Ammar asked for a reader on Twitter to review his novel Memories of My Future. Intrigued, I asked him questions, all of which he readily answered, before I agreed. The story he wrote with Dr. Anil Sinha is fantastic—read my review.
Ammar exudes friendliness and positivity in his online presence and digital communication, and I always feel cheerier after speaking with him. He has also written a vigilante series called Dark Guardian, and his latest book Ana Rocha: Shadows of Justice was co-authored with a detective.
Describe your writing process, including environment, schedule, strategies, and inspirations.
My writing process is somewhat structured and somewhat fluid. It always begins with a theme. I ask myself, “Why should readers read this? What do I hope they get out of it?” As entertaining as I hope my stories are, I want them to hold some sort of moral lesson or theme for the audience as well. At the same time, I don’t want to slap readers in the face with this theme. Instead, I want to show it in the characters and story arc. So I take a lot of time in figuring out who my character are. As far as pre-writing goes, I probably spend more time fleshing out the characters than I spend on any other aspect of pre-writing. Many times, putting in the effort to create three dimensional characters is the separator between good and great work.
However, with that said, my writing process is very fluid. I like to try and create an outline before I go into the actual writing. But many times I find myself starting the first draft before I’ve even finished my outline. The inspiration comes in bursts so I try to capitalize on those bursts as much as I can. I find that being too stringent on my writing process can actually become a hindrance.
As far as inspiration goes, I honestly draw inspiration from everywhere. I’ve possessed a huge imagination since I was a child, so that is usually my biggest source. I have a hard time switching my imagination off, which can be a problem when somebody is trying to talk to you and you’re imagining a battle scene in your head! The other place I really draw inspiration is from the world around me. I try to stay observant because sometimes the best inspiration passes by right in front of you!
My environment and schedule do change based on circumstances. I don’t have a set place where I do my writing and my schedule varies because I can honestly write any time of the day or night! There are some days where I spend hours writing or revising manuscripts, and there are other days when I may spend only thirty minutes.
I love Memories of My Future—tell how you built on historical events through folklore, and the history behind the book itself, working with Dr. Sinha to create an inspirational story.
Memories of My Future is definitely one of my personal favorites. It takes place in three time periods: 13th century India, 19th century India, and present day New York City. The project began when I got a phone call from Dr. Sinha, whom I somewhat knew beforehand, in September 2014. He had the seeds of an idea that he wanted to write a book about, which was very similar to something that I was wanting to write about, which is why we decided to partner together. The reason Dr. Sinha reached out to me was because he had just read my debut novel, Dark Guardian, and had really loved it.
From there, we grew a story with themes of coexistence and courage. When we were researching the events of the 13th Century, there honestly was not much to be found because the history of the Bihar province has not been as well kept as it should. However, along with some facts and dates that we were able to gather, there was plenty of local folklore and legends about the events that are described in the story, and those legends were the basis for that piece of the novel.
Explain how you work in so many genres, and the challenges and satisfactions of doing so.
Like you mentioned, I do write in multiple genres. Many authors do see this as a challenge. For me, I’ve found that spending a lot of time up front with my planning and taking the time to nail down a theme, tone, and characters on the front end helps me write the story within the parameters of the genre I am aiming for. As a writer, I never want to be limited to a specific genre because I’m one of those people that doesn’t like limitations in general. So the ability and freedom to write in multiple genres is a very liberating feeling!
Describe your research process, including how you find sources and what you choose to use.
For works like Memories Of My Future, where a lot of research is required, I definitely do take my time with it. Research is something that should never be rushed. I always try to use as many scholarly or peer-reviewed sources as I can. This is to ensure the authenticity of the material. Working at a college, I have access to the college’s databases, which have tons of articles over a variety of subjects, so that is a major help. If I am using a source that is not one that would be considered scholarly, I always try to verify its authenticity by cross-referencing it with something that is more academically purposed. I know everyone has their own methods for research, but that is the basis for mine.
What do you love most about your creativity?
For me, creativity is synonymous with freedom! It’s the freedom to create. The freedom to inspire. The freedom to affect lives. I always try to use my creativity positively, with the hopes of inspiring others. I view creativity as an asset and as a responsibility, just as I view any other talent or ability. Therefore, I try to use it in a good way. Thankfully, I can say that there are a few other authors I’ve met throughout my journey as a writer who have said that I have helped them along the way since I was further along the road than they were at the time, and honestly that’s the kind of thing that inspires me to keep moving forward!
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