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Interview with Nadya A.R
Nadya A.R. is a Pakistani author. She was born on 6 November 1971, in Lahore, Pakistan. Nadya is a lifelong learner and educationalist. She is a dreamer and dreams of a more peaceful and tolerant world for everyone.
It was an honor interviewing Nadya A.R face-to-face. She's already in my life's list of one the most inspirational and interesting woman I ever met. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did.
*Click below to see our meet-up pictures*
Q. Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know about?
A. Well I have a lot of food issues, I love writing about food but I’m very careful when I go out to eat because I have a lot of food allergies and sensitivities. Whenever I look at all the ice creams and cakes I keep wondering where I could find diary free ice creams and vegan foods. That is something pertinent yet I love food and love looking at food even if I can’t taste it.
Q. When did you write your first story and how old were you?
A. I wrote a book of short stories when I was 16 years old. It was called Broken Souls and it was about the child labor in the carpet weaving industry. And then I wrote my novel Kolachi Dreams which was actually a satire on the high society in Pakistan that was published about 11 years ago. In fact Shobhaa De (Author) had come all the way from India to inaugurate the book. Kolachi Dreams also received a lot of positive reviews though if it had been released now it wouldn’t have received as much because it was a commercial fiction. And then after a period of 10 years I wrote my second novel, that is Invisible Ties.
Q. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A. When I was younger I wanted to be a doctor especially because my father was a doctor, he had later changed his profession but I always wanted to study medicine. But then destiny had other plans for me but I still consider myself a doctor now that I’ve become a psychotherapist.
Q. Is there a book that you’ve read that has influenced your life in a good way?
A. There are a couple of books which have really influenced me, one of them are The Alchemist that I love, then there is Little Woman, Pride and Prejudice, and any books that I can read again and again and love it every time.
I also loved To Kill a Mockingbird. Truth really appeals to me, so anything that shows justice and/or injustice always gains my interest. The newest book that I really loved is The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, I think it was beautifully written. Alice Sebold’s ‘The Lovely Bones’ had been stunningly written, in fact it was quite ‘haunting’. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai is another one of the books that I really loved. I think it terms of the structure, the beauty in the language, plot and story; Kiran Desai had done a great job. These are few of the books which I can’t really forget, the books that make me think.
Q. If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
A. I think it’d be really unfair because I don’t think I’d be able to choose as there are so many, so many books that makes me wish ‘I wish I had written this’ or ‘I wish I had come close to this’, so I can’t exactly say.
Q. What do you like doing when you're not reading?
A. When I’m not reading? That’s very hard to say because I’m almost reading all the time!
Q. What are you currently reading?
A. I’m actually reading a really fascinating book right now that’s called A Temporary Gift by Asma Hussain. It fascinated me from the moment I read a little paragraph from the book. I had to trace the book down and I finally found it in a small bookstore in Karachi.
Q. Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. I think I’d like to meet Arundhati Roy, the author of The God of Small Things and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. I really liked her book The God of Small Things.
Q. Which author got you into reading?
A. Enid Blyton. I’ve probably read every single book by Enid Blyton ever written. So I think she’s the one who had made me an avid reader. I could always relate myself with the things the characters did in her books like playing board games and going on adventures. So from those days Enid Blyton had been fully responsible for making me a reader.
Slowly reading becomes like an exercise, the more you read the more you want to read. I’m an academically inclined person so I do a lot of researches and I write and read a lot. All the work and researches keeps me reading.
Q. And lastly, are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
A. I think the characters in my books are basically fictional, but I think all fiction is somehow or the other way close to faction. And I think that anything that you write, it has to be written with conviction. So I think partly you have to feel empathy, you should feel very close the characters you’re writing about because if you don’t have any empathy for them outside your zone it gets kind of difficult.
I think the fiction that I write about is very close to me, but it’s not really my reality. I know there are people who have wrote about life experiences that they had never really faced at all and yet they did a really good job.
But I think for me the book or the characters that I write about should somehow make me feel the empathy for them. And for that I would say that they’d be close to my reality but not exactly my reality.
Sometimes people mention that maybe the book I recently wrote (Invisible Ties) is about me as my character becomes a psychotherapist just like me or thinks that maybe I based them from someone at my work. I would say yes, in some ways they are, but the girl I’m writing about is a young girl, and I’m not young anymore. So it’s partly my imagination on how would a young person behave or react. A lot of people asked me if what I’m going to write in Invisible Ties is it going to be about me. I said no, not at all because since the time I wrote Invincible Ties there are so many things that have happened in my life, I can never be the same person, and we are never the same person. So that story cannot be my story anymore.