Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Author Interview: Irum Zahra: I Am Madly In Love With Hannibal Lecter

Her name is Irum Zahra and she is from Islamabad, Pakistan. She was born and raised under the intellect of her writer mother. She started writing when she was in Grade 1 and she gradually improved her writing skills and grew fond of reading Literature by Keats, H.P. Lovecraft, Hemmingway, Edgar Allan Poe and Sylvia Plath. The first poem she wrote was inspired by Sylvia’s “Ariel”. Her first Book *Psychaotic: See The World In Black And Red* was published in November, 2014 and sold over 200 copies (Kindle and paperback) worldwide in the first 3 weeks of it’s release. She is the first Pakistani Poet to be published in two Gothic International poetry anthology books; both by the name of *Mirrored Voices*.
She was included in The News Pakistan’s most powerful Women List this year, in 2015. She was also featured in Pakistan’s first *Hand written with love* Exhibition held in Minerva.

Your real name and pen name?
My real and Pen name is Irum Zahra.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
* The best memory of my childhood is perhaps the way my mother brought me books by Enid Blyton. They were short and beautiful with a lesson at the end. I still remember all of them and they helped polish the creativity inside me. I always had a habit of making up an alternate ending to all of them.

About your education?
I did Bachelors in Commerce and then I diverted my mind towards Masters in Mass Communication as I wanted to go further into the field of books and publishing.

What career did you plan during your education days
* I always thought I would become a banker or an accountant. But as days flew by, I started to see myself as a writer and speaker rather than a person who crunches numbers. I don’t regret where I am, I’m sure I made the right choice.

What languages can you speak and write?
I can speak and write three languages: English, Urdu, and Punjabi. I’m learning to speak French these days. It has a very rich and Poetic ring to it.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life
*My biggest inspiration is my mother. She helped through thick and thin, she supported me when I was in doubt about my writing, my life, and my career and Now she stands with me proud and happy.

What hurts you most in this world
Hurts… Well, I don’t think anything in the world hurts more than being rejected or denied love. So I’ll be hurt and vulnerable if I give my all to someone and they throw it away or disregard it.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
*The biggest challenged I faced was myself. I was insecure and I always thought I won’t be able to achieve this much and as I grew older, I gained experience of things and I tried my best to level with the anger and the insecurity. I started to use my creativity as an anchor and I took out all of my insecurity on paper. I think expressing through art, singing and poetry is the best way.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
O I would love to live a day as Thomas Harris. I am so madly in love and obsessed with his character Hannibal Lecter. I love the books, the movies, the Tv series and everything related to Hannibal. I adore the art based on Hannibal and I just want to live in that character through Thomas’s pen and feel that intimacy and obsession he had with them. I want to write so much about Hannibal and my next book will feature a poem about his character as well.

What is your favorite genre and why?
*I love reading all genres. I have so many books on different topics. It depends on my mood. But generally, I love to read poetry and thriller books.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
*Purpose of my writing is to show people how away they are from the reality. My poetry is based on life realities and experiences and reading them would make you feel closer to your inner self. There are always two sides to a person and I always write about the balance and the imbalance of both sides.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
*My first book Psychaotic was published in November,2014, It was followed by a poetry anthology Mirrored Voices: Emerging poets anthology and a third book, Mirrored Voices: Best new poets Anthology.

Here is the synopsis of my First book *Psychaotic*
Psychaotic is not a happy song. It’s a collection of poetry and passages that depict the struggle of a human mind with it’s veiled and untamed nature. It shows how far we can go if we incline ourselves to that side and how much we are willing to give up.
Psychaotic tells you the harsh realities of life rather than filling your head with fantasies and dreams that will never happen.
In that reality check, this book will change how you think about certain things. It will tell you, that wrongs can be right and right can be wrongs as well as, bad can be good and good can turn out to be bad.

What are your forthcoming writings?
I am currently working on 3 projects. My priority is another Gothic Poetry book which I will launch in 3 months and the other two projects include a Fiction thriller and a YA Supernatural series.

What keeps you motivating towards writing?
*I always write what I feel. I use feelings a fuel to my creativity. I will always have a heart and a mind, however, restless they both may be, so I will always have an inspiration to write.

