Saturday, June 06, 2015

#AuthorInterview @WaheedR2009 Learning From Historical Events

Waheed Rabbani was born in India, close to Delhi, and was introduced to Victorian and other English novels, at a very young age, in his father’s library. Most of the large number of volumes had been purchased by his father at ‘garage sales’ held, by departing British civil service officers, in the last days of the Raj.

Waheed attended St. Patrick’s High School in Karachi, Pakistan. He graduated from Loughborough University, Leicestershire, England, and received a Master’s degree from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. While an engineer by profession, Waheed’s other love is reading and writing English literature, which led him to obtain a Certificate in Creative Writing from McMaster University and start on his fiction writing journey.

Waheed’s first historical fiction novel, The Azadi Trilogy, Book I: Doctor Margaret’s Sea Chest, was published. E-book and Audio-book are available on Amazon, iBooks, other on-line stores and It also received a "Honorable Mention" award from the Global eBooks Awards. 

Excerpt of Waheed’s Book I and Book II opening chapters are also published in the Anthologies, “Canadian Voices II,” and “Indian Voices.”

Waheed and his wife, Alexandra, are now settled on the shores of Lake Ontario in the historic town of Grimsby. More information is available on his website:
Your real name and pen name?
Real name: Waheed Rabbani. I do not write under a pen name. 
Please share some of the best memories of your childhood
Being a boy scout and the opportunity it gave me to not only "grow up quickly" but also to travel to the Himalayas and a trip across India from Punjab to Bengal.   
What career did you plan during your education days
Always wanted to be an Engineer, although my father, a Civil Service Officer, encouraged me to read English literature and write.   
What languages you can speak and write?
Urdu and English 
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life
Learning from historical events. 
What hurts you most in this world
To see the poverty of some unfortunate people. 
What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?
Passing exams. Learned, through experiences, to not procrastinate and keep up with the class work and study hard. 

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?
As a participant in the procession following our beloved Mahatma Gandhi Ji, in his "Salt March." Greatly admire him for his integrity and resoluteness, even in the face of extreme adversity. 
What is your favorite genre and why?
Historical fiction, for there is much to learn from historical novels, in an easy readable and understandable form.  
When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?
I recall writing, when I was at about fourteen, an account of one of my summer boy scouts' camping trip. Although it was well received, sadly, I did not follow up with anything "major," like a short story or a novel (except for an occasional article in the school/college newspaper). The purpose of my writing, at that time, was purely for pleasure, and unfortunately it was put on the back-burner in favor of studies.   
Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
Apart from having pieces in several anthologies, the first book, "Doctor Margaret's Sea Chest," of my current project, "The Azadi Series" has been published. Briefly the synopsis is as follows:

The Azadi Trilogy is a set of historical fiction novels covering India's freedom from the British Raj, during the 19th and 20th centuries. The sad, but true incident of the sacking of the American Presbyterian Mission at Futtehgurh is also explored.

In 1965, An American, Doctor Sharif, who happens to be visiting a hospital in Delhi, is entrusted with the mission of finding the lost relatives of a lady doctor, Margaret, and returning her trunk to them. Based on the diaries found in the trunk and recollections of lost relatives of the last Moghul King, Bhadur Shah Zafar, Rani Luxmi, KGB and CIA agents and others, in dusty Indian villages, in posh North American and European mansions, this trilogy weaves a fine tale of warfare, British-Russian-Indian intrigue and poignant love between interesting characters of that era; all this told in the appealing voices of Doctors Margaret and Sharif who lived over a century apart.

For more info please visit my FB Author Page:  

