I had the great opportunity to interview the author of Like a Diamond in the Sky and Dark Diamond, Shazia Omar, who not only has established herself as a prolific writer but is one of the most humble human beings I had the pleasure to interact with. There’s a lot more to her than what meets the eye. I was really skeptical about asking for an interview but Shazia Omar was happy to be a part of my blog. (Author goals, you guys)
If you want to know more about her novel, head back to my blog to read a detailed review.
Get to know the Author:
Shazia Omar is not only a Bangladeshi novelist but is also a social psychologist, developmental professional and Pilates instructor. Her debut novel Like a Diamond in the Sky was published by Penguin India and Zubaan in 2009. She studied in Dartmouth College and London School of Economics and is currently residing in Bangladesh.
Let’s get straight to the interview:
Hello, Ma’am, Thank you so much for taking out time to do an interview for us. Did you always dream of becoming a writer?
Yes! Always. I started writing stories when I was 9 or 10, in little notebooks. And I read all the time.
Where did the idea behind Dark Diamond stem from?
I wanted to write a story about Bangladesh’s rich past that looked back beyond the 1971 war of independence, much further back, to a time when Bengal was at the peak of its power. My grandmother lived near the Lal Bagh Fort so I grew up hearing about the handsome Mughal Subedar Shayista Khan, who built the fort. As a child, I was curious to know more about him, but there were no storybooks or movies about his adventures.
Tell us about your book Dark Diamond.
Dark Diamond is the story of Mughal Viceroy Shayista Khan who rules Bengal in 1685. He was not only superbly rich (a billionaire by today’s standards), he was also a Sufi poet. He faced many enemies: Arakans, the East India Company, Marathas, rebellious Zamindars, religious zealots… Oddly, I discovered that all the enemies he faced then are the enemies we struggle with today, so writing the story felt immediate and real. Also, magic realism is perhaps my favorite genre, so I played with that a bit.
Can you give us some tips to overcome writer’s block?
Eavesdrop on someone’s conversation. Preferably a heated argument.
Try introducing a new character.
Turn off Facebook.
Writing is a solitary process and requires a lot of perseverance. How do you keep yourself motivated to write?
Coffee. Chocolate. Almonds.
If you were stranded on an island and you could choose only one book, what book would that be?
Dummies Guide to Build a Boat.
Are you planning on writing another novel?
Yes. I have a few ideas but I’m not sure which one will finally blossom.
Tea or coffee? (This question has a potential to start a war)
Ha ha, Tall, Skinny, Latte, hot. =)
Lastly, if you could, what advice would you give to your teenage self?
Learn yoga! (I did eventually, but I wish I had started earlier.)
The author also had a really fun time answering my questions as stated by her (I am not lying, okay).
Thankyou ,Shazia Omar, for gracing my blog with your presence. We hope to see more of your writings in the future.
One response to “Author Interview: Shazia Omar”
Wow she sounds like a cool person. Hope to see her at the Dhaka Lit Fest this November. One more reason for you to visit Bangladesh 😀