Monday, May 6, 2013

Interview with author Mavie Ahmad

Interview with author Mavie Ahmad talking about her writing, including her latest novel, The Secret Saudi Signal.
SDG: Welcome, Mavie. Can you give us a little background about yourself?

MA: After completing a degree in Information Technology and Media Studies, I failed to find a job in the media field and began working as a temp in London. When my first child was born, I moved to the Middle East where I was inspired to write about my experiences in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. But every manuscript I started, I never managed to finish as I easily got distracted and lost patience. It was only when I worked for an advertising company as a copywriter and proof-reader that I began to enjoy working with words. My first novel was completed a year after. I now live in Dubai.

SDG: What inspired you to write this book?

MA: The Secret Saudi Signal was inspired by my time in Riyadh. I wanted my readers to learn that although it is a restricted country, there are many ways around the strict laws in place.

I Was Never Alone, Anyway was inspired by the death of my friend's mother. I am fairly certain she saw the Angel of Death before she died.
SDG: What was your approach to writing it (did it just flow or did you use an outline or other preparatory method)?

MA: Usually my writing does flow. When I get stuck, I make bullet points and then put in linkers and eventually work on it until it turns into a paragraph that flows.
SDG: How long did it take to write the complete novel from first draft to edited final?

MA: The Secret Saudi Signal took me a year to write as it is around 79,000 words.

I Was Never Alone, Anyway was a shorter piece that I self published. It's around 20,000 words and only took me two months.
SDG: Is your family supportive of your writing and what do they think about your writing career?

MA: My parents were over the moon when I told them I had written a book. They have encouraged me ever since to pursue a career in writing. My sisters are equally enthusiastic, they both love reading so often help me work out scenes.
SDG: Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for budding writers?

MA: One thing I would say to budding writers is to work from a desk in a quiet space that has been designed for writing. A personalized space will help the creative sparks to fly.
SDG: What are you working on now? Is it in the same genre?

MA: I'm trying to find a traditional publisher for my third novel, London to Lahore. The story is split into three books, and I am about to start the third book now. The plot follows Sara, a British born Pakistani girl through several relationships until she gets caught by her traditional Pakistani mother. As punishment for breaking sacred values, Sara and her sister are shipped off to live in Lahore where she is forced into an engagement that brings more than she bargained for.

SDG: What is the best time for you to write and does it ever interfere with your day job, if you have one? Also, how long on average do you write each day?

MA: I am a part time English language teacher. If there is a class available for me to teach, then I work around two hours a day. That leaves plenty of time for my writing. I usually write at night when the kids are asleep and edit in the morning when they are at school.
SDG: Is writing, to you, a lonely occupation?
MA: Writing can be lonely. But if you have good friends, then bouncing ideas around can also be fun!
SDG: What is your website and where can readers purchase your book or books?

MA: You can buy my books here:


SDG: Author website/social media sites:

Twitter @maviethewriter




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