I have been very slow in my article progress lately. I have more content in preparation, but it may take longer. That’s because I’ve been working almost exclusively on The Thousand Scars with my editor, and it’s getting close.
Today I have an interview with Nabila Rahman, author of her debut novel, The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar, released in October 2016. In truth, I should have had this up a long time ago, but circumstances delayed it. Sorry! It is up now. I will be taking author interview calls again very shortly. If you’d like one, don’t hesitate to contact me. Here we go! (And I love the cover!)
1. First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
Hi, I’m Nabila. I am a Bangladeshi Canadian living in Calgary, Alberta, right now. In a couple months it will probably start freezing here, which gives me ample time to cozy up and finish writing my next two writing projects, as well as try my hand in NaNoWriMo for the first time. My debut novel, “The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar” is coming out on October 6, 2016 and needless to say I am very excited about it!
I am mostly interested in writing about fantasy fiction, something with action and adventure and finding one’s true voice. I also have a children’s book project in mind that I want to complete next, something that’s fun and friendly and teaches us that its ok to be different.
2. How do you develop your plots and characters?
Tough question. I don’t really have a particular method to develop characters. My main characters are always female, and as I contemplate on their characters, the other supporting characters just pop up in my mind, depending on how my girls will interact with them. For example, with Shelly, the main character in “The Chronicle of Captain Shelly Manhar,” my first point of thought was on how Shelly would be. And as I kept digging deeper into her personality, I realized she will need a first mate who’s a loyal ally, and so Roy came forth. But then I wondered how she would handle jokes, and so Gary popped up. But then what if Gary had a little brother? And so came Larry… and so forth. So I guess my main character is always my starting point in creating an array of characters for my books.
As for plots, it’s a little different. I imagine a beginning where my character would start her journey, and an ending, and then I figure out the rest of journey for the story. So once I have a point A and a point B, the next issue for me is the path from A to B.
3. Tell us about your current project.
My current project is going to be published on October 6, 2016. It’s a daring story of a swashbuckling female pirate captain, Shelly Manher. She sets out to search for her lost family. She gets in and out of trouble, finds a lost treasure, makes friends, sets the governor’s house on fire and has all sorts of crazy adventures. But in the end, like any other young adult, she also questions about where she belongs, and where her place is in the world. I am quite fond of her, actually. Bringing her forth into being had been a tremendous and exciting journey.
4. Who would you say is the main character of your novels? And tell me a little bit about them!
One thing that I have determined already is that my main protagonists will always be female. I guess when I write my novels, I put a little bit of myself in the main characters. I think about all the adventures or journeys I want to have, and I put that into my main characters. Through them, I get to live out my imagination.
5. What advice would you give new writers on how to delve into creative fiction?
Be ready to fail. And then stand up and fail again. Keep doing that until the day comes when failure gets tired of you and then success arrives at your doorstep. That’s how I kept going. There were times when I was so close to giving up on writing. But the small voice at the back of my head told me not to quit. And I didn’t. And today I finally get to see my novel published. Also, keep praying and hoping. That’s what got me through my dark times.
6. What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the world building within your book?
Since Shelly’s story takes place in the Caribbean Sea around the 1600s, I gathered and looked at a lot of old maps, and tried to understand how the places looked at that time. I also read a lot about the pirates (especially female pirates) back in time such as Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, Mary Read etc. I read many posts and web pages on ships, the different parts, how they were built, etc. to write about the ships in the story.
7) What inspires you to write?
Writing is therapeutic for me. When I am stressed, or need a break, I write, about anything that I feel like writing about. I guess my inspiration of writing comes from the fact that its free therapy time for me.
8. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The middle, always! In my mind, I can always see the beginning and the ending, but it’s the middle that gets me. It is this huge puddle that I have a hard time crossing.
9. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I think one of my favorite chapters is chapter 3, “Of Captains and Cannons.” This chapter shows Shelly’s funky side, and gives a glimpse of what truly gives her joy in life, and how much fun she seems to have as a pirate. Please note: the author of the story does not support piracy. It’s bad in real life, people.
10. Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?
Oh man, I learnt so much! I learnt that perseverance pays off, and that I should be honest to my writing style. I learnt that there’s a world full authors like me who are willing to help always. I just need to ask. I learnt that starting a conversation almost always leads to some place good. I also learnt that I suck at writing regularly.
11. It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I give up. Really, what I do is that I let it go for a while, and then come back at it again with fresh eyes. It helps me better to understand my characters, and which direction I want them to go to. My novel’s protagonist, Shelly, went through quite a few rewrites until I was finally satisfied with her personality.
12. What are your future project(s)?
A trilogy, which right now I am calling “Stories from the Other Realm.” It’s about a shy 16-year-old named Celeste who learns about this whole new other world outside of our own, and understands her place in both of these worlds. It may or may not involve some romance with a guy called Dmitri, quite a lot of nursery rhymes, and a big spider (not Shelob or Aragog).
Another is a kid’s book that involves animals, and two animal friends who find that they are different from the others, but that doesn’t stop them from going on a fun journey. Spoiler: the animals are a puppy and a kangaroo.
13. If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
An engineer? I did my degree in university in Electrical Engineering. If I don’t make it as an Author, its back to wires and sensors and electronics for me. It’s interesting though, to be honest.
14. What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
The easiest is to follow my personal blog, “My Own Little Corner.” All my news and updates will be there, as will be my blog posts and writings. Currently I am updating the subscribing option. It will be soon up and running. Meanwhile, the link is given below:
Please check out “The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar” page to receive details on how to get 10% off on the pre-orders of the book. Offer ends on Oct. 5th, 2016, so hurry!
My author page in Goodreads will be coming soon.
And if you are ever in Calgary, AB, Canada, come say hi! I’d love to have coffee with you.
It’s been a while since the last interview I’ve conducted, and this one should have been up a long time ago. I will return with another article soon!