Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi, Fiona Fiona Mcvie. Thank you for interviewing me. My name is Nazanin Marzban, Author of “The Town of Mohaba” Novel Series. I was born in 1980. Although I got my first novel published at age 37, I like to rewind to 4 years earlier. That is when I created my story. With that said, I like to think that I am 33.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I am from Vancouver, British Columbia. I moved to Canada with my family when I was 13 years old. I have been living in Canada for most of my life. However, I like to believe that I still possess a Persian heart.
Fiona: A little about your self (i.e., your education, family life, etc.)
I am lucky to have my close family live here with me in Vancouver. I have two sisters who are older than me. They are both married with kids. I am the youngest, with that, I am the most spoiled out of the three. My mother has been the biggest support in my life. She encouraged me to study and make someone out of myself. Life experiences took me through many different paths of self-discovery. And, through this journey, I chose my work over settling down. I have worked all my life since I was 16 years old. I love working and being busy. My priority has always been to have a career that fulfills my desire to live free. Writing serves its magic. I feel complete when I am studying, learning, blogging, and writing stories.
I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the Simon Fraser University. I worked at the same university. And, I spent my weekends writing stories. After my graduation, I enrolled in Education and Linguistic courses. I received my Teaching Certificate in Linguistics. Although I considered teaching, I chose to stay loyal to my university job and continue writing stories. Discovering my true passion, I attended a Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia. I would like to think that my educational background was a strong force in my ability to advance my writing. I was born a writer. But, for me to write my stories in English, I made it a life long commitment to write every day. I finished my novel exactly by the endpoint of my education.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I became a Certified Life Coach last year. At the same time, I opened my own e-commerce, TEXTING COACH TM. I like the writing aspect of my coaching much more than actual coaching. I have a book series that is currently on hold. It is in volumes, “The Secret to Texting your Partner.” The first volume, “The Secret to Texting your Date,” is a guide for partners who want to win their partner’s attention through texting. I also have a relationship book that is currently being edited. It is titled, “Whey Men Play and Women Work Hard.” It will be available through my publisher in 2018 and by latest in 2019. Whenever I need a break from my fantasy book, I sit and edit my TEXTING COACH TM guidebooks. However, priority is given to my published novel series, with the first part, “Death” now available in the stores.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I remember I was 5 years old. I walked in the streets of Iran gazing at the bookstores and their displays. Even if from far, I imagined my book displayed in their window. I think it was my destiny to write. I did not believe that it was possible. I asked my mother when I was very young, “Do you think that I can become an author?” She answered, “Of course, my love. Anyone can. Many great artists in Persian history, didn’t have an education. It is an innate talent.” When my Mother told me this, the door to build my dream opened. I began creating in my mind stories that I planned to write when I would be older and able. Since I could remember I had this longing to imagine things that do not exist in the real world. I guess I didn’t find our world interesting enough.
I remember, I was 8 years old. I would hang out with my grandfather instead of playing on the playground. I walked the streets listening to his stories. My grandpa from my dad’s side was a scholar. I enjoyed listening to him for hours not getting enough. I rarely wrote anything until I moved to Canada. Back home, the school was intense. I had no free time to allow my creativity channel run wild. However, when I came to Canada, in my first ESL course, my English Teacher submitted my writing to the Vancouver Sun Newspaper. I think that was when I became motivated to learn English well. Making school priority, I wrote short stories on the side.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have pictured myself as an author since my Mother told me that I could at a young age. However, a life changing experience, turned me from doubting to believing. In 2013, I decided to submit my fantasy novel, “The Town of Mohaba” to 20 literary agencies. Two months later, I received an offer of representation by a literary agent in New York. Before signing, I received an e-mail from RMA Agency, the agent of Star Wars. The Hollywood agency requested me to edit my manuscript, Part I, “Death”. While I was editing for their agency, I fell in love with Death’s story. Switching my novel from action to narration transformed “The Town of Mohaba” into a romance that helped me vision it turning into series. Although the agent’s responses were vague and no turning me down, I don’t think she liked the changes that I made to my superhero, Death. If I had edited only as she had requested, perhaps, I would have had my novel out at age 33. To answer the question, it was when the Hollywood Agency requested my manuscript to be edited, that is when I began to consider myself a writer.
The moment that I truly considered myself a writer, at last, was when I was hired by my publisher. After failing to sign a contract with the Hollywood Agency, I had become discouraged. My novel was about DEATH invented as a “superhero.” I think that is why Star War’s agent became interested. But, everything happens for a reason. I couldn’t be happier to work directly for a publisher. I get to do more than writing a book. I blog and have a VOICE. It is more fun when you are not strictly working on one book project. Before this, I had moments of believing versus not believing that I was a writer. I pursued a different career. I became a Life Coach. Now, I am where I belong. I apply my coaching experience in writings, with my fantasy and coaching new authors.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first book is a children’s book. It is not published. If you mean my first published novel, “The Town of Mohaba – Volume 1, Death,” the story just came rushing. My work used to be far from home. I got bored while driving. So, I started recording my voice. Then, the characters started to lead the story.
