I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading Weathernose and speaking to the author Maram, she very kindly agreed to this interview and to my great pleasure she had fun and answred in detail and glee. She is not only an author she writes for films.
1. Where did you get the inspiration for Weathernose from?
I was bored. It was summer. The days were long. One afternoon, I saw an image of a thin gangly man with a straw hat standing, confused, on the shore of his island. And I went with it. That was the conception of Tart Morning, the lead character in this book. Cypress, on the other hand, came as a fresh surprise. She was supposed to be a woman who would challenge Tart but suddenly I saw her as a self-satisfied ten-year-old girl and I laughed. That was where the fun began!
2. Out of all the characters you have written which is most like you?
Tart because I’m an introvert (I’m not grumpy though). And Sari.
3. If you could give any advice to Cyrpress from Weathernose, what would it be?
Be yourself but be nice!!!
4. If you could have any fantasy or mythical creature as a pet what would it be?
I’ve always wanted Morwen’s talking cats. The witch in the “Enchanted Forest” series by Patricia Wrede. They’re smart and very companionable. Unlike real cats.
5. What book is currently on your bedside table?
The Map of Salt and Stars, by Zeyn Joukhadar.
6. If you could sit down with any author, dead or alive, who would it be?
Mmmm VERY hard question. Charles Dickens. J.K.Rowling. Definitely Elizabeth Gilbert.
7. Have you read any books set in Saudi Arabia, do you think the setting is protayed actruately?
Yes I have. The books that I’ve read by Saudis were morose. The books I’ve read by westerners tend to have an orientalist lens, which is contemptible.
8. What language do you write in? Can you speak more than one language , if so do you translate your books yourself?
English. I speak Arabic and English and a little bit of French. Nope. I’ve never translated any of my books. I wouldn’t do it myself though if I were to have them translated.
9. Which do your prefer writing books or films?
Mmmmm…REAALLY hard question. They are two different experiences entirely. But if I absolutely had to do only one, I would write books.
10.When you think of a story do you instantly know which one you will write, a film or book, or do you try writing both and see which works best?
Yes. Books and films have different essences. I can usually tell if something is begging to be a book or a screenplay. And very often it doesn’t work when I try the story in a different medium. For me, since I had a hunch about the medium, it rarely works when I change it.
11. If you could have any character from any book, as a best friend, who would it be?
Anne Shirley. Or I’d want to be one of the Ingleside clan. (L.M.Montgomery universe)
12. Do you plan more books in the weathernose universe?
YES! I’m planning a sequel.
13. Have you ever visited a real life place which has inspired you to write a fantasy world?
YES. All the time. Istanbul has inspired a large part of the Fantasy novel that I’m currently working on. Malaysia may have inspired the Cerulean Universe a little bit. I’m adamant about visiting places. A producer was once wanted me to write a script that took place in Ethiopia and I insisted on visiting it. He asked “Why don’t you just hop on Google?”. No comment!
14. Do you do research for your books?
Yes. Definitely. It’s one of the most fun phases of writing a book. I had to research hot air balloons for Weathernose, for example.
15. Do you have a favourite place to write?
My bed. I usually get the most writing done on my bed. It does change though. I can be a bit nomadic, fixating on different spots at different times.
16. Do you listen to music whilst writing, if so, what kind?
YES! I’m a big believer that music is a part of the process. Before I write each piece, I look for the musical tracks that express the world that I’m going to be spending time in. And then I listen to that soundtrack every time I sit to write and it instantly takes me there. It’s a bit Pavlovian!
17. Who is the first person you let read your creations?
Maybe my cousin? Definitely my best friend at school.
18. What was the last t.v. show you binge watched? Were you sad when it ended?
A Series of Unfortunate Events. I watched it this summer. I was so enamored by it because it was so well-done. It was fresh and funny and bold. It was better than the film in my opinion. Yes, I was sad that it ended…especially since, unfortunately, I didn’t like the ending.
19. What is your favourite type of fantasy to read?
YA and children’s fantasy. There’s still a child in me that is reveling inside a chrysalis of old-fashioned magic.
20. Are you a Harry Potter fan, if so who is your favourite character?
ABSO-EFFING-LUTELY. I was one of those kids who had to wait for two years on edge between the fourth and fifth book (remember that period? Ugh!). Favorite character would have to be Dumbledore. I love old people in Fantasy books.
21. What is the last book that kept you up late?
Phillip Pullman’s “The Amber Spyglass”.
22. Whilst writing do you ever forget ot eat or sleep?
Sometimes. The image of a writer writing into the night is often romanticized. I don’t like to write until burnout. I find that it disturbs my creative balance. I often get up for water breaks or coffee breaks. There were times when I’ve written into the night but I generally honor my sleep.
23. If you could have one person read your books, who would it be?
Elizabeth Gilbert or J.K.Rowling.
24. Have you ever written a part of a story that afterwards you wish you could change?
Well my previous novella “The Road to Elephants” was published in 2015. It’s about two children in 1920’s Saudi Arabia who run away from their abusive nanny to join the circus. Many readers found the ending in the book pretty jarring. Looking back at it now, I’m wondering if I built up the ending in a way that makes it justifiable. Also, I would probably go in and break up the linearity of the narrative.
25. Do you snack whilst writing, if so what?
Yes haha! I look for excuses to get up and snack. I also drink a lot: Coffee. Tea. Water.
26. If you could live in any fantasy world, where would it be?
I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did. If you fancy buying her book Weathernose, check amazon Here.