Q1. Please tell us something about yourself?
I have worn several hats – that of an Author, a Communications Director, an Editor, Digital Content Specialist, Stereo Compositor and a Rotoscopy Artist. I am a recipient of the University Gold Medal for English Literature (Aligarh Muslim University) and have a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. My debut novel, ‘The Price of Our Silence’ has been well received by the readers. I loved exploring new places and I have trekked in the mountains, explored underground limestone caves, and slept under the stars in New Zealand. I now live in India with my parents and an ever-ready suitcase.
Q2. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Every book I write as a challenge in itself. There are new obstacles to overcome every time on this journey to fulfill my dream of becoming a renowned author one day.
I have always been interested in writing stories even as a kid. I have several unfinished drafts in my drawer waiting to be polished into a Children’s book series. I was a member of Creative Writing Club during college and my pieces were published in the University magazine. So in a way I have been writing for about ten-fifteen years now. But I took up professional writing in 2012 as an Assistant scriptwriter and then a Content Developer for school course books. It was in 2015 that I began writing my first published novel, ‘The Price of Our Silence’.
Q4. How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the genre, the research involved and the amount of self-editing required. It took me 8 months to write the first draft of my debut novel and then 2 years to polish the work and get it ready for publishing. For the biography commissioned by my publisher on ‘Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw’ I took 3-4 months to submit the manuscript after thorough research.
Q6. How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
I have always been fascinated by storytelling. My journey as a fiction writer began as a kid who spent hours with her siblings enacting new stories with stuffed toys. Since I was the elder one, it was upon me to come up with new plots daily. When I grew up, I wanted to preserve those memories with my siblings, so I started penning down those stories at the age of 12, I think. Later on those short stories took the shape of unfinished drafts of two and half novels during my graduation period. After a master’s degree in Creative writing, I wrote ‘The Price of Our Silence’ and finally fulfilled my dream of taking my readers on a tour of the world I see. And as for the biography on ‘Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw’, my Publisher came up with the idea and I found it interesting enough to pursue.
Q7. What inspired you to write your first book?
Everyone is fascinated by the 3D movies we watch in theatres. Often on noticing the Indian production houses that contributed to the conversion of these Hollywood blockbusters from 2D to 3D, one wonders what a glamorous job that would be. I wanted to expose the reality of this industry that hadn’t been talked about at all in the Indian literary circle, to depict the increasing capitalist nature of the contemporary Indian society. Using this as the backdrop, I came up with a tale of few friends who go through the various issues in life as faced by the youngsters today ranging from simple struggles of youthful attraction and jealousy to more serious ones like abortion, marriage and career choices, from the joy of the first kiss to the shock of fatal illness, from silly pranks and antics to serious life changing steps of life.
Q8. Please tell us something more about your upcoming book?
My upcoming book is a collection of short stories that address the social evils in India against men & women, such as gender violence, patriarchy and other maladies in the society. I have come up with an interesting (I hope J ) way to depict such serious issues in a balanced way. More details will be announced by the end of this year.
Q9. What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
This might sound cheesy, but my best accomplishment was the pride in my parents’ eyes when they were invited on stage to reveal my book, ‘The Price of Our Silence’ during the book launch. I can never forget that moment.
Q10. What’s something you are really good at that few people know about?
I love to sketch although I don’t get enough time to pursue this hobby as regularly as I wish to. But recently one of my sketches was selected by ‘Breakthrough India’ for their ‘Redraw Misogyny’ campaign and I was then asked to illustrate it to spread awareness about the need to change the narrative on gender based violence.
Q11. Can you share with us the best way to reach you and where to learn more about your books?
My perspective on various topics ranging from contemporary ones faced by women to religious ones can be found on my 'Creative Space' at www.hanadifalki.com. To get my latest updates, follow my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHanadiFalki/
Or simply shoot an email to email@example.com.
Q12. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The major challenge that I faced in writing ‘The Price of Our Silence’ was exposition and detailed descriptions of the environment where the scene was set. After writing the first draft I found my book to be dialogue heavy and had to make conscious efforts to balance it with narrative and descriptions. This was a challenge I was more than happy to undertake.
Q13. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
I believe that the reading/writing world has many challenges to face in this digital age. The e-books are an answer to this challenge but I believe nothing beats the joy of holding a book in your hand and letting it consume your mind as you turn its pages.
Q14. If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Read, read and read more. I have done my share of reading when I was younger but I still think I would be a better writer if I read more, learn from the classics and appreciate the contemporary literary works as well.
Q15. Let me now ask something about myself, how was the interview?? Some thing you want to say about me?
It feels good to know that young minds like yours are getting their due recognition. I wish you all the best for your future endeavors.
Q16. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I am not reading or writing stories, I’m probably watching FRIENDS reruns or planning my next trip.
Q17. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I believe that every book that one reads leaves an impression on us, making us grow a little wiser, expanding our understanding of the art of writing. Even the bad books leave us with a lesson of how not to make the same mistakes those authors did. Having said that, if I had to choose a single mentor, I would say, Jane Austen. Her works fascinate me. They provide an interesting insight into the everyday life and the society of that era. Her stories are always witty and amusing with memorable characters that are realistic and full of life. Like her, I wish to depict our society with complete honesty and in an engaging manner for the future generations.
Q18. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am not at liberty to disclose any information about the current biography that I am commissioned to write. But I can tell you for sure that it is another inspiring personality whose humble beginning and current success can provide a life-changing lesson for others.
Q19. What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?
I made it to the HNN National Bulletin when the Book Launch event of 'The Price of Our Silence' was reported with such enthusiasm. All the congratulatory messages and calls made it a humbling experience and I am grateful for such a positive response from my readers. That was the biggest surprise I experienced after becoming an author.
Q20. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I see a lot of negativity on social media nowadays. I would just like to tell people not to indulge in spreading more hatred. Life is full of positive and negative moments, it is up to us which one we focus on. You have this one life, one chance to do everything you can, to leave an impact... What do you truly want to do with the time you have been given? Just one life my friend, Live and let Live!
Q21. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
My advice to other aspiring writers is never to give up on your dreams. It might take a while, but when you finally reach there, believe me, it is worth all the effort. And if you are looking for writing tips, you can check out my blog ‘The Writer’s Cocoon’. Best wishes for your writing.
Q22. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Keep reading, your are the reason we authors exists… And for those who left reviews for my book, thank you so much for taking the time out and letting me know how the book affected you. Your feedback is precious and I am indebted to you for encouraging me to write better.