5 Questions for Shoohada Khanom
Q1. Tell us about yourself as a writer...
A. My writing journey started in 2013, I had a sudden urge to write. This was when I penned my first picture books, Who Could I Be and Kamillah the Butterfly simultaneously.
Since then, I have stuck with writing picture books.
Although, at the moment I’m working on a YA novel and, alhamdulillah, I’ve managed to complete the first draft. I’ve been working on the second draft for what seems like ages, hoping to get to the end soon, InshaAllah.
Kamillah the Butterfly was my first published book and it’s the most popular book, to date.
Q2. Describe your writing process: how do you find ideas, how do you develop them, what is your writing schedule like?
A. My writing process is pretty simple: I’m a bit old school and use pen and paper. I have a schedule and I try my best to stick to it. However, I’m flexible when I need to be. My writing time is from 9pm onwards, that’s when my kids are all tucked up in bed and I have some time to myself.
I usually get my ideas from around me; it could be from watching TV, reading a book, watching my children play or something they say.
The idea for my story Imagine came from listening to my third child. He went through a phase of imagining crazy things, hence the title and story.
Once I’ve got an idea, I play with it in my head through my day, so when my writing time comes round, I know exactly what I’m doing.
Q3. What/who are your inspirations when it comes to writing? Which books, websites, online resources do you recommend?
A. My inspiration comes from authors like Julia Donaldson, Jeff Alborough, Eric Hill, Eric Carle, Claire Freedman and Kes Gray.
My favourite picture book is Each, peach, pear plum. It’s been my favourite ever since I held it as an infant: yes, that long ago!
Other authors and books I have thoroughly enjoyed are Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes, G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen and Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.
My favourite read in 2017 was THUG by Angie Thomas. If anyone’s writing a YA novel, then it’s a must read.
Q4. What has been your greatest achievement as a writer?
A. My greatest achievement has to be when I signed four contracts in one sitting. I couldn’t believe it!
Q5. How can aspiring writers connect with you and your work?
Are you struggling to develop a writing habit? Why not sign up for daily writing prompts in our 500 Words a Day writing challenge? Sign up HERE.
Also, a lovely community of Muslimah writers is growing in our We Are Storytellers FB group - come and join us!