Hello my fellow little munchkins. How are you all doing? I am doing well. I have been extremely exhausted all of this week with health reasons and with all of my college being done but now being back to high school so I will be in and out of my blog for a little while but I hope to take a break for a month and build up a steady supply of blog posts.
Anyways, why don’t we get into this already?
In The Company Of Strangers
“Mona has almost everything: money, friends, social status… everything except for freedom. Languishing in her golden cage, she craves a sense of belonging…
Desperate for emotional release, she turns to a friend who introduces her to a world of glitter, glamour, covert affairs and drugs. There she meets Ali, a physically and emotionally wounded man, years younger than her.
Heady with love, she begins a delicate game of deceit that spirals out of control and threatens to shatter the deceptive facade of conservatism erected by Lahori society, and potentially destroy everything that Mona has ever held dear.”
- What is your writing kryptonite? I would say that writing dialogue is definitely my writing kryptonite. I envy the people to whom dialogue comes naturally. I have to struggle to make it flow naturally, and since I know it’s a weakness of mine, I fuss over it constantly which causes me to miss my deadlines quite frequently.
- What made you want to write this book? A lot of people in the West associate Pakistan with a bunch of shantytowns, bombed buildings and poverty. I wanted to show that in spite of that, there is a an alternate world of glitter and glamour that exists. I wanted to show that secrets and lies are part of the Pakistani high society, and that life goes on regardless of what might be happening in the outside world.
- If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would it be? I’d tell him to write a kickass Young Adult trilogy. If YA sales are any indication, He’d be a rich teenager.
- Have you ever had difficulty coming up with an idea for your story? Oh yes! It’s a myth that writers are constantly writing something and that ideas come to them naturally. Well, maybe it happens for some writers, but I’ll be honest about myself. There are times when I am struck by a sudden idea for a story that refuses to let me go and I have to pen it down immediately. Having said that, I can count on my fingers the number of times this has happened to me. Normally, I have my head in my hands as I struggle to come up with meaningful topics to write about. Even if a certain story idea strikes you, you have to ascertain the viability of it, and if it has enough substance to sustain a proper story or novel.
- As a writer what would your spirit animal be? I’d like to say I’m as sharp as an eagle, but in reality, my spirit animal would be a raccoon – disorganized and perpetually distracted.
- What Hogwarts house would the main character of your book be sorted into? I think Mona is a sure shot Ravenclaw. She is very intelligent, but not as brave as to be a Gryffindor.
- What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your character? My characters are never based on real people. Yes, they emulate real people, but the story is usually my own, and it is my belief that once you start writing, it’s the characters that guide the writer as opposed to the other way round.
- While you were editing your book what were some thoughts that were going through your mind? I was beside myself, because my editor had asked me to remove large passages of ‘purple prose’ or insignificant subplots. Obviously, the editor was right, but at the time, I was mourning the time and energy I had spent on writing those passages.
- Do you google yourself? Sometimes. I think everyone does 😉
- What word would sum up your book? Scandalous!
- Do you believe in writer’s block? Yes, I think so, because sometimes the inspiration just leaves you and you have to put aside that project and work on something else. Sometimes, the inspiration to write leaves you entirely, but I think at some point, it returns. After all, a writer will be a writer.
- What is your writing process like? Very disorganized. I do not follow any rules. If the inspiration hits me, the words pour out of me like the ink from Ton Riddle’s diary when it was stabbed. But, sometimes, my mind is as dry as the Saharan desert, and I can go weeks without writing a word. However, I do have a habit of writing at night.
- What advice do you have for other writers? Don’t give up! I mean it. It does seem like a literary agent will never notice you, that you book will never find a good home, but dreams do come true. I’m living proof of that.
- How much research do you do for your books? Very minimal. I write from the heart. If the topic is something completely alien to me, then yes, I will interview people but generally I survive on observation.
- When did you decide the you wanted to become a writer? It wasn’t an impromptu decision. I was always an avid reader, and I think it was a gradual process for me. It started when I began to admire the writing in some books, particularly the Russian classics. I began to imagine what it would feel like if I wrote a book. That might have been when the idea took root.
- When did you first start writing? I started writing casually when I was in Canada as my college placed a lot of emphasis on writing, and it was there that I started to appreciate the fact that writing was actually an industry. However, it wasn’t until I started the Faber course that I began writing my novel in earnest.
- Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? I write on a Macbook. I would love to write on a typewriter, but they make a lot of noise, and there is little margin of error, and I’m the kind of person who makes a lot of mistakes despite autocorrect (which sometimes contributes to the mistakes, sadly.)
- What do you believe is the hardest part of writing? I find that writing convincing dialogue is very hard. For me, it is very difficult to get the tone right. The characters have to be believable.
- What is the easiest part of writing that you consider? Description. I can simply lose myself when describing something.
- How long on average does it take you to write a book? Writing a book can take a few months or a few years. I have been writing a novel on honor killing for more than a year now. I once wrote a YA novel in 3 months.
- Any tips on how to go through a dreaded writer’s block? Relax. Do something else that excites you. Read the latest books that have arrived in stores. As you begin to appreciate the writing, somewhere along the way, your mind will gear up for inspiration again.
- How did you decide to pick out your book cover? My publishers had a chat with me about my thoughts for the cover, and they took my opinion into account when designing the cover. When I saw the cover, my jaw dropped. It is so beautiful, and does such an amazing job of portraying the spirit of Lahore.
- Do you think the cover plays an important part of the buying processes? Absolutely! A lot of people base their decision on buying a book based on the cover. I have done this countless times myself. That’s the reason I have multiple editions of the same books.
- How do you market your books? Apart from what the publishers do to promote a book, I think a writer can do a lot too. From reaching out to local bookstores for events to getting in touch with friends and journalists, a writer needs to be prepared to market their book.
- Why did you choose said route? These days, authors are expected to do their bit for promotions.
- What is your favorite quote of your book? This is a hard one! I really like this bit from the first chapter: “She had been crying a lot these past few months; each bomb blast shook her in a physical way, deepening her fear that the world was falling apart just like her marriage.”
- How can your readers discover more about you and your work? They can follow me on Twitter @awaiskhan224 or on Instagram @thewritinginstitute
- Where do you see publishing going in the future? I think publishing is a dynamic industry, and while there is a great deal of demand for ebooks, I think the print book is here to say. I am very glad to see that the publishing industry has adapted to include both formats and profit from both of them. For example, my book is available both as a print and ebook.
- Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included. I think you pretty much covered everything. Thank you so much for giving me this amazing chance. I had a lot of fun answering these questions.
A wonderful book to pick up and read with each and every sentence written with a purpose. The author had a wonderful story to tell that I think would be able to keep everyone reading until the last page. The writing would be considered professional compared to other forms of writing by other author however that made this book even that more unique. This is definitely a book to pick up for a quick, enjoyable and in-depth storytelling.
AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2HkyWHn
Awais Khan is a graduate of Western University and Durham University. Having been an avid reader and writer all his life, he decided to take the plunge and study Novel Writing and Editing at Faber Academy in London. His work has appeared in the Missing Slate Magazine, Daily Times and MODE, and he has been interviewed by leading television channels like PTV, Voice of America, Samaa TV and City 42, to name a few. He is also the Founder of The Writing Institute, one of the largest institutions for Creative Writing in Pakistan. He lives in Lahore and frequently visits London for business.