..................Frequently Asked Questions.....................
Can you describe where you grew up and what your family was like?
When did you first become interested in being a writer? What other professions, if any, have you had?
I was always interested in reading and I had stuff stashed in a box that I’d written since I was probably seven. That box is long gone, but I still remember some of the stories. They were crazy and full of fantasy. I’ve had lots of other jobs, but the best thing I’ve taken away are the amazing and interesting people I’ve met. Character is key.
What is your educational background like?
I attended The Ohio State University and graduated with degrees in English and Psychology.
Are there any writers, teachers, or other individuals that have had a major influence on your writing or helped you further in your career?
I never meant to write for publication until recently, however, I think there are a lot of teachers and writers out there that probably influenced me in one way or another. One that comes to mind is Lee K. Abbott at The Ohio State University. He was my fiction writing professor and really challenged me to write my best. Lee Martin, the Director of the Creative Writing Program at OSU I met a few years ago at a local writer’s conference. Meeting him, hearing him speak about the process of writing, and reading his fiction really lit a spark in me.
Can you briefly describe the process you go through when writing a novel or book? Where do you get your inspiration?
There is an amazingly long fermentation period. I can’t write until the characters get their story straight in my head. This means a lot of family members snapping fingers in my face and bringing me back to the present. I wish I could turn it off and on at convenient times so it didn’t interfere with home life so much, but as they say, a writer’s work (and mother’s) is never done. It’s made me an insomniac because it is so hard to shut my brain off and just relax.
How would you describe your debut novel Beneath My Mother’s Feet? Why might people want to read it?
It’s the coming of age story of a young girl who struggles to find a balance between being an ordinary school girl and the breadwinner in her family. It's about mothers and daughters and family relationships.
You’ve created some very interesting characters. What is the character development process like for you?
The characters have to come to me first. The story is about the characters mainly. The plot comes second. I spend a very long time learning about them in my head. When I think I know who they are and what they want to say, then I start taking lots of notes to keep them fresh. These notes come in handy when I’m trying to put the pieces together.
Are there any elements of your characters based on anyone that you know?
I met so many young kids there who earn a living. My heart goes out to them and it was the one thing that I could never let go of. So yes, I’d say there are pieces of people I’ve met, but no one person defines a single character. Pakistanis are a diverse bunch and it would be unfortunate to typecast anyone of them.
Are there any other books or projects that you are currently working on?
Yes….mum for now.
Do you have a family and/or kids? Where do you currently reside?
have two girls and we live in
What are your hobbies and interests?
I love to be outdoors. I love to draw, but don’t have much time, and I love to spend time with my girls. I love to cook and entertain too.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers today?
Sit in the chair and write. You don’t need to do it everyday, but do it until it’s done. Then rest. Then start over with a pencil. Repeat.
Is there anything you would like your readers to know that hasn’t already been covered?
Writing the story you want to right is easy. Writing the story that the characters want you to write is extremely hard. Getting the words right is hard. Getting the characters to spit out what they really mean is harder. This may not make sense, but some of you might know what I mean. Find the authentic story and the authentic voice. You’ll be surprised where it takes you.