As a young girl, Farah spent many hours with her head buried in books of mystery, intrigue and adventure. The inevitable outcome was picking up pen and paper to create her own stories and poems, which she enjoyed sharing with family, friends and classmates alike. Farah has spent most of her life working with words, something that she loves doing. One of her greatest treats to herself is curling up with a good book and getting lost in it. Her love of reading coupled with her love of writing gave Farah the impetus to start her journey as an author. Farah presently lives in New York with her family. Visit her at https://www.farahzamanauthor.com
Papatia Feauxzar: Assalamu aleikum Farah, welcome to Hayati Magazine. Can you please tell us something we don’t know about you and how was your journey through publishing (self) and (traditional)?
Farah Zaman: Wa Alaikum Assalaam. It’s my pleasure to be featured in Hayati Magazine. Thanks for giving me this opportunity. Hmm…something you don’t know about me. Let’s see…except for my relatives and close friends, my social media cohorts don’t know that I was born in South America. Yep, in a little-known country called Guyana. It used to be British Guiana until it got independence from Britain and became simply Guyana, meaning Land of Many Waters in the native language. My ancestors migrated from India in the mid-1800s and settled in Guyana. So, there’s quite a large diaspora of Indians living there. Eventually, I migrated with my family to the US in the early 1990s.
As for my publishing journey, it has been quite an eye-opening experience. I’ve opted to self-publish. Therefore, it’s been a steep learning curve. I’ve found that self-publishing has both its advantages and disadvantages. I like that I’m involved in every step of the process and that ultimately, I have control over the contents of my books. I’m grateful, too, that this option is available for me. This has allowed me to share my books with the world.
However, self-publishing is quite costly if you want to produce professional quality books, and if I wasn’t working full-time, I’d never be able to afford it.
The other downside is that you’re solely responsible for promoting and marketing your books; an area of an author’s life I still struggle with. But alhamdullilah, I’ve met some wonderful people along the way who have helped me along my journey, and I’m thankful for that.
PF: You are officially the third person I know from Guyana! Interesting! Now, please tell us about your YA book series titled The Moon of Masarrah.
FZ: I started writing the first book, The Moon of Masarrah, because there were very few books out there for the tweens and teens age group. I realized this when I was looking to buy books for my own teenagers. That’s when the idea came to me to write a series featuring Muslim teenage protagonists who were clever, capable and smart enough to save the day. I had always been a voracious reader, but I had never really considered a career as a writer. But the idea grew on me until I decided to give it a shot. So one night, I went down to the basement and the rest is history, as they say.
PF: Book 4 of the series launches on August 10th 2021. Congratulations, masha’Allah! Please tell us a little bit about this tome and the challenges you faced while writing it.
FZ: For the most part, I had a great time writing Beneath the Crimson Circle. The inspiration came from my trip to Egypt in 2018. I visited the Catacombs of Qom el Shoqofa in Alexandria and the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, where a lot of archaeological excavations are being done. Then we drove a hundred miles into the desert to Siwa Oasis and stayed in a chalet there. These were experiences that I drew heavily from for my book. The research was the most grueling part. To make the characters and setting authentic, I had to delve into the world of archaeology. And then I had to figure out how to drip feed the information into the book, so as to enhance it and not weigh it down. One of the risks an author faces when doing research is the tendency to create info dumps. I think in the end, I was able to balance it out.
PF: I agree. Do you plan on writing more books in this series or are there plans to start another series?
FZ: I’m writing one more book in the series before I call it quits. If all goes well, it should be out next summer. I do have plans for another series, so I’m looking forward to that, insha’Allah.
PF: Do you write in other genres?
FZ: I have written three books in other genres but they’re sitting in my files in various stages of editing. I might follow up on one of them but the other two will probably never see the light of publication unless I give them a second chance. I guess it will all depend on the publishing norms when the time comes.
PF: Farah, thank you for being with us. The Team at Hayati Magazine wishes you much more success with all your works, aameen! Please share with us your social media links so our readers can get to know you better.
FZ: Please see below.