country he dreamed to visit?! To see with own eyes, to stay in the host family — it is an unforgettable experience that broadened my horizons!
  • In 1998 I won the Presidential Stipend Bolashak to study in a master’s program in Texas A&M University. Till 2005 the number of stipends awarded was no more than 100 each year. The Presidential Stipend Bolashak is a very prestigious award and very difficult to win among a lot of very highly qualified candidates. After two years I returned and begun to work at the Taraz University as a senior lecturer.
  • In 2002 I was selected to be a participant in an international collaboration project between Taraz State University (Kazakhstan) and Indiana University Bloomington (USA). The results of this project were submitted by US organizers to the US Department of State.
  • Currently I work in KIMEP University, which is the oldest and largest US-style university in Central Asia. It is also home to the largest concentration of Western PhD holders of any institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

In short, thanks to my knowledge of English language, I was able to visit foreign countries, meet wonderful people there, make friends, have opportunities to work and communicate with many outstanding people who at the same time are highly qualified professionals and specialists.

Q: You are from Kazakhstan. What is learning foreign languages like in that country?

A: I am honored to work in one of Kazakhstan’s higher educational institutions. I have opportunities to see the learning process from both sides — as a student and as an instructor. Based on this experience I can say the foreign language learning process is quite similar to that in any other country: teacher + student + print materials (textbooks, handouts, etc) and e-materials (DVD, CD, etc) + some audio and visual equipment + class participation and homework.

As for teachers and professors of foreign languages in Kazakhstan, I can describe them as professionals of high standards who like their students and help them to achieve success. They constantly apply everything new and effective in their classes as well as making these classes interesting, thus increasing the effectiveness of the foreign language learning process for students.

Q: In terms of writing a book that teaches others how to master a foreign language, what do you think a writer should be aware of? For example, theories, techniques, understandable examples, realistic targets, etc?

A: It seems to me that each writer expresses their own experience, beliefs and points of view. In the process of putting thoughts on paper, anyone can employ different tools that help them build and polish their book, augment their position and support their points of view. Another thing to be mentioned is that each person is highly unique, so they employ those tools that they are already familiar with or have discovered during their work. Among them are working and reliable techniques that help readers to accomplish something; good and understandable examples that convey clear and vivid ideas from the writer to readers; placing arguments pro and contra for each statement, helping readers to see the points in the writer’s statement; personal experience, life stories, etc.

Q: Have you ever encountered problems while writing? How do you conquer them?

A: Many writers do encounter the problems such as lack of time, willingness to write, inspiration, etc. I am no exception. To overcome these problems, I use the tools and techniques described in my book. This is a practical application of the book’s contents.

Q: In your view, what is the most difficult thing about learning a foreign language?

A: In my personal opinion, the most difficult thing in learning a foreign language is the stereotypes. They make people become sure in things that limit their potential and close doors to individual effective learning. Do you want to know how to overcome stereotypes easily? Do you wish to solve many other problems which appeared when you decided to learn a foreign language? Just buy my book and you will find there are ideas, tools and methods that allow you to answer positively to at least two of the questions mentioned above — to unlock your potential in the field of foreign language learning.

Q: If someone asks you how to become a writer, what will you say?

A: This question is very good and crucial for many people. And everyone should find their very own personal way to become a writer, since individual uniqueness provides an infinite number of life events and “triggers”, which can gradually or rapidly transform a reader into a writer. In otter words, such triggers can switch on a writer’s abilities, but in the retrospective, when we look back at the past, we discover the preliminary life circumstances made the person ready for that transformation. I think we can just give simple but working and reliable advice — write small stories, about the subject that you know and want to write. And one day, you will get the feeling: “Yes, I can write!” And after that you will write something about what you intend to do and thus making not only you but your loved ones happy — yourself, because “You did it! You’re a writer now!” and your loved ones, because they will be happy for you!

Q: As a writer, in your view, what are the advantages and disadvantages of publishing your writings as ebooks?

A: Let me first mention the advantages of publishing writings as ebooks. They are: small weight in comparison to the paper-based book, especially if we consider that in one reading device we can download hundreds and thousands of books and the weight of the device will not differ at all. Portability and small sizes — your device is always with you and you can carry it anywhere appropriate. Such ebooks are not perishable as time goes by, and the number of readings does not affect the quality of the ebook in comparison with the paper-based book. You can buy ebooks online and download it instantly, so you do not need to go physically to the bookstore to buy paper-based books.

The disadvantages — those readers preferring paper-based books are excluded from reading your book. To read ebooks on your device, you need to charge the battery. Readers need to have their reading devices or computers to read ebooks.

 

Pavel V. Kim welcomes questions relating to writing and creativity from all readers. Please post your questions here, and we will publish all questions and answers below.

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