Name: Dr. Shamenaz Bano
Age: 34 years
Where are you from?
Shamenaz: I am from Allahabad, a small town of a beautiful and exotic country, India. I studied in a Christian Missionary schools and use to celebrate Christmas since childhood. At home in my family many Hindus festivals like Rakhi, Diwali, Dussehra and Holi was celebrated. So I have been brought up in a liberal atmosphere which has affected my thinking and personality making me a secular person and most importantly a human being. I have friends from different ethnic background who continuously support me as well wishers.
I am a nature lover and believe in simple living and high thinking. I like spending time with my friend, family and cousins. My interest in writing is since childhood as it was always my father as he himself was a poet but he use to write in our native language. But unfortunately he was died when I was very small but I drew inspiration from his diaries which inspire me since childhood till now to write poetry or maybe poetry writing is in my blood.
I did my Graduation, Post-graduation and PhD from University of Allahabad on “Women Writers”. While doing my I develop interest in Women Writing and did some work in the field of women writing.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Shamenaz: I just published ‘Women of Passion’ poetry anthology with some of the amazing poetess from India, Philippines & Middle-East due to the efforts of Deborah Brooke Landford. My critical book, Issues, Trends & Implications in Asian Women Writing is also under publication and a Poetry anthology with Deborah Brooks Langford is also under publication. I am really thankful to Deborah for all her ventures.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Shamenaz: I had interest in writing since childhood but started writing since years 2008 with research articles, than book reviews and blogs and after sometime with poetry.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Shamenaz: I still don’t consider myself a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Shamenaz: I started writing literary articles as a part of my Phd programme but later on writing became my passion. People around me and the various happenings around the words are the basis of my writing. I am inspired by various issues related with human existence and try to pen down in the form of writing.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Shamenaz: No, I don’t think so. I basically write on women’s issues and issues related with social and moral concerns.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Shamenaz: Actually I am a Poetess, Literary Critic & Book reviewer. I have not tried my hand on novel writing still.
Fiona: How much of your writing is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Shamenaz: As I told you earlier, People around me fascinate me. Being a hyper-sensitive person I am moved by various happenings around the world related with human survival and so I try my best to justice with some of it. As for example I was very much moved by the drowning of Syrian refugee child, Aylan Kurli and so I compose a poem on it, ‘Sleep Aylan Sleep’.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Shamenaz: Well I can’t mention just one book as there are lots of books in many languages like English, Hindi, Urdu and translated works of Bengali and Punjabi literature.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Shamenaz: It is very difficult for a person like me who has not only ready English literature but also Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Punjabi and Bengali literature to mention one name.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Shamenaz: My friend, Shaista Maseeh is a continuous support for me in the fields of academics since many years. Together we have done some good work. She mostly edits my work and plays the role of a critic in my writing.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Shamenaz: Yes in the present scenario, writing has become a very good. In my country India Publishing industry is running very smoothly and lots of writers, poets are gaining recognition day by day.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Shamenaz: My interest in writing is since childhood as it was always my father as he himself was a poet but he use to write in our native language. But unfortunately he was died when I was very small but I drew inspiration from his diaries which inspire me since childhood till now to write poetry or maybe poetry writing is in my blood.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Shamenaz: My current work is an anthology of poetry, Women of Passion: Poetess from India, Philippines & Middle East with my friends Jolly Bhattacharjee & Sunita Paul from India, Helen Sarita & Tracy Raven Lucas from Philippines and Zahra Myles Zahra & Hamdia Fouad from Middle East which has been able to publish due to the efforts of Deborah Brooks Langford. It is she who came up with the idea and brought us together on a platform not only as a Poetess but as a family. I thank her from the core of my heart.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Shamenaz: Not so much but I wish to write psychological aspects of human nature.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Shamenaz: No, not now-a-days everything is easily accessible due to internet from the book launch to the publicity of the book.
Fiona: Who designs the covers?
Shamenaz: It is basically the Publishers.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Shamenaz: The hardest is obviously the message which you want to give to the readers. Actually many times your feelings are being misinterpreted.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Shamenaz: There are lots many which I learn from my books and the most important thing is how to organized everything.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Shamenaz: Just work sincerely, be yourself and write to please yourself not to particular section of the society and write what your hearts say not for popularity or monetary gain.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Shamenaz: Keep motivating me by your encouragement, suggestions and sometimes criticism.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Shamenaz: I am reading novels by women writers of Sri Lanka and Arab world.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Shamenaz: I think in childhood I first read, ‘Fairy Tales’.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Shamenaz: I enjoy each and every moment of life in a simple way and I am hyper-sensitive so I can easily cry for things which are of no value to others.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Shamenaz: I want to women writers like Shashi Deshpande and Bapsi Sidhwa as I did my Phd research on their novels and I read them so much that I feel associated with both of them.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Shamenaz: A good human being and a successful writer.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Shamenaz: I like photography, clicking pictures of natural landscapes and historical places.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Shamenaz: I like Hindi shows and films based on romance and domestic lives.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Shamenaz: Biryani and Paneer (India Foods)/White and Black/Indian Music particularly Sufi music and Old Hindi Films songs.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Shamenaz: If I would have not been writer than I would just been a Lecturer of English.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Shamenaz: Yes I write blogs-
My Co-author book with Armeli Quezon, ‘Feeling With You’ is also available online on Amazon.
Woman of Passion
Feeling with You https://www.createspace.com/5756146