Brendan completed Bachelor of Arts from Western Washington University. He is currently working as a writer for Geopolitical Information Service, with freelance work appearing in Asia Times, The Diplomat, China Outlook, and many other esteemed publications. Let us know more about his writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
I always enjoyed reading and writing as a child. I was also very interested in foreign cultures and international politics. I actually started regularly writing for pleasure during a 2008 journey to India. I wanted to record my experiences and thoughts during that trip.
What did you like to read when you were a boy?
I liked to read SciFi, historical nonfiction, and opinion pieces in the newspaper.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Follow-through! It is very easy to think of some interesting ideas, but it can be difficult to sit down and actually write every day (or almost every day).
How much research do you do before writing the book?
I did tons of research. Obviously I drew on my personal experiences living in China, but I also had to find a variety of reputable sources. Some of the work required finding sources written in Chinese.
What motivated you to write the book “50 Things You Did Not Know About China”?
In the summer of 2012 I visited my grandfather, Al O’Brien, in San Diego. He invited me to a meeting of his friends who regularly get together to discuss politics and economics. I made a brief presentation called “Five Things You Didn’t Know About China”. I realized that even well-informed, well-educated people have many misconceptions about China. As China has a greater worldwide influence, these misconceptions will be increasingly dangerous.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “50 Things You Did Not Know About China”?
There are fifty chapters in the book, and the title of each chapter is a fact about China that many people outside the country don’t know. Then these facts are explained and expanded upon in order to give readers a clearer understanding of China. For example, the chapter “400 million Chinese people can’t speak Chinese” details the interesting linguistic diversity present in modern China. There are more lighthearted chapters which discuss China’s popular culture, superstitions, and of course, strange foods!
Who are your favourite authors?
I’m a big fan of Amitav Ghosh, Tim Robbins, and Peter Hessler.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
I spend around half an hour to two hours researching, writing, and editing my work.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
As cliché as it sounds, believe in yourself! Everyone has a unique perspective that can influence and improve our collective social consciousness. Also, make sure you put in a little bit of effort every single day.
You can buy his book now: