Author Story Article Release
Hello author, on behalf of all the readers, we would like to discuss something about you and of course, your book as well. This conversation will help reader to know more about you and your debut book. Please give answers in brief.
Most welcome to Criticspace Journals, Author. We heartily congratulate you for being a published author. It’s really a great achievement. First thing, we would like to know about your basic info as a person, daily life, career so far and anything you would like to share about you with your readers.
Your Answer: Hello Criticspace, thank you for the warm welcome. It is an honor to be here. I go by Umm Afraz Muhammed. I am a mother to three children and am married to a dentist. I graduated in Psychology, and Higher Diploma in Islamic Studies, and I am currently pursuing my Masters in Islamic Studies. Apart from being an author, I run a book reviewing blog, freelance as a graphic designer, and am a counselor-turned coach at Redefined Muslimah Coaching.
That’s really great; please tell us something about your journey of becoming an author. When you actually started writing and how was the circumstance? Did any person or situation influenced you to write your debut book or was it your childhood hobby of writing?
Your Answer: I was always fond of writing stories. I knew I had a knack for story-telling because I used to make up stories on-the-spot when around children. I remember, back in 10th grade, I started writing fiction and then I would trash it, only because I felt it didn’t suit me. Fast forward a couple of years after marriage; I used to hear so many stories on the topic of mother-in-law/daughter-in-law issues, and thought why not write a story around it. And that’s what I did 🙂
I have quite a few author-friends who I look up to, and admire. I would have never published my book if it weren’t for the help of my author-friends who were always there for me, ready to guide me with my debut fiction.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly? Be descriptive please so that our visitors know about you little more.
Your Answer: We humans are emotional beings, we yearn to belong, and the feeling of belongingness will only come through the expression of feelings. For some, writing is innate, and for others it is a skill to be practiced. If you ask me, anyone can be a writer, but to be a writer who touches the hearts of people through his/her message – and either brings a new perspective or affirms their perspective – needs to know how to write with emotion.
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
Your Answer: After writing the gist of the story, I start drafting the story. And every once in a while, a title might pop in my head. So I jot them down until I have collected at least 20. And then I finalize the title towards the end of the drafting process, to make sure the title goes well with the story.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Your Answer: A good hook to attract the readers, a compelling plot, the ability to show the scene and not tell, forward-moving dialogues, necessary description, and vivid visual imagery.
What comes first, the plot or characters? How do you develop your plot and characters?
Your Answer: For my book, Here With You, it was the plot first. And as I kept fleshing the story, I learnt more about the characters. Generally, I am a pantser, I write what comes to my mind. That said, I do have a basic outline as to what would happen in each chapter. And for characters too, I have a general description of their traits and physical appearance, but their intrinsic characteristics come out during the drafting process. So both plot and characters develop side-by-side.
Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
Your Answer: Yes. I am available on Facebook at https://facebook.com/ummafrazblog and Instagram at https://instagram.com/umm.afraz Looking forward to connecting with the readers 🙂
Please tell the reader something about your book. What is your message to those readers who have still not read the book. Why they should pick it up for reading?
Your Answer: Here With You is about a Gulf-raised South-Indian girl who gets married and shifts to a new country with her husband and in-laws. The life she lives as a daughter-in-law, and her relationship with her mother-in-law is what the book deals with.
The book follows three different points of view – Salma, the daughter-in-law, Faisal, her husband/son, and Fatima, the mother-in-law. The reader understands and relates with what each of them go through in their lives.
Here With You is a book about hope, forgiveness, understanding, reconciliation, and positivity. Every mother-in-law/daughter-in-law will seem to be a burden, unless we look at life and think from their perspective.
As my readers say, this is a book for every new, not-so-new, and going-to-be bride. They also recommend this book to the older generation, to read from the perspective of a daughter-in-law.
And yes, the most important thing we would like to hear from you is what is your message to those new writers who have not yet started their journey of becoming an author? You have been their source of motivation, please convey your thoughts with them.
Your Answer: The first step to being a writer is to write. The more you write, the more you will hone your skill of writing, and slowly you will find your voice, your style of writing. Self-doubt, ‘writers-block’ as they say it (which I don’t believe in), lack of self-confidence, negative thoughts, all of these will come, but they will always go. And in this process, you grow. What I always tell to my readers and clients is, no matter what you are feeling, write it down. I said I don’t believe in writers’ block, that is because the block that you are experiencing is only due to fear – fear of success, fear of failure, fear of starting, it could be anything. So whatever you are feeling, if you start writing, it will slowly go, and you would have conquered your writers’ block. Hope that makes sense 🙂
THE BELOW SECTIONS CONTAINS SOME IDEAS FOR INJECTING A BIT OF FUN INTO YOUR INTERVIEW
Would you rather
Would you rather be in a room full of snakes or a room full of spiders?
Your Answer: Eek! I think I can escape with spiders. So, yes, room full of spiders.
Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter?
Your Answer: Endless winter <3 I love winters.
Would you rather have constant nagging pain or a constant itch?
Your Answer: I can’t bear pain. Constant itch, it is.
Would you rather always be an hour early or be constantly twenty minutes late?
Your Answer: Always be an hour early. I hate making others wait. Plus, if I have a book with me, that would be an hour well-spent 😉
Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or live in a un-haunted cottage?
Your Answer: Un-haunted cottage, anytime.
Tea or coffee
Your Answer: Coffee (yum!)
Hot or cold
Your Answer: Hmm, cold (be it for beverage, or weather).
Movie or book
Your Answer: Book.
Coke or Pepsi
Your Answer: None, but if I had to choose, it would be coke.
Morning person or Night owl
Your Answer: Night owl-turned-morning person 😀
Social Media or book
Your Answer: They go hand-in-hand for me, because I read books to promote on social media 😉
Paperback or ebook
Your Answer: Paperback, always.
All the best for your future and this book too! Thanks for answering my questions.
Thank you for having me! All the best to you too 🙂