Hello Sahar! Thanks for taking time out of your day to talk with us on Q7. Can you tell me a little about yourself? What are some hobbies you have outside of writing?
Hi, April! Thanks for inviting me on Q7.
A bit about myself? Well, besides being a writer, I’m also an ardent reader and tea addict with an emotional somewhat manic attachment to chocolate and pizza. When not behind a computer screen, I am most likely nose-deep in a book or watching British murder mysteries and dramas while pretending to get my 10k steps in. I walk around with my trusty Fitbit on while holding my iPad, sometimes while chewing, which arguably defeats the purpose of stepping. Intellectually I understand this but have not– as of yet been able to curtail the farcicality. Chalk it up to part of charm.
On the flip side, engaging in this slightly bizarre behavior has helped me develop some truly twisted characters for my psychological thrillers. Can’t imagine why … but I think it’s the physical redundancy of walking which allows my imagination to soar and engage. That or it’s the chocolate … or perhaps the pizza … but most definitely the tea.
2. You've written several books now, does the writing get easier over time or does it vary, depending on the story you're working on?
Depending on the subject matter, the challenges of writing a particular story also changes. What used to work for one book doesn’t necessarily translate to the next. I have found that writing is a forever learning process, which is exactly what I adore about my craft–the fact that it’s not stagnant. One can’t allow themselves as writers/authors to become complacent or lazy. So, if anything, I find that the more with each subsequent book I write, the more I expect-demand from myself. I believe my Readers have the right to expect the same.
However, what has gotten easier is the trust in the process of writing. I no longer ‘fear’ not being able to finish or to see a story to its conclusion. I don’t drive myself nuts with worry, ‘scared’ that I don’t have another book lurking inside of me. After six books and another one on the way, I’d like to believe I now grasp the steps necessary to get from point A to Z. With these pressing issues off the table, the task of writing becomes well-defined and salient.
3. You've shared with me before that several of your children have gone on to pursue their own passions and dreams. As a mother, how does that make you feel to see them doing their own thing?
It makes me feel wonderful, grateful, and often, humbled to see each one of my children pursue their dreams, conquering challenges they thought at one time too difficult.
I remain in awe how all six of my grown children have decided to pursue careers that speak to their person–to their values, and I respect that. This is how their Dad and I raised them. Personally, I never cared what they chose–as long as what they ultimately chose brought them peace, happiness, and in some way, positively contributed to the world they live in. All the rest of it, all the details were left up for them to decide. I’m just their groupie, cheerleader and biggest fan.
4. Most of your work deals with difficult subjects- do you feel like you'll always write stories that paint the uglier truths in life or do you think there might be other stories hidden inside you somewhere?
My books utilize a fiction platform to disclose the underbelly of truths, many which have been either hidden or systematically erased from common discourse. In many ways, the complicated subjects have chosen me more than I them. Consequently, when I write, especially when I delve into painful or ‘ugly’ topics, I must not only stay accurate but offer substance without glorifying or sensationalizing certain heinous behaviors.
You are correct, I have chosen challenging and tough topics to write about (mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD), domestic violence and sexual assault, child sexual assault, incest, rape, racism and narcissism, bigotry, sexism, and Islamophobia. These aren’t the types of subjects most people associate with reading for enjoyment–and for a good reason, but they are topics which when carefully and thoughtfully developed can entertain while simultaneously engaging in social activism.
Will I always write these kinds of stories? Perhaps. Not sure. I’m not an ‘always kinda gal, ’ but as ‘ugly’ and ‘disturbing’ as the subject matters I write about are, I believe that it is also equally as imperative to disclose and to expose. It’s keeping them secret and hidden that affords them the power to destroy.
5. Was there ever a moment in life that made a significant impact on you and changed you for the better? If so, would you be willing to share what that moment was?
I am a work in progress so trust me when I say; those ‘moments’ are plentiful. So, no single moment or epiphany is responsible for creating the ‘me’ I am today. More along the lines of a bunch of moments jumbled together. Sometimes these moments become knotted up or frayed, and strained to capacity, just as in life, and that’s okay.
For me, each day is a new commitment to do better, to be better, to get it right. Some days I pull it off, and I’m more shocked than anyone else. At other times, not so much and I fall dismally short. Those are tough to get through. I have to do better.
6. What's a place in the world you have not yet visited but would like to and why?
That’s a long, long list. The world has so many beautiful places I have yet to see and experience. To be honest, I’m not sure if extensive traveling is my cards, so I have made it my life goal to touch lives instead. I do that by writing and letting my words and books travel for me. I LOVE knowing that my novels have been around the world. Read on different continents. I sometimes permit myself to imagine a Reader in some faraway land sitting on their couch, curled up under a blanket, sipping tea or coffee and lost between the pages of one of my stories … and when done they sigh because in some miraculous and marvelous way those words touched their hearts–that is everything to me.
7. Lastly, if there was one thing in the world you could change or see changed, what would it be?
Racism. I’d like it to disappear and never be permitted to return. And when it leaves, it can take along with its sexism, bigotry, misogyny, ageism, nationalism, and all the other ‘isms’ that contaminate our planet. Speaking of contaminating our planet- I’d really appreciate it if people stopped feeling entitled to treat our water, land, and air like a cesspool … like right now. Preferably this minute. Thank you.
Regarding change, April, I’d love to see people change their hearts. Stop-listen-and learn. Take the time to realize that this world is a complicate place with complicated lives–filled with people just like them who are all trying to etch out a life they can call their own. A life free from the fear of attack, bullying, objectifying, harassment and discrimination.
We are all on this planet for a small dusting of time. You would think we would wise up and spend this gift more wisely.
Q7 Corner: Author Interviews
A.L.Deleon loves to find and interview authors, Indie or Traditional. This is where you'll find all the details of those interview spotlights. Typically you'll find her asking seven questions of each author featured.