Thursday, July 19, 2012

Author Interview: Asma Zaman

It is a pleasure to introduce a new author to you all, Asma Zaman, author of Grandpa and Grandma Come to Stay. 

Book Description: 
Grandpa and Grandma are coming to stay and Muhammed and Musa are so excited! Mommy and Daddy say the twins must help their grandparents. 
Why would grown-ups need any help? Can Muhammed and Musa really help Grandma and Grandpa?

Welcome Asma, please tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Asma Zaman I’m a London based Law Graduate and currently pursuing theoretical and practical qualifications as a Psychological Counsellor/Psychotherapist. My aspiration of becoming a writer began at a very young age but only became a reality as a consequence of a long term condition I was diagnosed with about 10 years ago.  From not being able to read and write, due to it effecting my neurological system, to now having my work published is a great feeling Alhumdolilah!  Now I actively raise awareness and provide support to fellow sufferers of M.E (Myalgic-Encephalomilitis (an auto-neuro immune condition)) and Fibromyalgia and their carers.

What were your earliest memories of writing?
I remember being one of those geeky children who, instead of going out and playing, would be sitting at their desk writing stories! Believe it or not I still have those stories I wrote all those years ago!!

What was your favorite children’s book growing up?
It had to be any books written by Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton.  My collection has now been passed down to my nieces and nephews and hopefully to generations to come! The older and dustier the book the better I say J

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
I think my love for writing came from reading so many books, and I have to thank my sister for encouraging me to read every night before I went to sleep (although half the time I had one eye open and the other closed!!)  But I have to say certain life changing experiences gave me the incentive to start writing ‘properly’.

What inspired you to write, Grandpa and Grandma Come to Stay?
Having been born and brought up in the west but from an asian background, the importance of helping your elders and showing them utmost respect and love was always instilled in me from a young age.  The same values are now being instilled in my neices and nephews so I really wanted to share these values to forthcoming generations.  And seeing the wonderful relationship my parents have with their grandchildren made me want to dedicate this story to them.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
The most difficult part has to be executing all your ideas down on paper.  Sometimes you have so much to write about and so many new storylines that in the end you’re so exhausted of thinking that nothing actually goes down on paper!! Usually at the end of a ‘writing session’ I have screwed up pieces of paper all around me but I do get there eventually Alhumdolilah!

What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?
Without a shadow of a doubt it has to be the moment when I received my book through the post and shared it with my family.  It’s a true blessing to have been working towards becoming a published writer for years…to then have something to show for it!!

What do you do when you’re not writing or promoting your books?
I study from home so depending on how my health is on the day I try to complete assignments, which can be so hard because you’re the only one that can motivate yourself to actually study! I enjoy cooking, baking, reading but most of all I love spending time with my nieces and nephews. 

How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Alhumdolilah! (God be Praised) I haven’t had a bad review yet but if I ever did I think I would take it as ‘productive criticism’…as long as YOU know that you have tried 100% to please your readers the rest truly is in Allah swt hands J
I don’t tend to suffer from ‘writers block’ but I do suffer from ‘writer’s amnesia’!! ;-) On a more serious note I don’t think I know one writer that hasn’t’ suffered from ‘writer’s block’.

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
I really want the readers to appreciate the precious relationship between children and their elders, whether it is their parents, aunts, uncles or grandparents.  Most of all I want the children to come away learning with a smile!

How can your book be used in the classroom?
The book is a great way to build a solid foundation for young children to learn basic family values; the classroom is a wonderful place to explore these values with fellow peers and friends.

Are you working on a new book?
Yes I am working on several new books at the moment, for both adults and children, which I am really excited about!!  I am working on a collection of novellas and poetry in Urdu (which is my mother tongue) for adults and several more exciting children’s books… SO watch this space!! J

What author inspires you the most and why?
I honestly cannot think any one author who has inspired me.  However, I have met many wonderful people in my life who have inspired me with their strong faith and sheer diligence to survive through various trials and tribulations, we have so much to learn from these individuals!

What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding writing schedules, goals, etc.?
I don’t discipline myself as much as I should, but that does have a lot to do with the way my health affects my day to day living, this means whenever I get the urge to write I write (even if it is at 3 in the morning!!).  But regardless of my situation I have never given up on setting goals because I truly believe, whether we succeed or not, we need something to work towards and sometimes it’s not about the destination but the journey we take along the way that holds the biggest reward!

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
The best way any child would learn anything is by exploring!  And it’s important to encourage children to read books that teach them morals and values, and ultimately this would give them confidence to be the best they can be as they get older.  The key is to have fun while you learn!!

What advice you would give to new writers?
As clich√© as this may sound…never ever give up!! Writing is a form of expression so there is no end to what you can write about so start by writing about what you believe in and what you have experienced in life because no-one knows that better then you do!! 
Lastly, always keep a note pad and pen handy because you never know what or who will be your inspiration!!!

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