A Character Interview with Young from A HAREM BOY'S SAGA SERIES plus a conversation with author Bernard Foong!

Today we're bringing something different to Writing in the Modern Age in the form of a character interview.  These character interviews, now and in the future, should prove to be very enlightening for all of us. 

We have the pleasure of meeting Young, a character from A Harem Boy's Saga, Books 1-3. We'll get a chance to talk to the author, Bernard Foong, in a bit, but now we have on the stage...Young!

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Young.  Please have a seat.

Character Young:  Thank you.  It's a pleasure to be here. 

Marie:  We're going to start out with some simple questions, okay? 

Young:  All right.
Marie:  So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?
Young:  I’m an adolescent boy traveling to England to attend an exclusive private boarding school. I was born and raised in a wealthy family in Malaya (Malaya before Malaysia)
Am I any good at it?  I’m an intelligent, outstanding student – excelling in all artistic subjects, especially fashion design, painting and stage choreography. Do I like it? I loved being a student at the private boarding school but did not like my primary school years spent in Malaya.

Marie:  Okay. What is your family like?

Young:  My mother loved me for who I am but I did not like my father because he doesn’t accept me for who I am – a highly intelligent and artistically inclined effeminate boy.  

Marie:  Oh, sorry to hear about your father. :( It's difficult when family acts like that because they should be supportive. 

Let's try something else. So, what did your childhood home look like?  

Young:  A grand 5-bedroom mansion in an exclusive and classy suburban part of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malaya.  

Marie:  Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?

Young:  I love to sew, play with dolls, paint, modeling and in all fashion projects.  

Marie:  Okay. So, what is your greatest dream, Young?


Young:  To become an internationally famous fashion designer.  


Marie:  What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?  


Young: A Renaissance man. What is stopping me? No one. Not even my domineering father who constantly tried to ‘butch-me-up’ by sending me to learn all the manly sports – such as judo, karate, martial arts training. Hated the classes but loved the handsome and macho teaching assistants whom I secretly fell in love with.


Marie:  All right.  


So...who was your first love?


Young:  Nikee (my mentor, ‘big-brother’) at the private boarding school. But he told me repeatedly not to fall in love with him but to play the field because I was being groomed for a very important task that would unfold soon enough.   


Marie: So, what's the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? 

Young:  When Nikee left me for his higher education. I was devastated. This was before I met Andy, my chaperone/valet and Nikee’s replacement to my Arab Household harems.


Marie:  I'm sorry, Young. 


Let's try something else, shall we? 

What was your dream growing up? 

Young:  To be a successful and an internationally known fashion designer.   


Marie:  Did you achieve that dream? 

Young:  Yes. I went to the best fashion school in London, England. I obtained a Master’s Degree in fashion design and went on to become a fashion professor both at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and taught fashion for many years before obtaining a full scholarship to study at the University of Hawaii for my 2nd Master Degree in theater costuming before writing my memoirs – A Harem Boy’s Saga; a memoir by Young (my pen-name). This is a 7 books memoir series.


Marie:  All right. In what ways was it not what you expected? 

Young:  Having been in the fashion business for more than 40 years, I’m moving on to other dreams and goals I want to achieve in my life.  I achieved my dreams many times over. Now, I’m moving on to other bigger and more enchanted dreams such as getting my memoir series to be made into a TV miniseries, movies and stage musical production.


Marie:  Great!  So, who is your role model?

Young:  There are many role models in my life. It’s impossible to name all of them. If I have to name one – it will have to be Andy (my ex-lover, chaperone, mentor, valet at the sexual secret society – The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society – E.R.O.S. I was inducted into during my boarding school years).   


Marie: I see. Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?


Young: I guess everyone has had that experience. I’m no exception to the rule.


Marie:  Let's try another question.

What is your deepest desire?

Young: My immediate goal/desire in my life now is to complete my 7 books memoir. I’m working with an international art impresario to get my artwork to exhibit in major international museums and art galleries. One other desire/project is to have A Harem Boy’s Saga series be adapted into film and stage. Last but not least, my life partner, Walter Bissett and I are planning our retirement to the South of France in a few years from now.


Marie:  (Smiles.) Wow, that's wonderful!
So, what is your greatest fear, Young?

Young: Nothing. I’m fearless. I’ve been educated from a very young age that if I am sufficiently determined, focused and have relentless faith, I can achieve what I set out to do.  


Marie:  Those are definitely words to live by.
Well, it looks like we're running out of time, Young. Thank you for visiting us today. 

Young:  Thank you for having me.


