Interview with Author Mehreen Ahmed

  • What is your greatest accomplishment as a writer so far?

I am widely published and had editorial reviews from several notable places, such as The Midwest Book Review, Drunken Druid and reader’s reviews. My book, The Pacifist, has received DD Magazine’s Editor’s Choice. My flash fiction, Dolly, was one of the winners of The Waterloo Short Story Competition, UK. And my short story, The Flower Girl, was finalist in The Adelaide Magazine short story competition. Additionally, my flash and micro-fiction have received Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominations. I have written seven novels and the eighth on is in the pipeline.

  • Why do you write?

I find writing exhilarating. It serves as a portal leading to a world of pure fantasy. The Narnian world, for instance, where animals can communicate with humans in human language. The Lords of the Rings, where trees walk. Imagination-filled worlds, where practically anything is kosher. Well, nearly anything.

  • What is your writing process? (Any favorite places to write? Any interesting quirks, traditions, or rituals you may have? How many times might you revise something before being satisfied with it? Besides you, does anyone else edit your work? Etc.) Do  you have any recurring themes or motifs?

I have an obsession for the surreal. Almost every book I wrote, and every story I penned, I have had these outer-worldly themes. One way or the other, they have shaped my style of writing, which is experimental, unique character development, pushing boundaries. Here, my mind traveled freely, weaving the most unexpected stories in the most unusual settings.

  • How did you come up with the idea for your story “Musk”? It seems to hint of a background in folklore or mythology.

Believe it or not, ‘Musk’ was inspired by the planet Mars. I found myself thinking, what if there were no life on planet Earth? What if it were completely barren like Mars? There would be no tragedies: wars, turmoil, greed and lust. The planet would be freed from every vice. And it was in that moment, I conceptualised ‘Musk.’

  • What is your background in literature? How much reading do you do? How necessary do you feel it is necessary for an author to read?

I have an MA in English literature. I am a slow reader but I am always reading.

I think reading provides the necessary infrastructure in word building, sentence constructions, the language per se. It also provides insight into plot and character development. Reading is vital and lays the foundation for research for original work, a writer may wish to pursue.

  • Do you have anyone (friends, relatives, etc.) review your works before you publish them?

My editors review them upon acceptance, usually. After the book gets published, my readers then review, criticise and play with it anyway they want.

  • Could you give us an idea of your upcoming works without spoiling anything?

My new novel is set in 1960, East Pakistan, present day Bangladesh. It is about a fallen aristocratic family. I don’t have a publisher for it yet, looking for one.

  • Do you have any writing events coming up? For example: something being published/released? A reading of one of your works? Interviews? Any speeches or talks?

I have done quite a few interviews, readings and keynote speeches on youtube. I was one of the jury members for the KM Anthru International Prize for the Litterateur Magazine. The prize went to Jack Foley.

  • What do you hope to achieve as a writer?

Recognition and love from my readers. I want their understanding for my passion as a story-teller, and understanding of my hard work as a writer. I want them to understand the work first, before they sit down to criticise it, however, that maybe an unrealistic expectation.

  • What do you think of bad reviews? Are they helpful or harmful to you?

Some of them will always be there. Not everyone can be satisfied.

  • What advice do you have for novice writers?

Read before write. Know how language works before you can play with it and weave it into your thoughts.

  • What do you feel are the most important resources a writer can use?

Editing Formatting services, reviews and criticism services, publishing platforms such a personal blogs where they can publish and harness followers, readers and feedback.

  • Where can people find out more about you and your writing? (websites, social media, etc.)

Amazon stores, online book stores, various literary magazines around the world. I don’t publish anything on social media or websites, other than announcements, except, goodreads.

  • How did you find out about The Chamber Magazine?

From the twitter feed, I think. I really liked the website layout. I think its very classy. Of course, what gets published there, goes without saying.

  • Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?

I write literary fiction. Anyone interested in my books can buy them from online stores. I am on goodreads, twitter and facebook. I strive to have a long, interesting life.

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