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Interview with Lamiya Siraj

She is a freelance writer, blogger, and author based in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Her interests are multifarious as her experiences in life. She has held several varied jobs in the past. Her writeups have got placed in different publications in the reader’s and the letter’s column in renowned newspapers in UAE & India. She has also participated in various anthologies with varied publications and loves writing, reading, traveling, photography, blogging, and sports. All her time is dedicated to her hobbies. She loves spending time with her daughter the most.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I am a simple person who believes in ‘simple living and high thinking.’ But at the same time, I have a child in me who is very notorious and wants to do pranks all the time in life with the loved one. I at times surprise myself when I become a kid who is younger than my daughter and leaves her to her amusement of who is the daughter and who is the mother in the house - types. I am a big movie fan of thrillers and murder mysteries. I am an understanding person but at the same time highly emotional and a bit reserved for my loved ones. I cannot tolerate sorrow and see anyone in pain. I look strong, but I am too sensitive to see someone in pain around me. Last but not least, I easily get ignited when someone disrespect or insults me. I cannot tolerate lies or wrong deeds.

Q.2 Do you have any upcoming books? What are you currently working on?
My debut novel Destined to Heal Within recently got launched in May 2021. After that, I took a short break to re-energize myself, but at the same time, the new characters took birth for my next project. So, yes, I have started my work on the new project.

Q.3 When did you decide to write Destined to Heal Within?
Good question, as it has taken me back to my memory lane. One day I saw a few birds sitting on my window panel and were chirping. There were not just two or three but dozens of them. After observing them for a few minutes, I didn’t know what struck me that I opened my laptop and started writing. And in no time, I was done with the initial two pages. This is how the storyline started, and I have kept it as it is in the novel.

Q.4 How do you come up with the name of your books?
I went through a ride while thinking about the title of my novel. As the story went forward, many titles kept occurring. Also, I was in a dilemma whether to go for a short title that is one or two words or a longer one. But by the time I reached the climax and the end of my novel, I was affirmative with the word destined. This is how the title got finalized.

Q.5 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Be more focused and allot more writing hours to yourself.

Q.6 How do you select the name of your characters?
I want the names of my characters to be unique as well as meaningful. Like they reflect their personalities as per their names in the story.

Q.7 Is your book inspired by a certain person/event/memory, etc.?
Inspirations are everywhere around us. I am an observer. So yes, I do remember such incidents. But my novel is completely fictional. So, any relevance to such a thing is purely coincidental.

Q.8 How long does it take you to write a book?
Well, it depends. There is no confirmed answer to the question in the form of time duration for this. It often takes months, and if one is completely into it, then a miracle can happen in a month or even days.

Q.9 What were your feelings when your novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
Overwhelming, unbelievable, excited, and many such mixed emotions overflowed.

Q.10 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I have written two books. One is non-fiction based on real-life experiences known as One Step Ahead, and the second is my debut novel, Destined to Heal Within. Both are my favorite till now and close to my heart.

Q.11 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
I was highly confused about the answer to this question when I sought help from none other than my daughter. Her reply amazed me; I would like to share it here with all: “Mamma, you are not ordinary. You are someone who takes the inspiration from the most common thing from your surroundings and then writes amazing stuff or stories on the same.” I still cannot stop smiling reading this…

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
Yes, I do believe in writer’s block. However, as many learned and experienced people suggested, I also follow the same steps mentioned below.

1. Take a break.
2. Jump ahead. I write and keep it aside and decide later on where they fit the best.
3. Do something else in between writings.
4. Set a deadline.
5. Freewrite.

Q.13 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
Yes, of course, I read my book reviews. Positive reviews fill me up with confidence to go forward with my work, and bad reviews help me to improve and enhance my writing skills, to impress all the four categories of hardcore readers, i.e.,

1. Tactics Readers
2. Aware Readers
3. Strategic Readers.
4. Reflective Readers.

Q.14 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
There are many books I have read a few times and still can read on for more few times. Some of them are:

1. Alchemist by Paul Coelho - It truly helped me visualize pyramids and the entire journey with so much wisdom to read in the whole novel.

2. A Thousand Splendid Sun by Khaled Hosseini - I felt like I had visited Afghanistan so many times while reading the novel. But the fact remains that I have never got a chance to visit Afghanistan. While reading the novel, I felt so connected with all the characters, especially the character of Mariam.

3. The Famous Five by Enid Blyton (all series). I have been a big fan since my school days.

Q.15 How do your family/friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
They all feel proud of me in the writing world. Initially, when I started my writing and my articles got published, it was a shock and a surprise for them. They couldn’t believe it. But now they don’t stop inquiring about my new article or project.

Q.16 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
No, I don’t have a set formula. I give it a free flow. Characters start coming up. For the plot, yes, I have to sit and do lots of brainstorming.

Q.17 What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
First, of course, be unique, start writing down your story, and at the end, if it doesn’t come out as expected, it’s okay. Maybe the way you ended is the way it had to end and not the way you expected. Take opinions and suggestions from your dear ones too. It will help you improvise your content.

Q.18 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. To start with, my first challenge is I don’t want to be judgmental, nor do I want to be biased, so I let my mind and thoughts be free to create them. Then, I mold them according to the demand of the story.

Q.19 What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing this book?
If I have to answer this question in brief, I would say ‘Opinion matters.’

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
While writing the plot and constructing the manuscript, it was an amazing journey, and I was happy. Still, once it reached the publication house and the proofreading and editing process started, honestly, I found it too stressful. Still, then it is alright as it’s worth doing.

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  1. I don't know you are author and writing a books,previous year visited in Mumbai, you have not disclosed so it's very surprising to me.

    1. Yes. I have already written two books and my new project is in process. Need your blessings. Thank you 🙏