Friday, July 16, 2021



Geckos & Guns: The Pakistan Years is the latest installment of Sharon Bazant’s riveting travel memoirs. Following on the heels of her 2019, Nine Years in Bangkok: Lessons Learned, this new title Geckos & Guns tells of the time before Bangkok. It is a prequel that follows the first impulses of the Bazant family to break out of the mold, to leave their comfortable Canada home. With two teens in tow, they took a “hardship” posting for the United Nations in Islamabad. The book opens with Sharon and the kids joining Wayne in February 1991 and chronicles their five-year stay there. Bazant brings her gift for detail to the story and paints a beautiful backdrop with her words. 

Where Nine Years in Bangkok is a tale of Bazant’s personal soul journey, the focus of Geckos & Guns is the Bazant family’s time in Pakistan—a time of adjusting to new and different surroundings, of embracing cultural differences, and of recognizing imminent danger. In the five years the Bazant family spent in Pakistan, they learned to love the temperate climate and the stark beauty of the countryside, the spicy curries and the exotic weddings, but they also learned to negotiate constant power cuts, flash floods, trips into opium country, bombings, a family emergency and more. 

Bazant says, “I see each one of us clearly—our ‘selves’ of the past. I think about our experiences, some awe-inspiring, some traumatic, and the decisions we made that forged our future paths. We were younger more optimistic versions of ourselves. Did we make mistakes? Yes. Did we take some wrong turns? Yes. Did some of this form our future selves? Yes. The big question is: Would I do things differently if given the chance? I don’t know. We all did the best we could at the time.”

Book Details

Title: Geckos & Guns: The Pakistan Years

Author: Sharon Bazant

Genre: memoir

Series: Living As An Expat Series, book 2

Publisher: BookLocker (February 1, 2021)

Print length: 358 pages


Things you need in order to write: I need a comfortable, quiet room, a refreshing drink (diet soda, coffee, or ice water), a supportive office chair, a light airy space with views of nature, and inspiring music.  

Things that hamper your writing: noise, interruptions, and lack of inspiration.  

Easiest thing about being a writer: being able to sit down and live and breathe in a world of my own creation. 

Hardest thing about being a writer: having to promote my books. Marketing is a long, arduous albeit necessary journey. 

Things you love about where you live: I love the spectacular mountain and ocean views on the west coast of Canada. I also love the temperate climate and being able to get out in nature all year round. 

Things that make you want to move: in the winter months we sometimes have days and days of wet, dreary weather.

Words that describe you:
creative, adventurous, persevering, hard-working, reliable.
Words that describe you but you wish they didn’t: stubborn, argumentative, outspoken, blunt. 

Favorite foods: corn (or anything with the word ‘corn’ in it), chocolate, Thai food (all of it), ice cream, berries. 
Things that make you want to throw up: I am nauseated by liver, organ meats of any kind, garlic. 

Favorite music: I like almost every genre of music. I enjoy Latin beats, Rat pack tunes, opera, rhythm and blues, pop, rock and roll, and easy listening tunes.
Music that make your ears bleed: when I hear heavy metal music or modal, avant-garde jazz.

Favorite smell: I love the smell of roses and tuberoses.

Something that makes you hold your nose: I have an aversion to the smell of chicken and turkey excrement emanating from poultry farms.

Something you’re really good at: I am really good at teaching.

Something you’re really bad at: I am really bad at sewing.

Something you wish you could do: I wish I could be an accomplished artist like my husband.

Something you wish you’d never learned to do: I wish I had never learned to be such a fussy cleaner. I would like to be able to close my eyes when the house gets messy or a little dirty. I simply cannot do that. 

Something you like to do: I love to read, write, dance, and have cozy coffee chats with friends.

Something you wish you’d never done: I wish I had never taken a summer job at a clothing store when I was 19 years old. I was bullied by the manager, and I hated everything about it. I finally quit. It was the only job I ever quit.

Things you’d walk a mile for: any time spent with my grandsons. I would do anything for them.

Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: if anyone tried to force me to go skydiving. 

Things to say to an author: “I loved your book, and I am going to write a review.” 

Things to say to an author if you want to be fictionally killed off in their next book: “Your book is interesting. I could write a book just like it.” Or “It must be nice to have a little hobby.”

Favorite places you’ve been:
some of my favorite vacations: Santorini in Greece, Petra in Jordan, Masai Mara in Kenya, Dubrovnik in Croatia. 

Places you never want to go to again: I wouldn’t go to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro again.

Things that make you happy: reading a well-written book, dancing to my favorite music, watching a spell-binding movie, and playing with my grandchildren.

Things that drive you crazy: loud, grating noises, rude behavior, and situations where people have opposing opinions and no one will concede, not even a little. 

Proudest moment: witnessing all the achievements of my children and grandchildren.

Most embarrassing moment: when my ill-fitting half-slip fell to the floor in front of a classroom full of students.  

Best thing you’ve ever done: move from Canada to Asia when I was 42 years old. 

Biggest mistake: agreeing to take a job where I knew I wasn’t going to get any support. 

The last thing you did for the first time: took a cruise to Alaska. 

Something you’ll never do again: ride the Matterhorn at Disneyland. I was petrified. 


Sharon Bazant is a retired teacher living in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, Canada. Geckos and Guns is her second memoir. Sharon has donned a variety of professional and personal hats as a seasoned world traveler and long-term expatriate. Some of her greatest adventures occurred during her years in Pakistan and Thailand. 

Connect with Sharon:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  
Twitter  Goodreads  |  Book trailer

Buy the book:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble