Monday, April 1, 2013

Author Interview – Shireen Jeejeebhoy

What inspired you to write your first book? I was at the memorial for Judy Taylor, the person Lifeliner is about, when a former boss of mine and fellow Total Parenteral Nutrition patient of Judy’s turned to me and said someone should write her story. I had one of those lightbulb moments. I began working on Lifeliner immediately.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began? I read several biographies and autobiographies, most health related but some by respected writers, to prepare me. I liked the narrative non-fiction style more than straight facts and figures and decided to go with the former. But I also felt that any dialogue had to come straight from the interviews I taped, not from me making it up.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years? I enjoyed Charles Dickens from when I was young. I liked the way he named his characters, his diction, the details he drew. Otherwise I suppose osmosis from all the authors I’ve read over the years from Rohinton Mistry to Agatha Christie. I read a lot of mysteries, and some of that genre’s suspenseful style seeps into my writing too.

What made you want to be a writer? I’m not sure. It’s like a compulsion that comes from deep within and will not be ignored.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Because of my brain injury, I don’t remember what I wrote the previous day. Total blank. (This memory issue may be improving. I hope.) I had to learn to create outlines that made sense to me (mind maps are incomprehensible) and then to try and edit them as I wrote, rather than updating them when I went back to revise. The latter doesn’t work too well. I also need to sketch my main setting, draw and flesh out my characters before I begin, else I get them muddled up in my mind as I write. The discipline to do all that I find challenging.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? That I could write fiction again after my brain injury. Big relief!

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Genre – Christian Fantasy

Rating – PG13

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