Patrick Maher is an American author teaching in Thailand. He has written two successful novels, Pleng’s Song and Candid Confessions. Recently, I had the chance to speak with him about his latest novel, Pleng’s Song, geared for young readers. Here is our interview:
You wrote Pleng’s Song when you were trapped in your home for five weeks during the Thailand Flood in 2011. What was it like for you and your family to experience that disaster?
It was extremely stressful. There was over three feet of water bearing down on the northern wall of our gated community and everyone in our neighborhood worked together to stay dry. We all had different roles. My job was to check the sluice gate so I ventured out a lot into the water to see how high the flood officials were raising the sluice gate. The biggest fear was running out of fresh water so whenever I came across someone selling drinking water, I’d buy as much as I could carry.
As for my children, Fiona and Seamus, they stayed on the second floor of our home which was quite crowded because we moved all our furniture upstairs. My wife and I tried to make life as normal as possible for them. We were stuck on a dry strip of land, but all around us had to be evacuated. The government instructed residents to leave our area and they moved in huge army trucks to help relocate families but we stuck it out and survived.
How long have you lived in Thailand? What are the pros for living there? Any plans for returning to the U.S.? What do you miss about the U.S. (if anything)?
I’ve lived in Thailand for over 12 years and I love it here. The food, music, cafes, and vibe of Bangkok are addicting. There is so much to do and you have beautiful beaches at your fingertips for weekend getaways anytime you want. Hotels are really cheap too, so although I work here, I feel like I’m always on vacation.