Interview with Maryum Mohsin

What is the story behind the Muslim Scientists and Scholars series?
I was a great student through high school and college, attentive and active. Moreover, I taught and wrote course materials for math, science, and English. Yet, in all the materials I read and reviewed, I never heard mention of these amazing Muslim scientists and scholars. Their contributions were enormous but it seemed completely neglected. When I was living in Pakistan, I thought it would be a great idea to write an informational series like this to broaden awareness.

My children, Umlayla Mohsin and Abulhasan Mohsin, were 16 and 7 years old at the time. They worked together to make all the illustrations in the books.
What are you working on next?
I am working on the Science Is Fun series. This series comprises nine stories designed to introduce basic science concepts to children (preschool-8) in a fun, interesting, easy to understand way. Concepts covered include the solar system, origin of the wind, insects, plants, the six systems of the human body, the five senses, and birds. Each story features young children engaging in positive interaction with family and friends as they explore the magical world around us. The series also includes a Teacher’s Guide with Things To Do that reinforce concepts discussed in the stories. I plan to publish this series as soon as I have them properly illustrated.
What do your fans mean to you?
Well, since I’m only publishing for the first time, at this point, I don’t have any fans aside from friends and family who are basically always fans (I hope). Therefore, my ‘future’ fans mean everything to me. I would hope that they reach out to me and share their support or suggestions.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I have always loved words. They’re so powerful. When I find the perfect combination of words or sentences to express an idea, I feel an amazing sense of accomplishment. But the greatest joy for me would be using my writing to elicit positive change. Wisely selected words can make the world a better place!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
This is a tricky question because of the word ‘inspires’. Honestly, I get out of bed because I have a ton of things to do and a schedule to keep; I get out of bed because others’ need me to. But if I were to focus on what inspires me, then I can tell you that each morning when I open my eyes I feel an incredible gratitude to be alive. In honor of that gift of life, I get out of bed and move forward.
Who are your favorite authors?
This is such a hard question because I love to read and there are so many incredible authors out there. However, the one series that had a lasting impact on my psyche would have to be The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis. I also love the writing of Maya Angelou.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Three years ago, my daughter gifted me a simple Nook. Honestly, at first I did not know what to do with it. Then I found out that I could borrow books from the library and read them on my Nook. I fell in love! If a word was not familiar, I could see the definition right there. I never lost the page I was on again. I branched out and began purchasing books of interest or written by authors I liked. My son has a Nook HD and my daughter bought herself a Kindle Fire (she reads her textbooks on it). So we are a non-denominational e-reading device family. I am not picky about it. I am willing to read on any device but I have certainly left the print world behind.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born on the East Coast and lived most of my life in the Midwest. I spent several years living in Pakistan and have finally settled in Arizona. We moved around a lot in my childhood and in my adulthood. Moving around, resettling, meeting new people of a variety of cultures and beliefs has expanded my worldview and had an incredible impact on my writing. I think I am more observant and perhaps more careful now having experienced all that I have experienced. I edit a lot. I tinker with the words until I’m satisfied.
When did you first start writing?
I had this fantastic teacher, Mrs. Posis, in 4th grade and she introduced me to the world of poetry. We had to write a poem. She was thrilled by my poem and the fact that she liked it that much really surprised me. After that, I literally inundated her with poems. Her approval made me feel like a poet. Also, I discovered that when I wrote things down, I just felt better.There was no turning back after that.
Published 2015-12-28.
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