The Good Mother
1- Have you ever had a penpal?
I had so many pen pals growing up - it was an amazing way to experience the world before social media. I had penfriends in Canada, Germany, Ghana, France, and loved receiving their letters every month.
2- What five words represent your most notable characteristic or values? #In5Words
Hard-working, focused, determined, empathetic, and slightly obsessive!
3- Living in Dubai, have you been at the top (level 148) of the Burj Khalifa?
I have! My husband took me there and it was an incredible sight from the top.
4- Can you share a story from your life that shows who you are as a person and why you are a writer?
It doesn’t explain why I’m a writer but feedback is so important to me. I had one reader message me to say that she hadn't read for so long as she was so busy working and looking after her children. She told me that she enjoyed The Good Mother so much that she's now determined to get back into reading again and making a little time for herself again. It’s stories like this, that make all the hard work worthwhile.
5- What ignited your passion for writing?
I'd love to be able to tell you the answer to that - there's never been one moment or incident. Since I was a child, I have always written; diaries, stories, letters....it's more of a need. It doesn't quite make sense to me either!
6- Do you ever get recognized/identified in public as being on the "Ahlan’s Hot 100 People" 2017 edition?
No, however, that was a great moment and the photo shoot was a lot of fun. To be recognised as contributing to the UAE's cultural landscape was a great honour.
7- Would you share a picture with us of your book surrounded by luxury?
8- What are some of your short and long term writing goals?
I currently have a three-book deal with Head of Zeus and currently working on my second book. I have a goal to have a first rough draft written before Christmas and ready to send to my editor early 2018.
9- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?
That person is my husband. When I asked him this question, he replied: "Knowing the circumstances in which you wrote it." He is referring to the fact that I was pregnant with my second son and very tired looking after my toddler!
10- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?
The theme of motherhood is present throughout the book and I'm sure some of the scenes will resonate with mothers everywhere. But for me, books have always provided an escape - a chance to relax from work or obligations and I hope The Good Mother does this as well.
11- In your opinion, is it better for the average person with a small budget to engage in experiential travel or transformational travel, and why?
Any type of travel in my opinion is worth doing – you can always discover something new about yourself.
12- What most helped you to improve your writing craft?
My editor, Sarah Ritherdon – she’s fantastic and I really admire how she can take a manuscript and improve it.
13- Did you have other titles in mind for the book before it went to publication?
Yes, the original submission for The Good Mother was called Dear Michael.
14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?
The colour red is mentioned a few times in The Good Mother for different characters and is a symbol of danger.
15- #DiversityBingo2017 What's your favorite book that covers a square on the card?
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
16- Which character has your favorite Personality Contradiction?
All three characters – Catherine, Alison, and Kate have personality contradictions and it’s difficult to choose one. Probably Kate though – she loves her children and wants to be a good mother but feels frustrated at the same time.
17- Can you think of any small change in the world you could make to benefit hundreds of other authors or readers potentially?
It’s not a small change but using libraries regularly and supporting book shops is my way.
18- As a reader, what most motivates you to buy a new book to read?
It depends on the situation but usually the description on the back of the book is the deciding factor for me.
19- How will you measure your publishing performance?
As a debut novelist, I have had tremendous support from my agent and publishing house, not just writing the book but also promoting it. I will measure commercial success mainly by book sales and feedback in the market.
20- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
This was mainly taken out of my hands as I won the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature Montegrappa Writing Award. As part of that prize, I had the support of an agent who helped me go down the traditional route of publishing as opposed to self-publishing.
21- What is one question (or discussion topic) which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?
Can you think of any small change in the world you could make to benefit hundreds of other authors or readers potentially?
22- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
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The Good Mother