Marie:  Of course! I wish you luck with everything. It was so interesting getting to know you.  (Waves at her guest as she heads off the stage.)

Now, let's shift over and get the author's perspective.  We have Bernard Foong (pen name Young) on the stage today!  Hi, Bernard!

Author Bernard Foong:  Hello, Marie. 

Marie:  (Smiles.) Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age! It's so lovely to see you again, as we last touched base about the series on the MLB blog.
So, we just got to talk to the main character of your story, Young.  Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?
Bernard:  He is an incredibly intelligent, smart, fearless, inquisitive, spiritual and good-looking young man.
Marie:  All great qualities, of course!

So, what are his greatest weaknesses?  

Bernard:  Young's sensitivity.
Marie: What are some of his favorite foods?
Bernard:  His palette is international. Hot and spicy are his favorites.  
Marie:  Okay. 

So, what's a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has? 

Bernard:     A great love of life.
Marie:  Will readers like or dislike this character, and why? 
Bernard:  Readers will love this young man because he epitomizes all the qualities that are within each and every one of us.
Marie:  Great!
Well, now that we have a real taste of Young, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for
A Harem Boy's Saga books?  
Bernard:     Four years ago, I decided that it was time for me to document my unique adolescent life which has been kept secret for more than 40 odd years.
Marie:  It is certainly unique! 
What is your writing style like, Bernard?  Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Bernard:  Both – a little of everything. I tell the truth and as close to the truth as can remember. I write from the heart and tell all, especially the controversial and provocative aspects of my life’s journey. Some conservatives may find my writing style too honest for them to grasp/acknowledge.   
Marie:  All right.

So, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring authors.  Did you come across any specific challenges in writing the series or getting it published?  What would you do differently the next time?  

Bernard:     Yes, I faced many like-minded challenges that most authors face when they are soliciting/pitching/marketing their work.  Now that I have found Solstice Publishing, I’m happy to be a part of this publishing family. They are publishing my entire memoir series.
Marie:  Yes, the Solstice family is awesome!

Well, it was such a pleasure having you here on Writing in the Modern Age, Bernard. We hope you can come back sometime!  :) 

Readers, I hope you all get a chance to pick up a copy of this great series! 

Here are the blurbs for each book in A Harem Boy's Saga.

Book I - Initiation 

This provocative story is about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.

It is also a love story between the young man and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy’s Harem service.
Author’s note:
I had a privileged and unique upbringing in Malaysia, where I was known as a "sissy boy." Following in my brothers' footsteps, I was sent to an exclusive boarding school in England. It is there that I was inducted into a clandestine organization, E.R.O.S. The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society. For four years, unbeknownst to my family, I was willingly and happily part of a Harem.
My story has been kept under wraps for close to 45 years. The correct moment has arrived for me to make known my unique education.

Book II - Unbridled 

Unbridled is the sequel to Initiation - A provocative story about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.

It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother’ and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperones and mentors during the boy’s Harem services.
This book follows the teenagers’ erotic and exotic adventures and experiences at their 2nd Arab Household Harem, the Sekham. They were apprentices and models, for the household patriarch’s controversial photography project, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places”.
The author's experiences present facts that are truthful. Through these truths, which are often demonized by contemporary societies that deem such behaviors inappropriate, the author hopes to dispel condemnations and negativity which relate to his experiences. 
Book III - Debauchery
Debauchery is the triquel to A Harem Boy’s Saga:  Initiation, a provocative story about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society through his UK boarding school. From there, he was spirited to the Middle East to attend the Bahriji (Oasis) School in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for Harem services for the wealthy elite.
It is also a love story between the young man, his ‘Big Brother,’ and his ‘Valet,’ who served as his chaperone and mentor.
This book follows the teenagers’ erotic and exotic adventures and experiences at their third Arabian Household Harem, the Quwah. There, they became confidants to a prince, assistants in an international dance club venture, “Carousel,” and apprentices and models in a controversial photography project, “Sacred Sex in Sacred Places.”
This story is an account of the author’s experiences. Through these truths, often demonized by contemporary societies that deem such behaviors inappropriate, the author hopes to dispel condemnation and negativity related to sexuality, love, and personal freedom.

