Today, we have the pleasure of interviewing Jay Henning.
Jay was born in Durban but has moved around, having spells in Stellenbosch, Cape Town, and the Netherlands. He attended the University of Stellenbosch, attaining an Accounting degree and Honours post-grad in Accounting, then gained an MBA from the University of the Free State. Today, Jay lives in Oakville, a suburb of Toronto, in Ontario, Canada, with his wife, their three daughters, and a poodle mix named Daisy.
Jay's working life began as an auditor. After taking a year out to travel, he held several other positions before he took on his current role managing the finances of private equity funds.
Aside from his career, Jay is also a keen writer. His book, A Man Called Stan, was released in 2003 that takes a philosophical look at one man's life as he searches for meaning to his life. It has just recently been re-released and can be found on Jay's website, along with his blog.
In his free time, Jay loves all sorts of outdoor sports, from mountain biking to longboarding. He also enjoys making music, hiking (either alone or with his family) and is a life-long yoga practitioner. While living in the Netherlands, he traveled to around 30 countries in just 4 years, allowing him to be exposed to many different cultures and visit fascinating places.
Jay's ambition is to take his writing to new heights and become an established writer who will inspire people from all walks of life.
What inspired you to pen down the book ‘A Man Called Stan.'
Growing up, I was a relentless bookworm. I was the scrawny kid with glasses and knobbly knees and head buried in book after book. As I grew, the authors changed, from Willard Price and Edgar Rice Burroughs, to Ian Fleming, Jules Verne, J.R.R. Tolkien, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov. They created characters I admired, worlds I was lost in, adventures that excited me, and stories that gripped me.
I had always enjoyed writing. When I was in my mid-twenties, I wrote a short story to pass the time. People responded well to it, so I wrote another two. They all featured the same character, Stan. Until then, I had not done much conscious planning. Then I realized that these three short stories could form the first three chapters of a book. At that stage, I mapped out the chart for the rest of the book and wrote it from there.
Please tell us about the storyline of the book – ‘A Man Called Stan.'
This story is about an ordinary man with no special skills or talent, apart perhaps from drinking alcohol. Like many of us, he is trying to find his way through life, to find happiness, meaning, and love. The book does not follow a chronological path. It jumps backward and forwards along his timeline. It was easy to write about him in his twenties, and an enjoyable challenge to write about him in his teens, forties, and eighties, to recall or imagine what those stages of life felt like.
There is no definition of the place or era in which the story takes place because that has no consequence on the story. It is just a background setting.
Another technique used is the perspective of the book. The narrator always follows Stan; the camera is always upon him. There is only one scene, for a few paragraphs, where Stan is absent. The book is focused entirely on the man called Stan.
Decades after I wrote it, I remain proud of Stan. He is a character that readers relate to. They enjoy the book, and each time someone contemplates their life and loved ones after reading it, I feel as if I have achieved something.
Here are some of the book reviews:
“Excellent book, entertaining read, and lots of fun. First, read the book years ago and when I came across it had to read it again. Enjoyed it, even more the second time. Strong recommendation to read it. Hoping to see a new book from the author soon!”
“I just can't remember ever bursting into laughter so often while reading a book! And part of what makes it so funny is understanding how the character can find himself in such situations. Because he is human, like us, with the same problems and looking for answers.
This story is a fun-filled ride that takes us to someplace meaningful as well. Gives you food for thought, which happens too seldom these days with a book. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in life and how people live it.”
“The author gives us the wisdom of a life guide. Stan may be fictional, but his life events are all too real. You will laugh out loud, get angry with his indignation and feel for his sorrow. This book will have you reading through a weekend and waking up Monday morning with a new outlook on life. Or, maybe you'll just smile at the good time you've had.”
Any message for our readers.
“The life of every human is carefully constructed to give that Soul the exact experience it needs to receive the learning material which it requires to take the next step in its development. When considering that the scale of this encompasses every human and their interactions with each other, it is truly awe-inspiring. As difficult as life can be at times, it is always perfect. Have faith.”
Fantastic! So tell us, how can people find out more about you?
Thank you so much Jay for giving us your precious time! We wish you the best for your journey ahead!