It is interesting because if you hear the summary of my first children’s book, it is somewhat like what I experienced later in life. It is called, “Randy’s Little Cartoon Characters.” It is about a boy who gets bullied in school. I never did but was known as the geek although people say I wasn’t. Everyone brought their school work to me.
The boy in my children’s story used to sit on the corner of the stairs near his school’s playground. He never played with the rest of the kids. He would sit and sketch these unique characters. The other boys would come and grab his drawings and tear it. Randy never gave-up or showed a reaction. He continued to sketch. One day, he goes to his mom and says, “Mom, I want to submit my cartoon ideas with the characters to Hollywood.” The mother tells Randy, “It is too early for you to do this. You will only become discouraged. Don’t you think that it is better to wait?” Randy confidently states, “No.” The mother continues, “You know that you will not hear back from them. You are underage to work. You need to grow up first before you can submit.” Randy begs his mom to help him with the application. The mother helps him submit his work to the agency.
One day, while he was in school, the Mother gets a knock on the door. She receives a hand-delivered mail to sign. It was from a Hollywood Agency. Her hands shaking, she waits for Randy to arrive home. She secretively opens the letter, concerned that it might be a rejection. To her surprise, it was not. She fills-up the entire room with balloons. Randy arrives. He opens the door. The balloons fly into the air. It was a beautiful moment. His mom struggled to provide a good life for Randy without his father in the picture. All the boys in school watch Randy on T.V. as he walks down the red carpet for his new released animated movie. When he returns to school, all those students who bullied him, push away the other kids, to be the first to see him and talk to him about his experience in L.A. I felt sharing this story because when I heard back from the Hollywood Agency, I felt like Randy from years back.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Good question. I would have liked to keep this a secret for my readers. However, I feel that this is the right place to mention. In “The Town of Mohaba,” Death, Mahboo, is in love with a warrior who is placed on the planet with no one to take care of her. Mahboo is forced to raise her with the help of his afterlife friends. During the process, he falls deeply in love with her innocence and gifted soul. Their secluded magical town is away from the real world. Mahboo wanted Mohabat to grow up there so he can protect her. He names the town Mohaba after Mohabat who he named because she is kind. The word Mohabat is an old Persian name and means, “Kindness.” That is why I titled the book, “The Town of Mohaba.”
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I suppose I have a romantic style mixed with magical elegance that is both narrative and descriptive. I find myself to be persuasive when I am writing contents for my relationship books. Innately, I am comfortable with narration. I have a hard time telling stories in third person because I become somewhat reflective. This is the critic that Star Wars Agent had provided me. I guess, that is why I switched my story, “The Town of Mohaba” to narration. Due to this change, the action melted into a romance. I don’t think the agency liked the change. However, an author should stay true to their craft. I see many parts to my novel because there is a deep romance that holds the story together. I don’t know if I see my novel series end anytime soon. The ending of the full series could be beautiful or tragic. I have not decided. I will let the pantster in me decide this when the time is right.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My novel, “The Town of Mohaba” is almost 100% fantasy. I guess the romance could be argued that is somewhat real. However, the love my superhero, DEATH, feels for Mohabat is beyond possible in real life. It is centuries old. I don’t know if that makes sense. You must read my book to understand. To add the afterlife, unless you believe they exist in real life, most of the characters belong to that world.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I do not need to travel. My book is imaginary. I can travel into a different world with my book at any time. To answer the question, traveling even for few days, energizes me. It helps me to do a better job in creating my work. When I get to the draft stages, then, writing is not writing anymore. It is work. That is when I enjoy taking long breaks and travel. The more time that I spend away from my drafts, the less attached I become to them. Then, I can read them as an outsider and spot my mistakes.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Hoffmann & Hoffmann Publisher.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I think, anyone who reads, “The Town of Mohaba”, will begin to have their own interpretation. For instance, there is a deep undying romance that many would wish to experience. Perhaps, it is possible to create this feeling in your life. Others, might read the story and become interested about the afterlife world. This is a topic that I have been very passionate about all my life. Subjects such as re-incarnation and what happens to us after death feed my curiosity. My book opens that possibility for such a world to exist.
I like to wish that there is re-incarnation because then that means we all have a soul. We are not just a physical body. There is the world after we die. There are lessons within my book about peace and meditation. Immortal Buddha plays that role of keeping everyone grounded and focused. He is the man with wisdom. I have a section about the indigenous spirits of the forests who I hold the highest regards for. Some may like that aspect of my story.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Interestingly, I watch many fantasy movies. Yet, I rarely read any fantasy books. I feel that my brain picks-up quickly on words. For instance, Twilight, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter. I have watched all of them but only read few chapters of their books. I guess I like to be true to my own words and creation. I like to relate myself to Benjamin Disraeli. His beautiful quote is in the dedication section of my book. He says, “When I want to read a novel, I write one.” I am more like him. If I do live a long life, I can see myself possibly become part of a movement too.