What are your forthcoming writings?
The Book II, "Doctor Margaret in Delhi," is due to be published shortly
What genres you write in and why?
Historical fiction, for its is a wonderful way to tell a story during a historical period of the past. 
What keeps you motivating towards writing?
Writing has now become a habit. And for my current project, wishing to tell the story of the nearly 100-year struggle by Indians to gain their freedom. 
If Writing a Book is taken as a project, What are the key essentials you take care of in Project Management?
 Writer's Block is something most writers have to struggle with. After trying many tips, techniques, and methods, suggested by others, I find the best way to overcome this "Resistance" is to maintain a regular schedule, and a daily writing habit. I have heard that it takes 90 days to develop a habit.  
How do you plan, schedule and monitor your writing commitments?
I maintain a daily work schedule (being retired, I work mostly in the mornings from about 7 am to 12 noon), and keep a log of my work progress with respect to the novel's outline and timeline. The A-B-C Principle (Apply Butt in Chair) works best for me. 
What are your future plans?
Keep writing historical fiction novels. 
What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why?
I prefer ebooks, not only because of their convenience in carrying them around in a small electronic reader, but also for their bookmarking, highlighting, annotation and search function capability. These are  much useful, particularly to an author, than having to "paperclip" pages in a mountain of paper books.   
What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?
1) Keep the narrative interesting and "show" more than "telling," in scenes, which should read as if watching a movie. 
2) Keep the historical facts accurate, particularly for the real life characters.
3) Develop believable characters, for not only the heroine and hero, but also for some of the important ones. Also provide their family background, likes and dislikes, etc, to make them three dimensional.
4) Keep the story moving along by having the main characters face numerous conflicts or obstacles, which they have to overcome, as part of the plot.  
How much real life goes into a fiction writing?
For historical fiction, it has to be all believable and comparable to real life situations. 
Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?
Definitely, for we have to make up believable stories, write intelligent dialogue, and furthermore describe the settings where we may not have actually traveled to.   
Your dream destination on Earth?
Nainital, India.

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 in UP India (near Delhi), and have fond memories of traveling with my father during his official tours of the villages. I went to school in Karachi, Pakistan, at a Catholic school and was fortunate to have had an excellent English-medium education. I attended University in England, where although the heavy study load did not permit much socializing/partying, I did make some lifelong friends, and we have a reunion nearly every year. I am settled in Canada now, which is a wonderful country offering many opportunities to new comers. I am fortunate to be a part of the North American life style, which although has many wonderful features, yet requires a dedicated effort to achieve success.
Your favorite time of the day?
Early morning, at sunrise. 
Your zodiac/ sunsign?
Your favorite color and why?
Green, the color of peace. 
What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?
Just finished re-reading, Fanny Parkes' wonderful two volume memoir: Wanderings of a Pilgrim in search of the Picturesque, During four and twenty years in the East, with revelations of Life in the Zenana. Published in 1850 by Pelham Richardson, England.

Currently I am reading: The Mirror of Beauty (2013) by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi
Your favorite book and why?
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, for a lovely story, and a wonderful literary writing style. 
Your favorite movie and why?
"Chaudhvi ka Chand," for the story, great acting and memorable songs. 
Your favorite celebrity and why?
Shah Rukh Khan, for his movies never disappoint, and his off-screen modesty. 
Your favorite food?
Most of the Indian dishes, particularly tandoori chicken, biryani, bhaji puri, etc. 
Your favorite sports?
Cricket, and Baseball 
What is the force that drives you?
My brain telling/nagging me to "get the work done."
What comes to your mind when you think of India?
All the wonderful parts of the country, from the Himalayas to the seas, and particularly The Taj Mahal. 
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
Sun, Smile, Morning, Coffee, Sea, Long Drive, Silence, Water, Earth, Mars, Rose, Blue, Right, Glance, Fame, Girl, Night, Tree, Love 
What three words come to your mind for each – Technology, Life, God, Humanity, Terrorism, Racism, Childhood Abuse, Love, Parenting, Old age
Technology: helpful, need to learn, good jobs
Life: fascinating, unpredictable, death
God: the masterful creator, will listen to our prayers, will give us our just rewards
Humanity: amazing, all have similar needs, basically loving of each other
Terrorism: not a means to achieve one's objectives, need to understand a terrorist's motives, stereotypes a community.
Racism: Has no place in a society, should be made unlawful everywhere, racists will be unsuccessful in their lives.
Child Abuse: despicable, abusers must be punished, need to protect children
Love: makes the world go around, can be shown in many ways, can lead to problems
Parenting: our natural instinct, do it without any expectation of returned affection, should continue even when the child matures
Old Age: A time to take up a new occupation/hobby, need to keep active, its a frame of mind, enjoy your retirement.

First thing you do in the morning after waking up?

Meditate for 15-20 minutes
Last thing to do before sleep?
 Read a book
If one fine morning you wake up and find your sex changed to opposite, what will be your first reaction?
How interesting!  Now I have a chance to live my life all over again! 
State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. --- Mahatma Gandhi
The last line of your autobiography would be…
If I had a chance to relive my life, I would live it in the same way 
The title of your autobiography would be…
 From Sunrise to Sunset
Links & other relevant details:
ISBN-10:  0993863515
ISBN-13: 978-0993863516
Publisher: Historical Novels Publishing
Facebook Author Page:  
Goodreads author page:✓&query=waheed+rabbani
Any other links:

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