Hi there and welcome to this special birthday edition of The Same Six Questions. Whose birthday, do you ask? Why, mine! :D Give a warm welcome to today's guest, Aliya Anjum.
Thank you, Andy! Thank you for this opportunity to engage readers on your blog. As for me, I am from the coastal city of Karachi, Pakistan, which happens to be quite like NYC as it's the commercial capital of Pakistan, oozing with diversity. As of now, I am a full-time author, but I have briefly owned the avatars of an international banker, university lecturer, and government employee. Wanderlust runs in my blood and I simply love to travel. I love cats, shopping, chocolate, and reading. I am an avid swimmer and I enjoy the outdoors a great bit. One day I hope to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, explore the Amazonian rain forests, and see Yeti on Tibetan mountains!
The Same Six Questions
1. Have you published a book yet?
I have published more than one book, but since I am to discuss one of them I'd talk about my short story An Arranged Marriage. It is based on true events in the lives of four Pakistani women Physicians in the US. The story is close to my heart because it was the first adult fiction I wrote. It touches upon many themes, including immigration, diversity, assimilation, diaspora socio-economics, and, last but not the least, relationships.
Its available through Amazon, Smashwords, Apple iTunes, Barnes&Noble, Sony Books, and Kobo books.
2. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I was always the writer. I used to write short snippets and poems when I was barely seven years old. They did'nt make it to print, but my family did appreciate my efforts. I wish I still had those small notebooks but, unfortunately, I don't. Till recently, when I was pursuing a regular career, I did write for newspapers as a freelancer and I had plans to one day write books, after retirement maybe. Then, one day, after a tiff with my boss in 2008, I got motivated to write fiction and I wrote 8 horror short stories for YA. I sent them off to the National Book Foundation's Competition and ended up receiving a Commendation Certificate. I was then encouraged to write more and ever since then I have penned down adult fiction and non-fiction. I am now a full time author.
3. What was your first lengthy piece of fiction (say, >1000 words)? What was it about? When did you write it? Do you still have it?
As I already mentioned, my first piece was a horror short story for YA. Titled The Farmhouse, I plan to publish it on Amazon soon and it may be available in print by the time this interview is published. I find that when I write about a character, I find myself playing that character in my head. In this story, the protagonist is a 14-year-old boy and I could feel his adventurous spirit enter me as I wrote about his tryst with the supernatural. I may add, that I borrowed a part of the story from two real unexplained encounters I had heard from a friend and an acquaintance, respectively. Quite likely they were making up the stories, but even then it's good matter for my story.
4. When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?
I never had a Eureka! moment, as far as writing fiction is concerned. However, I have been a creative person all my life. I could improvise stories that I would tell my younger cousins when I was 14. During my undergrad, my advertising project was top rated, so much so that years later my professor remembered me and my project, when I ran into him. Even my graduate thesis in the US was linked to animated characters, and the thesis committee was impressed with my creativity. As I stated that I had a tiff with my boss, and it stoked the flames of creative expression in me, as I felt I was not being appreciated. In hindsight, it was a blessing in disguise, since now I do what I enjoy doing!
5. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?
I am writing my first novel these days. If there was one character I could meet in real life, it would be the hero of my novel. I am in love with him! He's just so likable! :)
6. It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl. What's on the doorstep?
A mouse or, even worse, a wet rat! I can see myself not just screaming, but also quickly shifting on my feet, lest it touches me. Its a black rat, I see its eyes, they seem to be looking at me. Eeek! its moving towards me at lightening speed. Good God! how can such a small thing move so fast. Better close the door before he comes in. Hurry! hurry hurry! Still shifting on my feet *phew* door closed. Safe at last!
Thanks so much for sharing with us, Aliya! For more of Aliya and her writing, be sure to check out her blog!
Stop back in on Monday, when my guest will be C.W. LaSart! See you!