It is hard to name just one author. There are so many great writers, poets, and authors out there. However, if I could choose one author based on how their words moved me, it would be, Paulo Coelho. His book, “The Alchemist,” is a powerful story about a boy that teaches us to never give-up. This is the core belief of life coaching. As Paulo says it wonderfully, “You fall seven times to only get up eight times higher.” I believe that with my entire soul and body.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to becoming a published author.
I have two. First, my Writing Coach, Katie Rodgers, who helped me during my time editing for RMA Agency. Second, my English Professor, Marti Sevier. She was my teaching practicum instructor at Simon Fraser University. After our training, she would check on me to make sure that I finished my novel. From start to the end of my first fantasy book project, she was my number one believer that I would make it.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I do. In addition to my fantasy novel, I write as a life coach. I do this with the purpose of helping my clients and others to succeed in reaching their dreams. Writing is a career of mine but coaching is a passion. Yet, in everything that I do, even in my blogs and guest videos, I am coaching writers. Writing is like “oxygen” to me. I cannot go on without it. It is not just a career, it is what I do all day from the moment I get up until my eyes close.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I guess it would be spending more time editing especially structurally. Be aware, if authors devoted too much time editing, then they would fall behind with their creativity. Their stories deserve more attention. Of course, with time, authors naturally become good editors. It is up to the writer how much time they are willing to commit to editing and when it is time to hand it over to an editor.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes. I learned to create better dialogues. I learned lots of editing techniques that I can apply to my future writing. I learned how to better manage my time. For instance, I don’t write on paper anymore. It is too time-consuming for me to transfer my work back into my computer.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I would like my protagonist, Death, to lead. For an actor in real life to play his role, it must be someone with lots of muscles. No bias. Death carries a lot of bodies, that is why he is very toned. The rest doesn’t matter. The story can be from someone young or old. You must read the story to learn why that is.
I picture that the lead actor would be a new actor. The reason: Death is introduced as a superhero for the first time to the world. I like someone to take on the lead who hasn’t acted before. Or else, people who watch it, know this person from another movie. I don’t know if that makes sense why I would like someone new. After all, they would be required to lead for an entire series. It is a commitment that many well-known actors may not be able to make. But, I could be wrong.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. When writing your fantasy, write your draft without looking back. Or else, you will become overanalytical. This can slow your writing down. Try not to be too critical of your work until you begin your editing.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Be ready to experience a whole new world. Maybe you will change your mind about what happens after we die. Be ready to become dubious. There will be many twists and shocking events. The mystery will be the core of the story. Also, be prepared to welcome your imagination to go to places that it has never been. You never know, maybe after reading my novel, you will change your mind about life after death. It is more interesting than you might think.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading, “Everything, Everything,” by Nicola Yoon.
I like to share. I am enjoying reading this book because I can associate with it. A few years back, I ended up in the hospital. They found something in my left parietal lobe brain. Initially, it was scary. I lived through thinking I have Cancer, Tumor, or MS. It took several years of following-up on MRI to discover that it is an unchanging scar. I suffer complex migraines. I also experience weakness in my right legs and hands if I am stressed. The migraines have slowed my writing little bet; however, I am super grateful that of all the possible outcomes, the best turned out to be mine.
I can associate with Nicola’s story because I didn’t leave my home for a couple of years. I stayed in my bed like a dead person breathing. I thought I am going to join Death. It is funny because my mom would joke that maybe because I wrote about him in my book that he knocked on my door. Well, if that is so, he has given me my life back. I am going to make the most out of it.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was not in English. I don’t recall the title. I know it was a romance. It was about a young girl who falls madly in love with her teacher.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh at good jokes. I sometimes laugh at silly things; the unexpected words that people mumble; the words that they use in the wrong context sometimes. I cry if I lose someone that I love. I get sad if there is a tragedy of any sort. At the end of a sad movie, I cry if no one is around.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I would meet Buddha. I admire his wisdom. His words are powerful, motivating, and inspiring. I think finding peace within self is not an easy task. You can tell that I worship Buddha from my novel. He plays a big role in the story.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Writing is number one. It is a secret pleasure of mine. I can never get enough of writing. Of course, my favorite hobby that doesn’t count as work would be yoga, walking, and meditation.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy watching the TV show, “The Affair.” The story is about an author who has an affair. It is nice because you get to see how an author lives and makes mistakes. I used to watch, “The Game of Thrones.” I fell behind after Season 5. Considering that my novel involves a superhero, I don’t think that it would be much of a surprise that I enjoy watching superhero movies like Batman, Superman, and Spiderman.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
My favorite food is sushi. I love every tone of blue from light to dark to navy. I enjoy listening to Mozart and Beethoven when I am writing.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I see myself living on an Island close to the waters. It is private with no one around to see me be crazy, free, and far away from the commercial world.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Live without fear of anyone and love without expecting.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes. Please visit my publisher’s website for more information on my fantasy book. You can also find my blog there. All the links to my social media are available at my author’s website. I also have a book page on Facebook.
Book Link: http://hoffmannpublisher.com/fantasy
Author Blog: www.hoffmannpublish.com
Author Website: www.nazaninmarzban.com
Book Page: https://www.facebook.com/thetownofmohaba/
My Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nazanin-Marzban/e/B071DCS5S7