Shoohada Khanom

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What book(s) have you written?

  • Kamillah the Butterfly
  • Imagine
  • Little Blue Skater Boy
  • Who Could I Be?

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

My love for children's books rekindled after having my first child, but it wasn’t until I had my second child that I realised I wanted to be an author. A strong urge to tell stories planted itself, so I followed the calling!

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

The four picture books that are published, I’d say, probably about 2-3 years. I had actually written five stories in total. When I spotted the submission opportunity, I put forward my best one. When the editor expressed her like for it, I asked if she was open to see more. That’s when I submitted the rest. She liked three out of the four, so I’m grateful. 

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

I’m a flexible writer. Although I try to write every day, it’s not always possible. My children are young and their needs always come first.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

When I write, I go off into my own world. (Not sure if that’s a quirt!) There’s nothing quite like the feeling of words on paper, and being lost in my story.

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

I use google and books for information, especially when I’m researching and checking facts. As for ideas, I think they come from all around me. My children, my day-to-day life, and being aware of what’s going on in the world. I read a lot, and that inspires me too.

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

Read! Reading is my second passion. I read across genres and categories, so I’ve always got something to read. I also like spending time with my husband, children and extended family. They are all important to me.

What does your family think of your writing?

I’m not sure, but I’d like to think they’re happy for me. They ask me once in a while what I’m working on next and send me prayers when I talk about my projects, which I’m grateful for.

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

It’s not as easy as it seems. Especially picture books! When I started out, I wrote freely and had very little understanding of writing stories. It was only after I came back from a long writing break (2017-2021) that I noticed writing courses, craft workshops and webinars, and the writing community. I joined Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 Challenge and InkedVoices (both writing communities) at the end of 2021. They now both play an important part in my learning and progression as a writer.  

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

Read lots of books. Especially the genre you’re writing in. Take lots of writing workshops and webinars. Find a critique group. Learn about publishing. I have a resources page on my website, where I share books, blogs and organisations I’ve benefited from. 

What do you think makes a good story?

I think this will be different for different people. For me, a good story needs to take me on a journey. It needs to be engaging, entertaining and emotional.

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

As a child, I had no ambition. I wasn’t academic at all, although I enjoyed subjects that allowed me to be hands on, like art and design technology. My mum and I did a lot of sewing together, so I’ve always known creative projects are my thing.

What is your favorite book?

I don’t have a favourite book because it’s always changing! There are too many good books out there to just choose one. My reading taste has changed over the years. I read more own voices stories and books by people of colour. Maybe what I’ve read and enjoyed so far this year would be better. YA novels - Mark My Words & I Am Thunder, both by Muhammed Khan. One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus. Children Of Blood and Bone & Children of Virtue and a Vengeance, both by Tomi Adeyemi. MG novels - Front Desk & Three Keys, both by Kelly Yang. A Kind Of Spark by Elle McNicoll. Picture books - My Mosque by M. O. Yuksel. Laila In Saffron by Rukhsanna Guidroz. Watercress by Andrea Wang.  

Where do you live?

Bolton, UK

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Please share 10 Random facts about yourself for your readers!

  1. I love tea. I could live on it!
  2. I love my family.
  3. I love learning about writing and all the nitty-gritty things about the craft.
  4. My closest friends are from childhood.
  5. I love spicy food! Especially traditional Bengali dishes.
  6. I read multiple books at the same time.
  7. I thrive on routine.
  8. My faith is super important to me.
  9. I don’t enjoy rushing. I try my best to be present and appreciate things/everyone around me.
  10. I love watching book adaptations. There’s special about seeing it all come to life.
Shoohada Khanom

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