I was in grade 7 and bunking PE when I read Tolkien’s Two Towers from the LOTR trilogy.
I know what you’re thinking. Certified nerd! I remember what I was thinking. Where had this book been all my life?!
I loved it. I can’t recall the scenes I’d read then but I remember how transfixing Tolkien's Middle Earth was. I instantly wanted to write something like it.
But such dreams are easily forgotten in the wake of building a real career.
I went ahead and enrolled in a business college and did my MBA with tinselly rainbow colors making a tiara out of my nerd cap. It was a good day. And it was a good year at the bank. But the best time was when I landed at an ad agency’s creative department to write jingles and slogans and slaughter both my languages (Urdu and English) in the process. I learned a lot there. I wrote a lot there. And I became apt in the art of killing my own brainchildren a.k.a self-editing.
Then, I got married. Moved to the United States and started a family.
For two years I was a good stay-at-home mom. Then, I thought I could be good at something else too. I couldn’t decide on what exactly till I stumbled upon my old diary – a leftover from my baby and teen years. I read all the poems and stories I’d written therein; ranging from an ode to Mom to a soul searching monologue. I realized I wasn’t bad. If I worked on my talent I could turn it into a skill. And perhaps be able to write like the numerous authors who’d inspired me for years. A lost afternoon in the school library from so long ago made its way into my present and I remembered the perfect Legolas. I remembered the imperfect Quasimodo, the roguish Rhett Butler and the ruthless Rory Frost too.
Suddenly, I wanted to create such characters and write their stories instilled with M. M. Kaye like descriptions and Crichton like research and Grisham like authenticity all tied together with intense moods borrowed from Victoria Holt. Tolkien’s magic dust and King’s dark secrets would just be the cherry and powdered sugar on top.
I enrolled in a writing program immediately and earned my diploma. Next I wrote and edited for a newbie magazine. Wrote two children’s books and put them both up for sale on www.lulu.com (5 Kids and 5 Snowmen and Boondon Ka Khel: The Playful Game of the Tiny Water Droplets).
And now it’s Aoife and Demon.
It’s taken me a little less than four decades to realize that dream. And I am not alone in this. I have Shami to cheer by my side as this was her dream too. Aoife and Demon is our first novel. We are both proud and scared at this delicate turn in our writing lives but eager to take the plunge.
We hope you celebrate it with us!
As far back as I can remember, the two most consistent companions in my life have been Nutella and books.
I read everything I can get my hands on but my favorite genre has always been fantasy. I must say I have to thank Enid Blyton for that. At age 7, I got the chance to read Faraway Tree and I was hooked.
So much so, that for an English Assignment later on in Grade 7, I wrote a story in lines of my favorite genre. I still remember my teacher’s words; “Shamila, your imagination is all over the place and is a bit out of control.” So that was that! The thought of writing never even crossed my mind again and I continued to devour one book after another, much to the annoyance of my mother who did not approve of me reading over eating.
Life went on: education, marriage, family till the day I got to know Humeira who motivated me into writing again.
And so, here we are: Imagination still out of control and a book we have really enjoyed writing.
I really hope that everyone who reads it loves it as much as we do. Since that will give us the excuse to finish up the series by writing part 2.