We write first in blood and tears, then go over in ink.

Posts tagged ‘Out of the Harbour’

Where Did That Book Go? Out of the Harbour

I always rush from project to project. But I was convicted of the need to pause, look back and appreciate the books I had worked on before. The results are amazing. I am so grateful that these books go on to places I can never reach and touch people whom I would otherwise not meet.

Last month, I caught up with Jiamin Choo, the author of Out of the Harbour and my friend. Back in 2010, we met together as a writer’s group, and later, she invited me to edit her book. Since then, the book has gone into its third print! Out of the Harbour is an intense account gleaned from her 25 journals penned over six years. At the beginning, Jiamin was just a young girl, fresh out of university. Faced with promising career prospects, she made an unprecedented decision – she volunteered full-time onboard the mission ship Doulos. Jiamin sailed to over 30 countries and learned to “love the world, one port at a time”.
She is back in Singapore and shares with us what life is like as a published author.
Jiamin Choo with Out of the Harbour

PL: Where is your book sold?
JC: Out of the Harbour is in its third print. It is sold locally as well as overseas. I would bring along copies of the book during my speaking engagements at churches or at youth meetings. It gives me an opportunity to interact with the audience after my talk.

PL: I heard that Out of the Harbour has been a strong encouragement to some readers. Please share with us some of these experiences.
JC: My youngest reader is an 11-year-old boy called Cyrill who hails from Switzerland. He finished reading the book in five days and said that he dreams of becoming a Captain on board an Operation Mobilisation (OM) ship one day. OM is an interdenominational missions organisation dedicated to transforming lives and communities.
My oldest reader is 76-year-old Uncle Lew of Singapore. After reading the book, he signed up for a mission trip. He is living proof that one is never too old to go on an adventure!
One middle-aged professional who was facing life’s crossroads found comfort and courage through reading Out of the Harbour. He was moved to join the OM Ship’s short-term programme to do something new and serve the community. I believe it was a breath of fresh air for him and it allowed him room to think through his life goals.
These are just some of the feedback I received. It is comforting to know that Out of the Harbour is inspiring people to be brave to step out of their comfort zone and to pursue their calling in life.

PL: How about you? Have you been blessed by one of your readers?
JC: I’ve been blessed by a reader whom I did not even get to meet, and will no longer have the chance to. This young girl read Out of the Harbour while she was fighting cancer. She found comfort and strength through the book which reminded her that she was not alone in hardship and suffering. The message she came away with was that there were many others around the world who face struggles and choose to press on.
When this story reached me, the girl had just passed away. I broke down and wept. I did not know that the book could touch someone this way. I was grateful that the pages of Out of the Harbour could accompany someone who was finishing life’s race. This young girl’s story will always remind me not to give up in hardship, but to press on in life.

PL: Why did you write this book in the first place?
JC: Having sailed around the world, visiting 31 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Pacific, I’ve met people from all walks of life and learnt much from my encounters with them. Also, living on board Doulos, the world’s oldest ocean-going ship built in 1914, was such an adventure. I experienced living in a tiny cabin, witnessed dolphins and whales splashing around in the open sea, and joined 350 international crewmembers in serving the local communities wherever we docked. As a fresh graduate, this journey was something I’d never dreamed of.
Since I had been blessed with the privilege to go to so many places as a young person, and having witnessed God’s work in people’s lives around the world, I wished to share these experiences with other young people as an encouragement. To young people I say ‘There is a world beyond our shore to discover.’
I also wanted to write the book as a testimony of God’s goodness, to remember the wonderful people and encounters He had brought along my path. I hope that Out of the Harbour will encourage readers to draw close to God and inspire them to live to the full with purpose and passion.

PL: How did you feel working with me as the editor of your book?
JC: I met Pauline at a Christian writers’ workshop organised by Armour Publishing in 2010. When she heard my plans to write a book about my journey on Doulos, she invited me to join a writer’s group. She said this would be a serious commitment, that she would help me with getting the book out, but I would need to work hard and persevere until the book is completed. I was so glad she knew what she was doing!
The writer’s group met every few weeks to exchange our sample chapters and give constructive feedback and critique. Pauline was a great encouragement in cheering us on to keep writing, especially in moments when we felt like giving up. She was also strict in making sure we did our work, and did not hold back from giving honest feedback about our writing.
Having Pauline as my editor was a blessing because she was professional in her work and I learnt much from her. Sometimes, we argued over which parts of the chapter to keep or cut out, other times we laughed about it. I appreciate the many days and nights we spent going through my thick manuscript over and over again, until it was finally ready to be published.
Getting a book published is only possible because of great team work. I have to thank my dear editor-friend Pauline for all that she has done to make Out of the Harbour a beautiful piece of work. I am also grateful to my designer Thomas, friends who gave feedback on my chapters, and others who encouraged me to press on in writing.
Out of the Harbour took two years to write and publish, but I’m so glad that it is now in the hands of readers around the world, and bringing them on a journey of faith.

Thank you, Jiamin! Your words motivate me to continue working with other authors so that their books may also go out into the world.

Out of the Harbour is sold at SKS Books Warehouse (http://www.sksbooks.com)
and on the book’s website (www.outoftheharbour.com).
You can contact Jiamin for book talks at jiamin@outoftheharbour.com.

