Welcome to my guest page. Here, every few days, I’ll be sharing a conversation, over tea and cakes, or maybe a glass of something stronger, if they are not driving, with a friend about their work in progress, or latest book release. I’ll be talking to all sort of writers and authors at different levels of their writing careers.
Today, I’m pleased to chat with Mehreen in the Clubhouse
Thank you so much for this invite, Paula
Please can I start by asking you when you first began your writing journey what drew you to your chosen genre?
I had already read Tagore, Woolf, Joyce and Nazrul Islam among many others by then. They left a permanent impression in my mind. Consciously or unconsciously, I was attracted towards this genre, Literary Fiction, which emerged in my writing. I think in all honesty, it was the influence of such great minds in the first instance, which drew me towards my chosen genre.
When reading your work through do you ever find that your daily mood swings are reflected in your writing.
I think so. When I was writing The Pacifist, a section in one of my chapters clearly reflects my mood. I was taking a nap one summer’s afternoon. When I woke up after the siesta, I was feeling really groggy and depressed. To cut my depression, I decided to work on the chapter. My mood was evident in the chapter. The result was that I felt, I had successfully projected a mood, which I had actually experienced. It was authentic.
Were any of your characters inspired by real people?
I based many of my characters on real people. I observe human nature closely. I think even though I say so myself, and try to portray them realistically in my novels, however, I often transcend reality as I do so. I based the protagonist in Moirae, onthe character of a refugee I had once met for instance but reading it, I didn’t always seem it as him.
How long on average does it take you to write a book or story ?
It took me about seven years to write The Pacifist. The Blotted Line took about five, Moirae about one year, Jacaranda Blues about two, and Snapshots about a quarter of a year. Now, the novel I am writing is like taking forever. Hmm. Grim.
What was your hardest scene to write?
I always find it hard to write romance. The dialogues either sag or become stilted stereotypes. I just can’t seem to get it right when it comes to writing romance. I must have a cold heart that I can’t feel the passion’s fury.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Writing internationally and trying to make a name, I should have I guess. But what name would I have taken? Eastern name, Western name? It was too difficult to choose a name, so I decided to keep my own.
What did you learn when writing your book and stories ? In writing it, how much research did you do?
The Pacifist is a historical fiction set in the gold rush period in NSW early 19th century. I had done lots of research when I was writing this book. I had also learnt a lot about the gold rush period. With my other books, which are more or less just fiction, I relied on my observations. However, Snapshots, my travelogue through four continents, required some research into historical details, which I collated over my travels.
How many hours in a day do you write?
I don’t think I can count hours as such. Some days, words flow like mountain spring and I would write for hours. Other days, they stagger like speed bumps. Those days are the hardest days.
How many unfinished projects do you have on your computer?
I have at least four, my second collection of short stories, Flash collection, nonfiction collection and a fully-fledged novel.
Is there anything about you, your readers might be surprised to find out?
I hope they do. The element of surprise always keeps readers close. However, my love for nature they surprise them along with my portrayal of human conditions or even my style of writing in a stream of consciousness mode, which delves in the characters’ thoughts rather than their external behaviour. Hard to say.
Thank you so much for joining me today, Mehreen, it has been a delight to have this chat.
If you would like to read Mehreen’s books please check out the sites listed below.
Mehreen’s Amazon Author’s page