Interview with Nagwa Malik

What are your five favorite books, and why?
I have always loved mysteries, and having been a literature student, I got to sample some of the best written books that were not mysteries. So, I have my all time favourites: Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton, and writers like Robert Ludlum and Michael Connelly, and then there's Margret Atwood and Pascal.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read thrillers and cozy mysteries.
Describe your desk
My desk, when I had one, was large, polished wood and the draws filled with papers. Then I had to shift all my folders into my shelf, and soon I ended up not needing a desk at all since all my work is done on my laptop.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Nigeria, where I spent at least 9 years of my life. These were, like most of us know our childhood to be, perhaps the best years of my life- a lot of travelling visiting families in the UK and Pakistan, visiting friends in the MIddle East. Travelling all over Nigeria with friends. And our lives were so busy and social, not a weekend went by without our entertaining someone or some one entertaining us. I grew up with different people of different nations and cultures and religions and we all never even thought of such things.
Then we shifted to Pakistan, my parents' homeland. It was tough, to be honest, living in a country that was so different. But, like all countries, it had its pluses. Pakistani people are too free and they love their freedom too much. They are also very proud of their nationality. They are very outgoing, and being in Lahore, the capital of foods and shopping and education and bureaucracy and showbiz and gardens and historical monuments, one got to understand the joie de vivre the Lahoris are known for. Pakistan is like God's miracle: a small pocket in the world which holds the essence of the whole world with its landscape beauty, its weathers, its different races of people and its resources. And I began to realise why other countries obsessed over Pakistan.
I have lived in three different continents in the world: Africa, Asia and Europe and because of that I saw the world differently. I realised that I gave people too much credit for seeing the world the way i did. It took me years to stop giving people that benefit and to educate them on their narrow view of the world and its different cultures.
So, when I began writing as a child, I just loved words, I loved forming them, writing them, and printing them. I wrote adventures for children and I wrote simple stories. When I grew older and saw what I saw; I became obsessed with showing others what they refused to see. To me honesty is everything. To me, timing is also everything. As a child I knew whatever I said would not be heard. Now, as an adult, teaching in Universities, I know this is the time to be heard over issues that people refuse to listen to because it's uncomfortable for them. Add that to my love for thrillers and adventures...
Having majored in Literature and Journalism, and then arming myself with a Masters' in Script-writing, I decided I would love to use all I learnt with all I knew and bend a few rules in creative license- I like doing things unconventionally it seems :)
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is a political spy thriller set in three different continents, and narrated in three different "dialects" of the English language: Colonial, British and American.
Today’s world is a world of conspiracies—too many of them. But what if, fantastically, many of them actually dovetail to form a fine spidery web of truth? What if ancient myths are not myths anymore- what if they never were? What if politics was always an embodiment of those very myths?
It certainly seems so as Tanya, the Pakistani spy, is commissioned to find and disclose the truth behind the war of terror- trails leading her to the West, and then back again to Pakistan to effect a closure only to find that in order to achieve true closure one has to travel again, not countries this time, but centuries...
The Mist is a secret agency, and it's agents are called Knights. As a Knight, Tanya's job is to steer Pakistan clear of it all, so that Pakistan could get on with it's operation-cleanup regarding corrupt politicians and re-securing the country on all levels without the distractions of foreign interference.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Since I shifted back to Pakistan, I wanted to publish my books locally. However, in Pakistan there is no such thing as "traditional publishing", which means that in Pakistan even traditional publishers require the writer to pay for publishing his book and markets his own book too. This does not help at all. So, I looked for other alternatives where I was sure that spending money, investing on a book I have worked so hard for, would be worth at least putting my book out there in the world, instead of sticking to a very limited amount of audience. Indie publishing was my first instinct: that way I could still be in control of my work and be able to make it reader-friendly, and get my work across without getting struck down by limitations of any kind, physical or financial.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was eleven years old.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
To be honest, when I write I do not think of how many copies I can sell. When I write, I just write and my fingers/pen do the thinking for me. It is spontaneous. The story becomes alive, the characters take own a life of their own, and I just follow them. That is what I love about it.
Of course when it comes to editing and re-writing that is when the fun stops :)
What do your fans mean to you?
A real honest feedback is everything to me. I have finished writing part two of THE MIST, and throughout the process I have asked those who read the first part to give me as much feedback as they could so that I could implement that on the second part. Readers are the best critics, in my opinion.
What are you working on next?
I am working on Stage Two of THE MIST. I have finished writing it and am in the process of editing it. Fingers crossed!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My students
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I work on many things: I tend to work on more than one book at a time, so I am always working on a book, when I am not teaching or busy keeping myself up to date on my profession as a script-writer.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I browse the net a lot of new content, when I am not visiting my favourite bookstore. There was a time when we were students, our group of friends were all voracious readers. We would talk of new books and new writers. But now life is busy and different. Kobo is a really nice place to bring out to its readers' attention the new books and the new writers...that helps a lot.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My first story that I wrote was an adventure series for children abut a group of children trying to do their best to save the environment. I never worked on one book, so suffice it to say it was one of the three first stories I worked on simultaneously. But the first book that I published was THE TERRIFIC THREE in the 1990s. It sold well- so much so that even my college mates bought them off me personally for their nieces and nephews. I was a teenager then, and my dad had published it for me- to be honest I did not expect it to do well so I was pleasantly surprised.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember we read many books- my parents were avid readers and made us that: I remember the first comic book I bought, but I remember the first books we read were most probably Peter and Jane series.
Who are your favorite authors?
Agatha Christie every time!
Published 2016-03-07.
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Books by This Author

The Mist Stage Two: The Culmination (second edition)
Series: The Mist. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 210,070. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
(4.60 from 5 reviews)
The future has already come and what was fiction is now a reality- politics is not just politics and everyone is effected even if one doesn't want to be: is the global mass uniting under corporate governments? Can Pakistan still save itself or is it too late?
The Mist Stage One: The Prelude
Series: The Mist. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 71,990. Language: English. Published: November 19, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
Rated 5 Stars..."The Mist" is a spy novel, much in the lines of Jason Bourne, dealing with today’s conspiracies, mostly political, and regarding intelligence agencies. Tanya, a Pakistani black ops agent, also known as a "Knight" belongs to a secret intelligence agency "The Mist". Her job is to penetrate all groups that show signs of terrorist activities and to find out who runs them.