The Indian Ocean Mentoring Project is an extension of our successful mentoring program undertaken two years ago for early and emerging writers of African heritage. This second mentoring program is focused on early and emerging writers who are permanent residents or Australian citizens of Indian Ocean heritage living in WA. The Indian Ocean Rim countries are: Bangladesh, Union of Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. In this series of interviews, we uncover the inner worlds of these budding writers, focusing on their connection to the Indian Ocean region, their motivation for writing and the authors that inspire them.
Raphael Farmer is a story-teller, writer, and hopeless romantic who simultaneously adores both Superman and Stephen King. He has published two short stories online: Carried Away and Firefly, and can be found constantly creating intricate new worlds and characters in his head.
Born in Mauritius, Raphael speaks three languages and is proud to come from an island teeming with the most diverse array of cultures. He spent his childhood reading plays and books alongside Sailor Moon and Donald Duck comics, and writing stories that made him feel alive.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Raphael Farmer and I am a storyteller. I have a particular affection for romance, and more precisely, gay male romance. I love everything and anything that tells a story, particularly books, cinema and games. You’ll often see me wearing a Superman T-shirt as he is my favourite character of all time. I believe in being true to yourself. I spend a lot of time, sometimes too much time, building worlds upon worlds in my head. I play out scenes from my stories fully and often don’t realise just how much time has passed while doing so. It’s a scary feeling but at the same time, it leaves me ecstatic. I am happily addicted to stories and yearn to share my worlds with people. I have already published two short stories online: Carried Away and Firefly. I was touched by some of the messages I received from some readers. They connected with the characters, they were something familiar. That experience brought me so much joy that I can’t see myself not doing more and more.
When did you get interested in writing or when did you realize you had a passion for writing?
Ever since I can remember, I have loved being in my head creating stories. I would listen to music and imagine scripted videos for them. It was a great feeling. I built worlds in my mind and could visit them on a whim. I read Donald Duck, Sailor Moon and Superman comics as a kid, then through school I fell in love with books. I still remember the excitement of reading The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas for the first time or Les Malheurs de Sophie by La Comtesse de Segur. At the same time, I would devour everything that had a story to tell, whether it was written on a page or played out on a screen. I was about eleven or twelve when I began writing short stories, constructed as a series, and publishing them online through a website. I spent my school holidays planning, writing and even selecting what would be the soundtrack to these stories. It was the best fun I ever had. I never wanted it to stop. I will keep creating stories as long as I live.
What are you hoping to get out of this mentorship?
I am hoping for insight, for support, for guidance and most of all, for advice. I feel so lucky to have earned this mentorship. My mentor, Laura Keenan, has already made such an impression on me. She understands me and she gets what I want to achieve through my writing. I think it really helps when you’re on the same wavelength. I have a particular vision of who I am as a writer and what my writing is and I am glad that she understands. I know that through her mentorship, I will hone my writing even further and be able to see things in a brand new light. I am excited and still have to pinch myself to make sure this isn’t a dream.
Who are some of your favourite writers/books?
The first one that comes to mind is Stephen King. The moment I began discovering his writing, I was hooked. It was an instant connection. I loved the way he painted scenes and made you feel for the characters. But what I love the most about his writing is how honest it is. He lets go and allows himself to be vulnerable on the page. I honestly wouldn’t be able to pick my favourite Stephen King book but I can tell you which one left me in a sobbing mess. You might be surprised by this but I cried after reading The Shining. I was so touched by the story. It is a book filled with horrors but at its core, it’s a story about a broken man, a father and his son. If I can achieve the same emotional connection with readers, I will be a happy writer.
Photo: Zal Kanga-Parabia