SUKHRAJ Singh, 41, wanted to write a book for Australia, to show his link to both of the countries he calls home.
Sukhraj was born in Malout, India, but moved to Sydney in 2008, and then to Canberra in 2011.
“When I was 18-years-old my father died of a heart attack, and then mum died 12 months later of cancer,” he says.
“My twenties were a fairly turbulent period, so I came to Australia in hope of a better future.”
He says his parents were school teachers, so he and his siblings enjoyed a childhood of reading from a small library in their family home.
“I kept reading books from my childhood, I still do now, and I have always enjoyed writing,” he says.
“I usually write poetry in Punjabi. I’ve been doing it for years now, but I wanted to do something for Australia.
“My friends here encouraged me to write a story in English, to introduce my stories to a broader audience in the language of my new home.”
So he did, and he called the book “Kirna”.
“Kirna is a princess name, there is a mystery in the book, but I can’t tell you, you’ll have to read it,” he says.
“Kirna means, in my language, sunrays; a light, so I feel it was a good name, my heart said it was the right decision.
“In the book, ‘Kirna’, it links the modern with the ancient in a tale of mystery, kinship, love, betrayal and vengeance.
“This book is just for entertainment purposes, it’s about reincarnation but it’s just my imagination,” he says.
Sukhraj explains he has a head full of new adventures and hopes.
“I believe my imagination is good, from childhood I was very fond of kingdom stories, so that’s why I decided to write this,” he says.
“Another story I’m working on is a kidnapping story, but I left it behind to focus on this one, but that will be the next one, they just take a long time.
“It took me almost seven years to write this book, 2017 I started. I write in my language and send a copy to India where they read over it and translate it for me and send it back.”
“Kirna” was published on June 28.
“I found work with Costco when I first came to Canberra, and I got my first manager to read over it,” he says.
“My first manager, Richard Savage, was the assistant warehouse manager, but before Costco he worked at a publication house.
“I sent him the finished book, and he read over it again and helped me get it published.
“So now my book is being sold in every Australian Costco and every NZ Costco.”
Sukhraj says he has always had a passion for the entertainment industry and says he’s glad he felt he could be a part of it himself, too.
“I am so very proud of myself,” he says.
“I’m not a celebrity, or a rich man, I don’t have much of a support system behind me, and I have not-much of the Australian background, but I finish my writing work with my heart.
“In Costco, this has never happened before, someone from my community having a book in there, or even as an employee, it’s the first time an employee wrote a book and had it sold in Costco.”
He says he couldn’t have done it without the support of the staff and his friends, and his Canberra home.
“The people I trust have read the book, and I asked for their honest reviews, and they all said they loved it,” he says.
“I love Canberra, there’s not much traffic, it’s a simple life, and there are good, big cities nearby, but Canberra has a calm atmosphere that encourages me to write.
“My son has only read one chapter but he liked it, so it’s good for kids, teenagers, middle-aged or elderly people to read my book. I’m sure they will feel entertained. I don’t believe people will find my work disappointing.”
“Kirna” is available at every Australian Costco store.
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