2010 Round Up

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! As the year draws to a close, I’d like to thank you for involving me in your projects and share with you about my year. I wish you an exciting and happy 2011 !

“No More Cocoa” – A Children’s Story about Pneumococcal Disease
Synopsis: Polly and Peter find out what pneumococcal disease is and how they can be protected against it. Includes a Parents’ Guide.
Involvement: I was commissioned by Pfizer Singapore, through Edelman, to write this educational children’s story. It was published in November as part of a national education programme focused on pneumococcal disease and the importance of vaccination. It was given to children in preschools like My First Skool.

The Little Red Helicopter iPhone application
Synopsis: The tale of a special playground toy comes to life with this animated interactive storybook. Award-winning “The Little Red Helicopter” makes the leap to iPhone with sound effects and quirky animation. Available on itunes.apple.com
Involvement: Well; none at all actually. All thanks to Straits Times Press who got my 2009 book onto iPhone!

Successful Breastfeeding – A Practical Guide
Synopsis: This book is written by Mount Alvernia Hospital’s Senior Lactation Consultant Ms Kang Phaik Gaik. It is a significant publication as it focuses on breastfeeding in the Asian context. Published by Write Editions and available at major bookstores.
Involvement: It has been very educational editing this book. I thought I knew alot about the subject, but Sis Kang is not called the ‘breastfeeding guru’ for nothing!

Finding My Voice – a true story of setbacks, new beginnings and toy characters
Synopsis: Award-winning author Emily Lim chronicles her lowest season in life as a vocal cripple and subsequent recovery with a voice that comes with great candour. It is a book for anyone who has encountered fear, despair and loss of self-worth. It inspires us to have the hope that when one door closes, another opens. Finding My Voice is published by Write Editions and available at major bookstores.
Involvement: It is a privilege to get to know Emily as a friend through our writers’ group. Copyproofing her book brought tears to my eyes.

Out of the Harbour
Synopsis: Out of the Harbour is a frank and beautiful account of one young person’s obedience to God’s call in global missions. Jiamin Choo spent her youth on board Doulos, visiting many countries to bring knowledge, help and hope. The book will be launched in the first quarter of 2011.
Involvement: Jiamin is a petite young lady but a giant in her faith. It has been an inspiring journey editing her book and being in the same writers’ group with her.

Upbeat – a quarterly publication by Employer Alliance
Synopsis: Employer Alliance is a network of corporations committed to create an enabling work environment to enhance work-life integration. Upbeat is one of its tools to equip members with Work-Life Integration knowledge.
Involvement: I feel it is important that working parents like myself be given help to balance work, family and personal growth. So I am grateful to Employer Alliance for this opportunity to contribute to an improved Singapore lifestyle.

Beauty Defined – Becoming a Disciple of Christ
Synopsis: Commissioned by Equipping Leaders for Asia, these two workbooks help single and married women to become more effective disciples of Christ. They cover important areas of our lives like spiritual growth, attitude to work, effectiveness as parents and balancing priorities.
Involvement: Compiled these lessons based on Cynthia Heald’s excellent series of devotional books and Tim Elmore’s Habitudes.

Our Very Own – Stories Celebrating Adoptive Families
Synopsis: A compilation of inspiring stories about love, the courage to love and how adoptive parents overcome obstacles and challenges to become a family with their chosen children. A very useful book for couples considering adoption or for readers who simply want to be inspired by extraordinary love. It is available by mail order from TOUCH Community Services or you can buy the book at the TCS office. Produced by Write Editions.
Involvement: Another book that brought tears to my eyes as I edited it… even after reading it several rounds. One begins to understand the quote “Adoption is another word for love”.

Blessed to be a Blessing – Lionel and Betty Ong
Synopsis: This is a one time publication for the Christian Businessmen’s Committee (CBMC) World Convention 2010. It is a Tribute to the CBMC Chairman Mr Lionel Ong and his wife Betty. Lionel Ong is heavily involved in numerous national ministries and is a blessing to many people.
Involvement: It has been extremely inspiring learning about Lionel’s contributions, and yet, when one meets him in person, he is so friendly and humble. His family is now working on an e-book that they hope to upload by the early half of 2011.

Heart Sell – Cultivating authentic sales that last
Synopsis: Angela Oh has had 20 over years of experience in sales and shares it with us in this book. More than a book about sales techniques, this inspirational work teaches us about positivity and mental strength. Produced by Write Editions. Read more in http://www.heartsell.sg
Involvement: I came in only at the end to copyproof the draft. I learned that selling is not a vocation; it’s a passion.

The Soy Sauce Towkay
Synopsis: This book is about the founder of Yeo Hiap Seng (YHS), Yeo Thian In. It chronicles how he turned a soy sauce company into a public listed food and beverage company. More than that, it is a heartwarming account of family ties and faith.
Involvement: It was a well-written story that required very little copyproofing. It’s a privilege to be involved even in a minor way in a book that contributes to Singapore’s legacy.

Besides books, I also worked on various websites. SNEF’s portal on Re-employment of Older Workers deserves mention. See it on http://www.re-employment.sg

I wrote two series on Pregnancy Tips and Baby Development for iPhone applications. They were commissioned by Huggies. Thanks, Sumeet!

Thanks also to Matthew Lim, Jimmy Tan and Fpix for patiently guiding me to improve on my video scripts.

Looking forward to a brand new year and hope to hear from you soon!

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