Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Mehreen Ahmed

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Genre: 
Historical Fiction
Publisher: Cosmic Teapot Publishing
Publication Date: May 11, 2017
Pages: 300 pages
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About the Book

In 1866, Peter Baxter’s misfortune ends the day he leaves Badgerys Creek orphanage. Unsure of what to do next, Peter finds himself on a farm run by Mr. Brown. An aging man, Brown needs help and is happy to give Peter a place to live in exchange for his labor. Unbeknownst to Peter, Brown’s past is riddled with dark secrets tied to the same orphanage, which he has documented in a red folder.

During a chance encounter, Peter meets Rose. Peter cannot help but fall in love with her beauty, grace, and wit but fears that his affection will go unrequited as a result of his crippling poverty. But fate changes when Peter joins the search for gold in Hill End, New South Wales. Striking it rich, he returns to Rose a wealthy man. Peter is changed by his new found affluence, heading towards the mire of greed. Will Rose regret her relationship with Peter?

Meanwhile, Rose has her own troubled history. One that is deeply entwined with Brown’s past and Peter’s future.

Interview:

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I have always been attracted to reading and writing. Before I went into publishing, I maintained a regular diary. I didn’t publish until 1987 in Canada. A few journalistic write ups for the campus newspaper at the University of Saskatchewan, The Sheaf set me off. I embarked on a writing career, as I published academic articles and reviews in peer review journals. Since 2011, I decided to become a fiction writer. I have two MA degrees, one in English Literature and the other in Applied Linguistics.

What inspired you to write?
When ideas pop into my mind I feel like writing them down. Nothing inspires me so much as does nature. The sound of the winds move me as much as a sunset on the beach or the falling of rain. Every object in nature inspires me.

What inspired your novel?
I was drawn by the adventure of the gold rush period in Australia. I find this era really romantic and worth talking about. That people had poured in from so many countries throughout Europe and Asia to strike it rich, to give it a go. There was a madness for gold collection. But it wasn’t until I had gone to see a lighthouse in Cape Byron that I was truly moved to write this story. That beacon forced me to reflect on the cape’s history. That’s really what started it.

What is the genre?
Historical fiction.

What draws you to this genre?
The magic of the past pulls me towards this genre. I am very fond of history.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?
I have a few ideas about what I want to write and I jot a few notes down but for me, the creative process is quite messy. I delve into the first draft almost right away and see where the story takes me. Same with the characters, they speak to me when a situation arises. I get to discover them as the story develops.

What inspired your protagonist?
The corporate world. I observed how the corporate world operates and drew inspiration from that.

What inspired your antagonist?
I also observed how the vulnerable are exploited by institutions. I imagined a typical situation where such tortures could take place. I created my antagonist based on that.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The hardest part was to make sure that the historical accounts were accurate. I had do thorough research on many aspects of that era to make the details authentic. It was not just the gold rush period, but other facets of life such as food, clothing, utensils, bathrooms, architecture, the pay structure and their livelihood, in general. Everything had to be minutely researched before they could be pieced together.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?
The dreams and the wavering thoughts were my favourite segments. Presenting them as they occurred in the characters’ minds.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
I am a full time writer.

What are you currently reading?
Tender is the Night by Fitzgerald.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?
I like many authors but if I had to choose, I’d say Virginia Woolf. I was deeply moved by Mrs. Dalloway.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
Generally speaking, I like introspective books and those written in a stream of consciousness style. I’m going to skip this one because I can’t narrow it down to five.

What are your future projects, if any?
I am writing a novella at the moment. It’s very early in development, so there isn’t much to talk about yet.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
People can contact me through Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. They can also send email through Cosmic Teapot Publishing. I’m always happy to hear from readers.

Contact Links:
FB: https://www.facebook.com/mehreen.ahmed.3551
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MehreenAhmed2
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5267169.Mehreen_Ahmed
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mehreen-Ahmed/e/B005L6HMHM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Website: http://www.cosmicteapot.net

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
Read a lot first and then create your own. Because one learns about the craft of writing through reading other books.

 

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