Welcome to The Beginning after the End Blog Tour by Hafsa Idrees!
It's my pleasure to host a blog stop as part of Hafsa Idrees blog tour to help promote her debut novel The Beginning after the End. For my part in the blog tour, I got to interview the wonderful author herself, Hafsa Idress.
Hafsa is a multifaceted budding 21 years old Pakistani writer who has contributed as a content writer for a number of websites and magazines. She holds "The 2010 Regional Ricoh (USA) Sustainable and Development Award" for her contribution to the joint Entomology research paper for INTEL ISEF 2010. She also wrote for GOI Peace Foundation Japan. She has numerous honors credited to her name including the Editor and Ambassador of Pakistan's First Youth Newspaper "Shascha", SEO Manager of Revolution Flame, Head of the Creative Department at Fortune Technologies and the Award for "Best Ten Paintings" on World Science Day For Peace Development (2006) by Pakistan Science Foundation. She just published her debut novel on Contemporary Literary Fiction “The Beginning after the End”. Her short story “Bridge of Sighs” was the only one from Pakistan which made its way in to the 100 words’ stories collection of 2013 from all over the world. Having graduated from Punjab University, Lahore with roll of honor, currently she is pursuing her Masters in Anthropology from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad.
“Hafsa Idrees tells an extraordinary story that will make you think about life, death, love and faith like nothing before. The Beginning after the End is a book with a big big heart and a deep deep soul. You don’t enter its world – it enters yours.”
Roy Eynhallow, EynhallowBooks.com
Hello Hafsa and welcome to my blog. It's great to have you and be a part of this wonderful tour. So, let's get started.
At what age did you start writing?
Writing comes to me naturally. Since I learned to read and write at the age of five I have been addicted to knowledge. Not just about a few things, but about almost everything. I’ve been blessed to have had unusual experiences, and received a great education which enhanced my writing skills. However, my first article got published in “SAHAR” Magazine when I was in 8th grade. It was a college magazine and making into it was a huge achievement at that time. Later, I took up part time content/academic writing job right after high school and never stopped ever since. I have just published my debut novel.
How were you discovered?
My parents and teachers discovered me. When I was in school, my essays, stories etc. used to be unique and very mature. They used to observe my unusual behavior of over thinking and sensitivity which I used to relate with everyday activities. I was elder so my younger sibs and their friends got a chance to hear self-made stories and situations; I was a raconteur for them.
What books have you written?
I have written only one book so far, “The Beginning after the End”. It’s a contemporary literary fiction and set in AZ, USA. Besides, I am working on my second book these days in which I am trying to focus on the Pakistani culture and second generation Pakistanis in the story line. It must be out by the end of 2014.
What genre do you write in?
Literary Fiction. I read many other genres but literary fiction is my cup of tea. In my second book I am however experimenting to merge two or three different genres and make it more interesting.
Tell us a little about your most recent book.
“The Beginning after the End” is basically written for those who have been through the emotional sets backs. It teaches them not to give up but to strive forward. You can always take a new beginning after the end of something and “live” instead of just “existing”. Your weakness can be made your strength; you just have to look at things through a different lens. There is a slight difference between NEED and WANT. Your “want” might not always be your need and vice versa. This is the hardest thing to accept but once you learn to accept the ways of life, reality, consequences of your actions and pre-written decisions of God, life becomes much easier. You can’t control everything. It is a universal theme. The book also challenges the common concept of happiness, memories and love. You might think differently about life and death once you read it. It’s a tale of pain, escape, strength and freedom.
Who are your favorite characters in the book? Why?
The leading character Chrishuanna Soule is my favorite as I think she is a lot like me. Chrissie is very different from the world; she is sometimes as strong as iron and sometimes as weak as a snail. But when she decides to do something or achieve a goal, she’d cross every hurdle so bravely no matter what. She would absorb the pains of her beloved ones and take them as hers ..Sometimes funny, witty and sometimes as mature as a 70 years old lady, she will take you in her deep world if you stick to her till the end.
What aspect of your book sets it apart from others in your genre?
It is very much close to reality and the tale relates to many of us. I had experimented to include my own experiences which give the main character in the novel a very strong, personal conviction to the beliefs and feelings that she expresses. And I believe every book is unique in its own way.
Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
The people who surround me inspire a lot in so many ways. Not just the people, but things and places as well. I believe multiple sources of inspiration help a lot in coming up with something really unique and different. We all are stories. We all inspire each other. We all go through rough patches of struggle and it is absolutely amazing if you understand how to harness this energy positively which is just around you.
What do you do when you get writer’s block?
This is very tough. Sometimes a trick seems to work and sometimes the same one completely fails. But carrying a note pad with me just all the time and writing down the things instantly as they hit my mind is very very helpful. Because when you sit to write all you could usually recall is a “good idea” that you had a few hours ago but it’s tough to remember what that idea exactly was. Also, I am not too hard on myself. Even if I know I am writing crap, I just write it because criticism is a part of editing and that comes later. Working on more than one writing project, setting deadlines and keeping them also work very well for me.
What advice could you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Keep writing and don’t let anything else to consume you. There are many parts of book writing which can be soul destroying but don’t let them beat you. You are the boss of your life and the world you create for your books. Your hard work always pays. I think this beautiful quote from Rocky Balboa summons up everything which I intend to say. It is also very helpful for me.
“The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you're hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!”
You can find Hafsa on the following links ~
If you would like to read The Beginning after the End, you can purchase it from Amazon and Smashwords here ~
Hafsa, I cannot thank you enough for joining me today. It's always a pleasure to hang out with fellow authors and get an insight into their imagination. You are full of such positive energy and I know you will go onto bigger better things. I wish you all the success for the future and I can't wait to hear more from you.