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Rumana Husain

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What book(s) have you written?

Several. Over sixty, therefore not possible to list them here.

When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

I have been writing stories since my childhood, but after heading a school in 1986, I realised the paucity of good children's books in Pakistan, particularly in Urdu, therefore co-founded the Bookgroup, and wrote and illustrated the first book, its teacher's manual, and trained teachers across the country after producing a few more books by the end of the 1980s.

How long did it take you to write your book(s)?

It depends. Fiction is easier, and can be written even in one sitting, but my coffee-table books for general readership: 'Karachiwala: a Subcontinent within a City' and 'Street Smart: Professions on the Street' took me two years to complete. Similarly, the graphic novels I have written for the Oxford University Press are biographies of eminent Pakistani personalities, and a lot of research wet into those.  

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I am at my computer almost every single day, writing for at least 4-6 hours.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

When writing fiction, I don't have a plot in my mind. I just have to have an opening sentence or a vague idea, which develops as I write.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

An idea or inspiration generally comes from something I have observed/heard/read/experienced. There are no hard and fast rules.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Read books, watch movies or tv shows, illustrate my books, play Scrabble with my husband (it's something we do regularly), create something with fabric...

What does your family think of your writing?

I think they are proud of me :)

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

There is no money to be gained in it.  

Do you have any suggestions to help people become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Just follow your heart; your passion. Reading good books are an absolute must. Stop thinking too much about what and how you will become a writer, as you need to start writing, irrespective of whether it turns out good or bad.  

What do you think makes a good story?

Something unusual, engaging, gripping.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Become an artist, a writer, an actor, a director, a singer.

What is your favorite book?

Can't answer that as there are many.  

Where do you live?

Karachi, Pakistan

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Please share 10 Random facts about yourself for your readers!

  1. I like to wear sarees.
  2. I love to travel and see new places.
  3. I love daal-chawal.
  4. I enjoy interacting with children.
Rumana Husain

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