What book(s) have you written?
- Firdaus & Friends: Firdaus Learns About the Heart
When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
I always liked to write even in elementary school. After medical school, I decided to switch from writing fiction to non-fiction, because I felt like it would make more of an impact. There are not many STEM books for Muslim children, and I wanted to change that. I started writing Firdaus & Friends in 2016.
How long did it take you to write your book(s)?
It took six years!
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I like to take difficult anatomy and biology concepts and break them down into a simpler format that kids can understand. Most of this information comes from my prior medical knowledge (textbooks, classes, etc.)
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to bake, cook, travel, and learn about other cultures. I've been to 13 countries so far, Alhumdolillah.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family is super supportive, Alhumdolillah. I remember back in 2016 my parents, husband and I were sitting around the dinner table. My dad said, "When are you going to start writing the children's science book you always wanted to write?" That started a discussion on what I needed to do next, and my dad set-up the "Firdaus & Friends" website that same day (six years before the book was written)!
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I realized that you can't just write a book and then just expect it to sell. You have to work hard to market your title as well. Any product, without good marketing, will never sell.
Do you have any suggestions to help people become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Read other books and book reviews in your genre to see what worked (and didn't). Get an editor, not just for grammar, but also content and development.
What do you think makes a good story?
I like to read stories that inspire me to be a better Muslim, give me hope, or teach me something useful.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a doctor. Believe it or not, there's a video of me at age two breaking my doll's leg and hitting it with a block. My mom asks me, "What are you doing?" And I very clearly say, "I am a doctor. I'm fixing her leg."
What is your favorite book?
I enjoyed the Hunger Games and Harry Potter series (even before they were movies).
Where do you live?
Please share 10 Random facts about yourself for your readers!
- I was a girl scout for 12 years and my mom started the National Islamic Committee on Girl Scouting back in the day. We were the first Muslim girl scouts troop in the USA.
- The name Sara Kulsum means "Princess Chubby-Cheeks" 😅
- I like to play RPG adventure video games.
- My grandfather, Mir Khalil ur Rehman, was a journalist, and the founder of Pakistan's Jang Group of Newspapers.
- INFJ personality type
- I love sushi (spicy tuna roll, please).
- I watch K-dramas and have been to Korea twice.
- Favorite country to visit is Malaysia.
- I have type 1 diabetes.
- And yet I love to bake, decorate cakes, and make mithai.