Farha Hasan sent me an email a couple of months back asking me if I would like to review her book. Since I haven’t reached that stage where book review requests are drowning me, I accepted. She posted The Mother-in-law Cure all the way from Boston to London. I am so glad she did. I really enjoyed the novel.
The review is posted in my Review section. I liked it so much in fact, I wanted to interview the writer to find out more about her.
Farha Hasan is a writer based out of Boston of South Asian descent. She was born and bred in the South Asian community in Toronto and has a degree in business and a passion for books. Her creativity and her passion for the written word first took her into advertising and then research. She began her writing career in the Advertising industry where she was involved in the writing, casting, and production of fifteen TV commercials and six radio commercials related to ethnic advertising. Currently she has shifted her focus to fiction. Her short stories have been published in various ezines and small circulation press such as, Binnacle , Down in the Dirt, Toasted Cheese, Wild Violet, Skyline Magazine and The Griffin. The Mother-in-Law Cure is her first Novel.
1. Welcome to my blog Farah. I’d like to start off by asking you what prompted you on this journey of writing?
Hi Zeenat, my journey into creative writing began when I was in primary school. English was my favorite subject. I loved reading and writing, and eventually my teachers began selecting my poems and short stories to submit to contests and children’s publications.
2. You write short stories too. Short story is one of the most difficult forms of writing it is said, yet most people seem to equate the word short with easy. Can you tell us about your engagement with this genre and how it came about that you chose to write in it?
Although I loved writing and reading fiction I ended up pursuing a university degree in business and eventually ended up in advertising where I was involved in writing copy for advertisements, some of which involved the creative use of language and culture. Since my background had made me adept at writing short creative pieces I began my entry into creative writing by taking a class in flash fiction and then I progressed to writing short stories.
3. How does your career as librarian inform your career as a writer? What are the challenges of being a writer?
The biggest challenge to being a writer is not only finding the time and space to work but being in the ‘right frame of mind’. My current job is a really positive place to work where I am surrounded by friendly and professional co-workers. This helps a lot when I go home at night and sit down to work. I am not stressed out and I can leave my work responsibilities behind.
4. Tell us about the conception and writing of The Mother-in-Law Cure?
The Mother-in-Law Cure is the re-telling of one of our most classic fairy tales. The Mother-in-Law Cure reinvents the story of Cinderella in a modern South Asian context.
5. Did you self-publish? How was the experience if so?
I was working with a literary agent who was enthusiastic about my manuscript. We were working on revisions together to make the manuscript stronger, however my agent abruptly left the agenting business and the firm that she represented did not have room to take me on as a client. Since this was my second agent I decided to forgo the arduous process of finding a third literary agent and instead I decided to self publish.
6. Is magical realism something that comes naturally to you or did you think of it in reference to the story you had to tell?
Many fairy tale classics engage the use of magic in the storyline and that is why I felt it was very appropriate to include magic or magical realism in the re-telling of a Cinderella story.
I do enjoy using magical realism and will continue to use it in my next novel.
7. Who’s your favourite writer? Why?
So many favorite writers, its hard to pinpoint just one…Isabel Allende, Marisa de los Santos, Tana French, Dean Koontz, Mohsin Hamid, Neil Gaiman.
8. If you were to change genres, which one would you be most likely to pursue?
If I were to change genres I would try my hand at thrillers or horrors.
9. Which writers do you identify with the most?
Hard question, likely the ones that I’ve mentioned as my favorites, I also identify with in certain respects.
10.What does writing, being a writer mean to you?
Writing is a compulsion. It’s as simple as that.
The Mother-in-Law Cure can be bought here