KfC was pleased to sponsor the Read, Write, Review! program as part of Calgary’s writers festival, with five authors involved in presentations at Lord Beaverbrook High School. As part of that, the blog is featuring student-written interviews with each of the authors — this one was done by Teodora Jokic.
On October 14, 2011, Lord Beaverbrook High School students had the opportunity to attend a special presentation by Arnold Henry. This presentation was brought to our high school by an international writer’s festival called Calgary International Wordfest, which profiles some amazing and talented authors. Arnold Henry, the author of the autobiography Hanging On To My Dreams, was mesmorizing to watch on stage. Hanging On To My Dreams is an inspirational autobiography about a poor young boy from St. Lucia who makes it to the top level in the NCAA college basketball. If anyone is in need of inspiration or motivation I highly recommend reading Hanging On To My Dreams.
Arnold was a very inspirational presenter. His story spoke to a wide variety of audiences from the students at Beaverbrook to the teachers and other staff. I had an opportunity to sit down with Mr. Henry and discuss his book.
Teodora: Is there any way your previous career helped you with writing?
Arnold: Yes, definitely, because I wanted to focus on basketball and my life in general. I think everyone has different dreams, mine just happened to be basketball. I’ve wanted to become a writer my whole life, too. I want my autobiography to be a life lesson for the youth growing up. Basketball as a career greatly helped influence my writing.
Teodora: Are you planning on writing anymore books?
Arnold: Yes, I’m working on my second book. The new book will be a sequel to my autobiography. The sequel starts around after my twenty-third birthday. I’m in the works of writing it right now.
Teodora: How has your life changed after publishing your autobiography?
Arnold: Writing the whole book made me very self aware of how I went about life. I don’t believe that I would change anything about my life, because I went throughout it all so I could help someone else.
Teodora: How has the public been responding to your book?
Arnold: I’ve been getting some great reviews from readers. They feel inspired; they feel like they can accomplish their dreams. Doesn’t matter what society throws at them, they could still hang onto their dreams.
Teodora: How was your high school experience in St. Lucia?
Arnold: I wouldn’t change being in high school at St. Lucia, because it’s my culture and the friendships you feel throughout those years become important. I’m still in touch with many of my high school classmates. Compared to the schools here: we had no air conditioner, we only had computers for my senior year.
Teodora: When you were my age did you think about becoming a writer?
Arnold: Writing was something I’ve done my whole life, but I never thought I could become an author. I kept journals and that was my way of expressing myself.
Teodora: What is the life of a writer like? Describe your typical day.
Arnold: When I started writing the book, I used to go for four hours a day, and then I would get writer’s block. Then I would take a break. Sometimes this break would last for an hour, sometimes a day, sometimes even a couple of weeks. I basically made sure to write as much as possible because I wanted to finish this book before my twenty-sixth birthday. My day starts off at the YMCA training in basketball, for my professional tryouts in December. I train for four hours a day. When I come home I work on my second book and then I play basketball for different leagues around the city. On weekends I go to the Talisman Centre and play with other basketball players in the city.
Teodora: Do any other art forms influence you while you’re writing.
Arnold: When I’m writing I like piece and quiet. I keep a picture of my championship team in St. Lucia close to me when I’m writing.
Teodora: Do you have a favorite author who influenced you? How did that happen?
Arnold: To tell the truth, I’m not a big reader. In college I read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Her writing was very good, and could be said to be influential towards me. I wouldn’t say any author really influenced my writing process. However, my mom constantly influences me. I look up to her, and she was the person that made me become a better person. I feed off of a hard worker.
Teodora: How have you experiences been at Wordfest so far?
Arnold: Wordfest has been great. They make sure to take care of their authors. I love the whole experience going to different schools to share my story. Overall it has been excellent.
While speaking to Arnold Henry about his book and his life, I was incredibly motivated to stick to my dreams and to follow through with my life plan no matter who tries to get in the way. While reading the book I found that it was almost impossible to put the book down once you started to get into it. The autobiography Hanging On To My Dreams is the definition of an inspirational book. It is a must read for anyone who wants to succeed and to everyone who has a dream. Audiences at any age are sure to enjoy and be motivated by the book.