Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
Telling stories started when as young kids my sister and I would create new stories from our favourite book series while waiting for sleep to come. Nowadays the art of creating new stories is a professional skill known as fan-fiction 🙂 However, when I started writing I rebelled and still rebel against adaptations, spin-offs and fan-fiction. To me originality is everything. I loved reading a lot- both my parents were avid readers and so we became avid readers and just the feel of words, the way they sounded when read in one’s mind was wonderful. I think I loved words. Words and language. That is what led me to start writing.
I wrote my first book when I was 11. Those were the days when I wrote no less than three books at a time. There was so much to write. But when it comes to publishing, I get picky and embarrassed and that is why I have only published three out of the forty books Ih ave written till now.
Tell us about your books.
My latest book is in fact a two-part series called THE MIST. Stage One is the first part where Tanya, our female spy is set on a two-fold mission to expose the truth behind the conspiracies both national and global on the war on terror and to help steer Pakistan clear of it and it’s consequences. This leads her all the way to Europe and the US to put a stop to the onslaught of incidents both political and terror that are effecting the world in general and Pakistan in particular. “In Stage Two”she has to travel back and forth to the West and back East to Afghanistan and Indonesia and of course her home country Pakistan in order to deal with the internal conflicts that are the cause of fifth columnists as well as foreign elements within the country.
A ghost spy in a ghost network on a dangerous mission that may have her lose her life, and even more importantly, the lives of those around her, especially her childhood friend and CIA agent Burke…will Tanya be able to succeed at all in this war that seems to have been going on for decades, if not centuries?
How did you go about getting published?
I decided to go through the self-publishing route at the end, after checking out the various possibilities for over a year. It seemed to be the one that made the most sense. It meant I was in full control of my work but marketing is rather tough as we all know.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
I do not have any real writing process. There was a time I had to write at least three books simultaneously because of the various scenes and ideas that kept popping up. Now I have slowed my pace. I have taken a bit of a break after publishing the series. Actually I am working on two more books, but since I am in the process of rewriting them, I am taking my time.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
I am by profession a script-writer and a teacher (language and writing). So I like to keep myself up to date regarding the various shows and movies both national and international. I enjoy watching brilliant pieces put together and it helps me stay in touch with my field.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
Book covers get tricky, don’t they? There are so many tools that make it easier for us to create our own covers. I personally try to create my own covers. But some authors feel much better working with experts or specialists. To me, the book cover has to be as close to the theme as one could get. Simple elegance, nothing too fancy or too eye-catching if possible–but creative. It really depends on the theme or genre. For example for one of my books I went for a stark white background with vivid colours in the foreground…it brings out the theme of my book. For THE MIST series again I made covers according to the theme of each book. “Stage One” is a subtle grayish foggy picture of the famous Pakistani mountains. “Stage Two” has excerpts of news and research and confidential papers etc to mark the essence of Tanya’s world and her work with conspiracies. So, yeah. Keep the covers true to the theme.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
Today’s world is a world of manufactured publicity. One has to work harder to capture readers despite the benefits of social media. Where it is easy to throw something out there and make sure it gets teh required response, it is also all the more difficult to do so because the amount of products advertised on the social media is countless. One has to be so vigilant. I believe one needs a whole team to help with marketing one’s book and taking it to the top. It’s not easy.
What’s your favorite book?
Any book of mystery and suspense. Agatha Christie is my all time favourite.
What are you reading now?
Nowadays I have put down the books to watch a lot of TV shows…but not the stereotypical racist war on terror shows that seem to dominate the screen in the West. I’ve moved to Eastern, mainly Far Eastern shows…i love to see what new techniques they come up with in story layering, CG and coreography.
What’s your next book project?
I am working on two books. One is about a disgruntled cynical psychic who reluctantly decides to use her abilities and work with an unconventional team of the FIA. The other book is a spin off of THE MIST series, where I can work off the chemistry between Ali and Tanya as they work on a new mission at home.