How do you plan, schedule and monitor your writing commitments?
*Writing a book is not easy. It took me 5 years to write the book in bits and pieces and then compilation was a 6 month process including editing and proofreading. Also, the fear of *Not good enough* eats the writer from inside and he edits and then re-edits again and again.
If you take it as a project, I think the best thing would be to plan a timeline. Here is what I do:
Time to complete the book (Deadline)
Editing (two weeks max)
Preparing a Market plan (one week)
Gathering Resources (1 month)
Add-ons (Complimentary bookmarks, thank you cards, merchandise etc.)
Finding a publisher
Keeping track of all things
Final book launch
Tracking sales and updating market plan.

What are your future plans?
My future plan is just one, Become a legend

What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why?
*I love paperback more than e-book. Reason is, I want to feel the book and the pages in my hands when I read it.

How much real life goes into a fiction writing?
Fiction writing is real. I guess in my head. I believe some of it or all of it is happening somewhere in the world or has already happened or will happen. That is a lot of REAL in fiction.

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?
Imagination and Creativity is all that is important for a writer. All the words, the stories, the poems, they all come from within and you can’t write unless you have an imagination and creativity. It is a writer’s fuel.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?
I was born and raised in Pakistan. I’ve visited many cities in Pakistan but I haven’t had the experience to visit foreign countries, yet. I’m planning to do a book tour soon. Probably next year, I’ll visit US, UK, India and Australia.

Your favorite time of the day?
My favorite time of the day is not day, It’s the night. Lol. It is so peaceful and it makes me content. Maybe it’s the moon. I love the moonlight.

Your zodiac/ sunsign?
My zodiac sign is Cancer.

Your favorite color and why?
My favorite color is Black and I love it because it is the color of the night. It hides and it veils all things.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?
*The last book I read was *Beyond Desire* by Asghar Abbas. I have a signed copy!
And Currently I’m reading *The Green Wolves* by Vetle Sivertsen. I have its signed copy as well. Lucky me.

Your favorite book and why?
I love Dan Brown. His book *The Lost Symbol* is my favorite book. The way he writes, he makes you believe that all in the book is happening and you’re in the middle of it.

Your favorite movie and why?
*My favorite movie.. That is a difficult question. I love anything with Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino and many others.
What is the force that drives you?
Emotions Drive me. I think you should always write with your heart and heart is the thing that drives you to create great things. Things that matter.

What comes to your mind when you think of India?
India- I think of all the exciting Cricket matches, the amazing food and people with culture as rich as ours.

Some quickies: Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile, Morning or Evening, Coffee or Tea, Mountain or Sea, Long Drive or Short Drive, Silence or Conversation, Water or Fire, Air or Earth, Mars or Jupiter, Tulip or Rose, Red or Blue, Left or Right, Glance or Stare, Fame or Money, Boy or Girl, Day or Night, Tree or Plant, Love or Passion
*moon, laughter, evening, Coffee, Sea, Long Drive, Conversation, Fire, Earth, Mars, Rose, Blue, Left, Stare, Fame, Girl, Night, Tree, Passion

What three words come to your mind for each – Technology, Life, God, Humanity, Terrorism, Racism, Childhood Abuse, Love, Parenting, Old age
Discrimination/Social Lines/Ignorance, 
Life/Him/The color Blue, 
Partner/Coffee/ Sunset evenings

The first thing you do in the morning after waking up?
I say Salam and good morning to my family. It is a family habit.

Last thing to do before sleep?
I say a prayer.

If one fine morning you wake up and find your sex changed to opposite, what will be your first reaction?
*Wow. I’d be happy I guess. I could do much more if I turn into a man. But come to think of it, Being a Woman is all I ever want to be. A woman creates life. That’s what I want to be.

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
You see the world in colors and I see it in black and red.

The last line of your autobiography would be…
*Thank you God for making me what I am.

The title of your autobiography would be…
 That is a secret. I want to publish it later.

Links & other relevant details:
ISBN-10: 150326601X
ISBN-13: 978-1503266018
Publisher: Beyond Sanity Publishing

Twitter handle: @IrumZahraWriter

Any other links:
Book page:

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