Kazima Wajahat is not only a published children’s book author, but also a mother, a parent coach and a speech language pathologist! Kazima not only embraces her role as a mother and her role as a professional, but also as someone who has the skills and passion for them. From my interview with her, I discovered that she is a dreamer and an achiever ما شاء. Let’s get to know her:
R. You are an author, a speech language pathologist, a writer and a parent coach! ما شاء الله,, you have so many important roles in your life in addition to being a mother! How do you balance it all?
K. I laughed out loud at this because quite honestly a lot of the time I feel like I don’t. But the times that I do, I do A LOT of bullet journaling, documenting, planning, and reflecting. I used to be the kind of person that would want to take on anything and everything and overcome it, but over the years I’ve come to realize how important it is for me to simplify and prioritize to create quality work and accomplish my dreams. I’ve also accepted the fact that there will be times where everything will be chaos and that is totally okay.
R. What books have you written and who is your target audience?
K. Launched in 2017, Mikaeel and Malaika is a series called, The Quest for Allah’s Love. Also, last Ramadan, I released my second book in the same series called, The Power of Dua. I also wrote two ebooks as part of the Mikaeel and Malaika series (available on my website) called, A Quarantine Ramadan and Super Birthday Gratitude. Finally, in August of this year, I launched my newest series called The Salams beginning with Cranky Kareem Says Alhamdulillah as the first installment. Both series are geared towards children 2-10 years of age. I feel like every child reflects and absorbs them at a different level. I’ve had parents of 1-year-old children say that their little ones love the books as well. It truly is a joy to see and hear about how children perceive them.
R. Does your experience in communication and psychology impact your writing? If so, how?
K. Absolutely. Each book is carefully written, keeping the child’s psychology and development in mind. My writing is also formatted to increase speech, language, and social communication in children using speech and language methodologies. Our writing is shaped by our experiences. We create and mold using the tools we hold. That’s the beautiful thing about writing. There are so many stories out there yet no two will be alike.
R. Tell us about yourself and your background. What about it has shaped who you are today?
K. I love answering this question because every time someone asks this, I’m pretty sure I answer differently since we are constantly molding, changing, and reflecting. So, I have a background in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology as well as in Psychology and hold a Masters of Science in Communication Disorders. I’ve been working as an SLP since 2011 and took a brief break when my son was born and started back up again when he was about two years old and I was expecting my daughter. It was wonderful, الحمدلله, but I felt like leaving behind a legacy. At the time, I thought entering the professional world again was the answer. But a year or two following this, it became clear to me that it was not. I needed creative fulfillment and a higher purpose. That’s when I revisited my love for writing and married it with my love for reading and became an author. I am still working as an SLP only so I can fund my passion until it finally becomes self-sustaining one day, إِنْ شَاءَ ٱللَّٰهُ.
After I launched my first book, I started Instagram and became more active in the social media world. Throughout the journey, I began sharing more about myself and my background and realized how much of a need there was for parent education and coaching. That’s when I started parent coaching on the side as well as using my platform to discuss pertinent issues to empower our mothers for themselves and the sake of their children.
I guess to answer your question, in hindsight, it might have seemed easier to have known from the beginning that I was going to be here at the end. But then, it’s not a journey is it? Everything that I have accomplished, failed at, or experienced has brought me to where I am today. And without all of it, I wouldn’t be where I am.
R. What books/authors do you like to read and recommend?
K. Oh. So. Many. Of course I can go on and on about my favorite mainstream authors, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, but would love to highlight some talented Muslim children’s authors as well: Zanib Mian, Fawzia Gilani, Khadija Khaki, Heba Subeh-Hyder, Shamsa Ahmed, Hira Rizvi… Honestly, I have two bookshelves filled with authors I absolutely love so I could literally go on all day.
R. Tell us about your publishing history and journey.
K. As with any new venture, publishing was a learning curve. Figuring out how to without little guidance. Finding individuals I could trust. Making sure I’m not overlooking anything. Learning how to create something I’ve envisioned, but also making it match the demand of your audience. Staying true to myself. Without the struggle, there is no achievement.
R. What advice do you have for aspiring childrens’ book authors?
K. Definitely going to refer back to my previous answer: Do not lose your voice in the process of chasing success.
R. Where can we get these books?
K. All my books are available on my website at kazimawajahat.com and some major retailers in various countries as well.
R. How can we follow your journey (links, blog)?