Was there anyone in your life that you can give credit to helping pave the way?
There are many without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today –– my family, especially the men in my life –– my father and my husband and their encouragement, as well as numerous friends and fans who forced me to not stop at book #1.
What was your favorite book to read as a child?
As children we liked –– no, adored Enid Blyton, the most successful British children's writer of the twentieth century. We were especially captivated by her Magic Faraway Tree series. For us, it had the same charm as Rowling’s Harry Potter books. I can’t wait for my five-year-old to grow up a little more so I can introduce those books to her.
What is your favorite book at the present?
Definitely Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. It has been a life-changing book for me and has allowed me to slow down a little and reflect on the important things in life.
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Saffron Dreams is book # 2 for me. In the novel, the protagonist Arissa Illahi, a veil-wearing Muslim woman, loses her husband in the tragedy of 9/11. Pregnant and alone, she discovers the unfinished manuscript of her husband and decides to finish it as a tribute to him. Her unborn son and her husband’s legacy provide a renewed sense of hope to Arissa as she struggles to put the pieces of her life back together. Harvard professor Dr. Ali Asani describes the novel as "eloquently written, a must-read for any one interested in exploring the lived experiences of Muslim women in the United States."
What was the inspiration behind your book? Why did you feel a need to write it?
I have attempted to capture how ordinary Muslims were affected by the tragedy of 2001 — the silent majority who lead very normal lives and are law-abiding citizens of this land. They are the ones we never hear about because their lives are too ordinary to be the subject of the nightly news. In the terrorist attack of 9/11, the shards of glass reached far and wide wounding the minds of Americans who had been very accepting of the melting pot their country had become. The event put them at odds with a community that had come to this country with very simple objectives: to work hard and lead honest lives. Saffron Dreams is the story of basic human desire to be accepted in society, no matter what your background, ethnicity, or race. The issues that I explore in the novel are universal––racism, discrimination, bias, muddled or forced identities –– those are all common issues that drive the value and worth of an individual in a society.