You can view excerpts for the books with Amazon's 'Look Inside' feature here.
Purchase Links:
U.S. Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1qmL75W
UK Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1tUUU7Y  
CreateSpace:  http://bit.ly/1d3w7tJ
About Bernard Foong:
Young, alias Bernard Foong, is, first and foremost, a sensitivist. He finds nuance in everything. To experience the world he inhabits is an adventure which is mystical, childlike and refreshing. He has a rare ability to create beauty in a unique fashion. His palettes have been material, paint, words and human experiences.
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the age of 8, he was assisting his aunt and cousin, learning the art of sewing and fabrics/colors matching. He attended an exclusive private boarding school in the United Kingdom before obtaining his Diploma in Fashion Design at the Harrow College of Art & Technology in London, England.  He went on to complete his Master of Design at the Royal College of Art & Design, London, England. During his college years he won several international fashion awards and was already retailing bridal and evening dresses to several well known department stores in England. Liberty of London, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols to name a few that carried his designs. His Royal College of Art graduation wedding/evening wear collection was sold to Liberty of London and displayed in their store windows for the entire month of June that year.

For four years, he worked for Liberty’s bridal department as their in-house designer until a trip to Hong Kong, while working on a freelance project for ‘Bird’s’(casual wear) company, he was recruited by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University as their Fashion professor for the next 6 years. During his stay in Hong Kong, he freelanced for numerous fashion companies. From designing casual wear, swimwear, lingerie, and fur garments, men’s wear, bridal and evening fashions to accessories (bags, shoes, and head-wear). He also participated and organized numerous fashion shows, events, functions, and presentations in the Asia Pacific region.

Working for Keys Far East Hong Kong as chief lingerie designer - travelling extensively to the United States, he was soon  recruited as an Associate Fashion Design/Illustration Professor to the University of Wisconsin, Madison and also lectured at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design for a couple of years.

Foong was then appointed as the Fashion Development Manager by an established department store – Parkson Grand (22 stores in Malaysia and one in Shanghai, China). Producing under the label, Natural Life by Bernard Foong, he designed casual-wear collections for the Parkson Grand’s flagship store in Kuala Lumpur. After a couple of years later, he was invited by the Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore to join their design school to establish a Fashion Design department. For two years, he assisted several founding members of the design school - working on the fashion department’s teaching curriculum.

The Fitzgerald Theatre Department, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Oahu, Hawaii awarded a full scholarship for Foong to complete his second Master of Art in Theatre Costuming. Now a resident on the Island of Maui, he has assisted many charity organizations in their fund raising events with his extravagant fashion and performance shows/presentations. In 2005, he and his partner, Mr. Walter Jay Bissett opened Fire Dragon Bistro Orient & Design Shop. He also designs costumes/fashions for numerous theatrical productions in Hawaii and abroad.
Appointed as chief lingerie designer for Cerie International Limited – Hong Kong, his lingerie designs can be found in major department stores in Canada and the United Kingdom.

He showcased the BERNARD FOONG R-T-W collections and BERNARD FOONG @ Modern Classic Ltd. (an established – Hong Kong bridal & evening wear company) collections in Hong Kong. His 2008 & 2009 bridal/evening/bridal lingerie fashion show, “Grace” & “Coming Up Roses” were premiered at Hong Kong Fashion Week in July 2007 and January 2008 respectively at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, garnering positive interest in many Asian press reviews, including a China nationwide television broadcast of his latest collection. Aika (International Opera Singer) wore several Bernard Foong special occasion dresses at her Japan & European tour in September & October 2009.

Foong was the chief Creative Director for Official (Special Occasion fashion manufacturing company) Guangzhou, China  producing – BERNARD FOONG Couture (specialty one-of-a-kind creations), White (RTW - Wedding/Special Occasion wear), Foxy Cute (Smart Casual/Cocktail wear), SexZ  (decorative bustier) & Diva Bitch (sexual lingerie inner/outer-wear) collections.

Besides working on his regular haute couture, R-T-W and lingerie collections he is a visiting consultant/advisor for:
Pivot Point fashion college, Chengdu, China.
Hong Kong Design Institute (fashion department), Hong Kong, SAR.

Hong Kong Poly/U, Hong Kong (School of Apparel Design & Merchandising), SAR.
Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association, Hong Kong.
Singapore Temasek Polytechnic – School of Apparel Design & Merchandising (ADM), Singapore.

Bernard is also writing his autobiography, a seven book series of Mr. Foong’s young life:
A Harem Boy’s Saga: A Memoir by Young.

This provocative story spanning 4 decades and 3 continents is about a boy who was sent to a very exclusive English boarding school in the 1960s where he was initiated into a clandestine sexual society and then spirited away to serve in wealthy and elite Middle Eastern harems ."
A Harem Boy’s Saga series is published by Solstice Publishing and is available in print and E-books internationally.
Out of his busy schedule, Bernard is also working on a mini series of three contemporary paintings for the Rathe Galleries in Dallas, Houston and soon to open gallery in Austin, Texas.

Author Links:




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