Nonfiction and Khmer-language author Thoeun Sothea just published a new book in January titled My father is a hero.
Khmer novels are undoubtedly more popular than ever due to the large number of new works being published and a greater readership among the growing number of young students who are getting degrees instead of immediately starting work as in years past when the Kingdom was less developed.
Sothea is optimistic about the state of Khmer literature and enthusiastic about the new generation of writers that has emerged.
“Our authors have embedded good educational values in their novels and new readers in large numbers have also turned to reading inspirational books, philosophy books and other non-fiction books after they started reading novels,” he said.
“I hope that the number of readers, as well as the composition of new works, will increase, and accordingly, the quality will increase in order to meet the current demand,” continued the author.
Sothea said new writers should also read as much as they can to learn more from the work of the previous generation. They may also choose to take courses to become more skilled writers as well.
“As for me, I can write both [fiction and non-fiction] depending on the situation, the atmosphere and the feeling I want to convey, but if I had to choose just one, it would be writing books with in-depth factual knowledge or advice for readers,” he said.
The author, who only recently started his writing career, has already written and published five books in less than two years. He said that sometimes the amount of work and the challenges can seem overwhelming, but he just keeps going and pushes through them.
“I’ve already gone too far on this journey and some people know my work and I even have a lot of fans who want new work. I still have a great love for writing even though I know it’s hard, but my love for it is bigger and harder and when I start, I forget about all the difficulties without even realizing it.
“I can say that it is very difficult from the very beginning because we know that it is not easy to break into the industry and it is not easy to attract readers. Although reading is becoming more popular, support for authors to earn a living is not yet widespread,” he said.
Sothea said that the most important thing for new writers is to produce an original work that is not the same as any other work, that is not copied from anyone and does not contradict the reality of society.
He pointed out that after writing, the publishing and promotion phase is almost difficult because he has to do marketing campaigns, find a printer, distribute the books and find dealers who will carry them, and all other business aspects of writing. .
“It’s no different from doing any other job on your own. In short, it’s not just about writing it and publishing it and then sitting back and waiting for the results – there are many other hurdles to overcome. In the end, it’s a lot of pain, but there’s still a lot of joy, excitement and happiness to be a writer whose works are read by anyone, be it a lot of people or even a few,” he said.
Sothea’s latest book is a kind of romantic novel and a life story in which all chapters reflect the problems, decisions, mistakes and selfishness of someone who follows his own desires regardless of the impact it has on others.
The author said that he hopes that the book will lead readers to recognize the truth about their own behaviors, whether they are similar, and learn to live by allowing things to follow the course of life, and especially to learn what happiness and true love are and to recognize when they find it.