Featured Interview With Tikiri Herath
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born on a tropical island in the Indian Ocean, spent my childhood in the savannas of Southern Africa and have worked in South East Asia, North America and Europe. I’ve been an accidental traveler all my life, and have lived in fifteen cities, in seven countries, on four continents to date. I’m a recovering nomad who now calls Canada home.
I’m also a bit of a rebel and left home at a young age to distance myself from a difficult childhood. I worked for minimum wage, cleaning stinky toilets at one point and sleeping in basement rooms to put myself through a bachelor’s degree. I went on to get an MBA from Europe and worked my way through the corporate world for more than a decade until I rediscovered my life’s passion for books and social change.
Today, I write, speak and connect with readers with one goal in mind – to inspire and empower the lives of young women around the world, especially those who live in the darkest corners of our planet. I do what I do because I remember what it’s like to be a scared and lonely girl with few opportunities and little support.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
My love for books began when I was very young. I used to read Jack and Jill stories using a torchlight under my blanket till late at night, when I was supposed to be asleep. I graduated to Enid Blyton and Nancy Drew, then onto Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Daniel Defoe and others. As a child who moved to a new city, a new country or a new continent every few years, I found it hard to make friends, so books became my companions, and authors, my allies. I gobbled up every book I got my hands on and savoured every word I read.
I remember one day, discovering a dusty, ripped copy of the Gulag Archipelgo, a difficult read about the Stalin era. This was not a book for a child, but there was not much else in my little school library, in that remote town where we lived at that time. That book taught me the strength of words. It taught me how storytelling can shine a powerful spotlight on injustice and how mere words can transform ideas and minds around the world.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I’m an eclectic reader and like most genres, except for horror and other such extreme themes. My two main criteria for all books are that the writing must be good (they must be very well written) and that the content must teach me something new.
I do read fiction and mostly enjoy stories from around the world as they open my eyes to the different and interesting ways we humans live everywhere. I love nonfiction books about self empowerment and entrepreneurship as they give me the inspiration to do what I do now.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My latest series is called the Red Heeled Rebels.
I started to write full length novels in 2010, mostly memoirs of a lifetime of traveling. It was only recently, I decided to write a story about a young woman who goes through experiences I witnessed, experienced or learned about, having lived in many places where women’s rights are not respected. I wanted to write a story about a girl who goes through adversity and hardship, but who rises up and fights back, and comes out stronger and wiser, despite what she endures. I write these stories because I’m compelled to write them.