Saturday, 21 May 2011

Author Interview: F.H. Faizal, Author of Tikmia

Today I'd like to welcome F.H. Faizal to my blog, better known to a lot of you as Hafsah, or Icey of IceyBooks!  Hafsah has just recently released her Young Adult debut novel, Tikmia and as she is still a teenager herself, this is some feat!  Due to her young age I thought it would be interesting to ask her some questions based around that.  Here's what she had to say:

TSB:  Can you tell us a bit about your experiences of writing and what made you decide to write Tikmia?

FHF: Writing was never my best subject. I still remember the time when my fourth grade teacher had a conference with my dad. She said I only had one issue worth discussing - writing. So yeah, I was pretty bad at it. And to top it off, I did not like reading. To me, there were better things to do than read - play, complete math problems, that sort of thing.

That's what sets me apart from other authors. They all began writing and loved reading from a very young age, while I wanted nothing to do with it.

I've been homeschooling for a few years, and when I reached high school, my English course called for an essay nearly every week. At first, I would stare at the topic, unable to think of anything to write about. But once I got that first sentence down, I just couldn't stop. My grades were high. Once, it even crossed my mind that the teacher was just grading it without actually reading the essay.

I started checking out books from the library and my dad bought me a nook for my birthday. I started my blog, and soon, books became my place to escape into places far, far away. The girl who hated reading now wanted nothing more than to read.

Early last year, I had this weird dream. That dream became the inspiration for Tikmia. So many things hadhappened, I thought I could write a book out of it.

When I told my parents about writing a novel, they didn't think I was serious (my dad even joked about his meeting with my fourth grade teacher). My mom wanted me to focus on studying and getting good grades, etc. They didn't want me to stress out anymore than I should. Homeschooling isn't easy, teaching yourself can get pretty frustrating.

So whenever I had some time aside from blogging, tweeting, bullying my siblings (kidding!), and other stuff, I would be on my computer writing (my dad calls it 'tap, tapping, away'). I just thought I'd give it a try. No one would know if I ended up not writing it.

In the end, I've decided - writing is an incredible experience. Being able to dive into another world where you have the power to change what happens next is a feeling I'll never tire of. But having your work 'out there' for the whole world to see is always a queasy feeling!

TSB - Did you encounter any problems because of your age?

FHF:  Yes and no. Being a teen and writing teen fiction gives you an advantage. I'm a teen, so I would know what's going on inside the head of my teen characters. Adult writers may have experience and knowledge, but I know firsthand what goes on inside the mind of a teen in this day and age.

At the same time, there are difficulties to overcome. I can't just take some time off work, or quit my job. I'm a student, my full-time job is studying and my head is filled with strings of pre-calculus problems and who won the Civil War. So by the end of the day, when my schoolwork is done, there's barely any energy and time left for me to brainstorm and actually write, because like I said above, homeschooling isn't easy.

TSB:  Why did you decide to keep it a secret?
FHF:  Haha, good question.  It wasn't supposed to be a secret.

When I started writing TIKMIA, I just wasn't sure if I would actually reach the end. I didn't want to spread the word - it was my first time writing a full-length novel. I was afraid I wouldn't complete it, or it would turn out horrible, etc, etc.

Soon, TIKMIA was complete, but something in me just didn't think it was perfect. But when I reread it, I actually liked what I had written. I gave it to my younger brother, an avid reader (he reads so much, my parents sometimes ban him from reading) who will stop at nothing to sneer at me, and he liked it. Then I gave it to a friend, who also liked it.

But up until I hit the publish button, I wasn't sure I would. My time was limited, and writing needs time. Publishing a book on your own requires a lot of work. You can't just write and publish - you have to take on the roles of an editor, designer, publisher, and writer - I had to design a cover, make a trailer, format the story into Kindle and nook formats, etc. By the way, I couldn't do any of this without my mom, dad, and siblings' (aka the pint-sized editors) help!

Now, TIKMIA is out there, and everyone in the world knows!

Hafsah mentions that she's made a trailer for the book and we thought you'd like to see it too:

That was pretty awesome!

I hope you enjoyed reading what Hafsah had to say.  If you'd like to know more about the book you can visit the author's website, or get your own copy of Tikmia at Amazon UK | | BN


Gina @ My Precious said...

A great interview and I'm so impressed she was able to write a book at the tender age of 18yrs. I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Thanks for the interview. I learned some interesting facts about this young author and blogger.

Sally@Always Lost in Stories said...

Great interview, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I'm going to have to look for this book now.

And I'm a new follower. I really like your blog. Cute title too. :)

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

So cool! I didn't know Hafsah wrote a book...that's fabulous...good for her :)