Today’s interview is with author Fiza Pathan from Mumbai, India. Fiza is a History and English teacher, who just wrote her third book – beside many poems she has published and for which she has quite a following on her blog Insaneowl.
Fiza, first of all thanks for talking with us! What inspired you to start writing?
I started writing fiction stories way back in 2009, mainly to convey value based messages to young readers, stories of the Christian/Moral genre. Since college, I have always had this inclination to write and as I am an avid reader of books, I too had the desire to see my own book on my bookshelf, indicating to me that dreams do come true and ideas for the betterment of the creative soul is always appreciated.
How did you get the idea for your latest book?
When I observe the present system of education in my country, I feel perplexed that quantity work is given more importance than quality work. Teachers are not really helping the students to think beyond the horizon. The latest book my third is a non-fiction genre, promoting the value of reading classics, unlike my earlier two fiction books. I wrote this book to spread the message of what classics have done for me, to other students.
Does your book have any underlying theme, message, or moral?
The book is my humble attempt at trying to aid a student’s all round development by focusing everyone’s attention on the advantages of reading classic literature, which as my book states covers up a myriad of topics that can benefit any growing child towards achievement in all spheres of life.
How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?
My book is a helper or let us say, a facilitator for any educator, parent or student towards a deeper understanding of classics and how it can influence a readers life positively.
Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?
My message to all readers is simply this, that reading classics can aid a person into a deeper understanding of him/herself, his/her potential and overall personality. Classics according to me can change lives for the better and my handbook simply tries to propagate this idea to everyone who reads the book.
Are your characters based on real people?
All the students and teachers mentioned in my handbook are real people whom I have known personally. The students mentioned in my book are the ones whom I tutor and I enjoy every bit of time spent with such wonderful pupils.
How much of your books are based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?
All the incidents that I have mentioned in my book are all true and based on the experiences shared by my students and by me. From their development to their love of reading, all the examples cited are true occurrences that have taken place in my tuition house over the past four years of my teaching experience.
What would/could a reader or reviewer say about your latest book – CLASSICS Why We Should Encourage Children to Read Them – that shows they “get” you as an author?
If my reviewer/reader states that my handbook has aided them to know the importance of reading classics and has encouraged them to implement my suggestions of encourage the habit of reading classics in their children’s lives to enhance their overall potential, I think that’s when I as a writer and teacher will feel that they have understood me. Saying so in words will not mean as much to me as their acting on my advice.
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you have learned as a writer from then to now?
To be frank, I have realized that writing does not bring home a lot of money as I used to think before. It is not like the ‘paying job’ I used to think it was. However, it has its own aesthetic benefits which only a writer can understand and appreciate.
Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?
My favorite part of the process would be when I am writing the book during the wee hours of the night with no one to disturb me as I fill the pages with all my feelings and experiences. My least favorite part is when I see the book on the shelf and see people checking it out. It makes me nervous and highly self-conscious…in fact, it freaks me out. I guess I have such a peculiar feeling as I am quite a recluse and a hard core introvert. People taking notice of me through my books boosts my self-esteem but also at times embarrasses me. It’s my dual self (selves?) working up, that is all, nothing serious!
What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I think the best part of my handbook which I cherish a lot is when I was penning down my thoughts about the first classic I read, which was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. That book has cultivated the habit of reading classics in me that no other book can match up to. It was through and from Dracula that I entered the beautiful and enchanting world of books that have always kept me company through the ups and downs of my life.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?
No, I would not need to change anything because, I have been meticulous to note down everything that I have wanted to convey to my readers. I want to proclaim to the world the debt I owe to classic books. This world still consists of a number of bright sparks who are ready to change our future and our corrupt society for the better and I wish to inspire them.
What genre has you not yet written but really want to try?
I want to try writing a fiction piece of the romantic genre. I have written a number of poems based on the passion and obsession in love, but I would love to pen a romantic story based on the characters I observe everyday in my life.
How did you get published? Please share your own personal journey.
I have been fortunate as an Author thanks to the platform offered to Authors to self-publish their books. I will always be grateful to Amazon and CreateSpace (a division of Amazon) who first helped me realize my dream of being an Author. I did not have to go through the grind like other Authors have. My first book ‘S.O.S Animals And Other Stories’ was ready and published in August 2012 followed by ‘Treasury Of Bizarre Christmas Stories’ in November 2012.
I have had fruitful time writing at my own pace and earn my own living as a Teacher without anyone breathing down my neck. I was fortunate to meet the right people on the internet at the right time to aid me in my dream of seeing my book published and on the shelf. I am grateful to everyone who has made my journey as a writer, a happy and coveted one.
What general advice do you have for other writers?
I would sincerely beseech my fellow authors that they should not devote all their resources to only writing but, try and take up a regular job as well so that the expenses of the material world can be looked after while we can still write what we wish and choose to. I have been a tutor for many years and therefore I am able to gamble with my creative writing without any tension. It is not a romantic idea to be a ‘pauper writer’ or ‘destitute author’. Times have changed and although we are artists , we need to also live in accordance with the needs of our time.
What do you find is the best part of being an author?
Being an author has brought me a lot of recognition among my peers as someone who means business. I used to be taken for granted earlier but not anymore. People in society today are in awe of my achievements as a young author and now know that I am not just a book worm or a laid back individual, but an author with a lot of matter to contribute to society.
What is one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you?
My readers would definitely be surprised if they knew that I I am a multi-tasker. I can study, write, teach, read, blog and do some creative thinking all throughout the day without wasting a single minute uselessly. Yes, I am quite obsessed about not wasting time and I try to do as much concrete work as possible to allow me to go to bed peacefully at night with my workaholic conscience quite clear. I rarely enjoy myself and that’s a fact, but I like my life just the way it is.
Where can readers learn more about your writing?
Barnes & Noble
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June 26, 2013 at 8:32 am
good to know a little more about Fiza 🙂
Margaret Kell Virany
June 26, 2013 at 10:31 am
Good ideas on why we should read the classics and on not wasting time. I like the way she includes creative thinking as part of her creative work day.
June 26, 2013 at 8:47 pm
Good on you Fiza!!