Writer’s Kaboodle Interviews Natasha Ahmed

On February 6, 2014, the lovely Sezoni Whitfield interviewed me on Twitter. It was my first interview, and I had butterflies in my stomach right until we started. But Sezoni’s a fantastic interviewer. She let me ramble on in the beginning, and then guided me to saner avenues when I was finally in stride. I managed to save the bulk of the interview (yay!), and am replicating it here:

Writer’s Kaboodle ‏
Could you tell us a little about BUTTERFLY SEASON?

Natasha Ahmed
It’s a romance, a South Asian story, and a bit of a coming of age story

Writer’s Kaboodle ‏
Sounds like something good to read. Please tell us more, and feel free to share across tweets.

Natasha Ahmed
Well, pre-marital intimacy is a big thing in Pakistan, and this story is about a woman who has to choose

Natasha Ahmed
Give in to love, or stick with social norms. Typical stuff 🙂

Writer’s Kaboodle
Sounds like a classic Romeo/Juliet story. 🙂 Which of your characters would you like to introduce today?

Natasha Ahmed
Rumi is an average Pakistani woman – I’m hoping most Pak women will identify with her. Semi-conservative.

Natasha Ahmed
She’s independent, relatively, but its drummed into her since childhood NO SEX before marriage!

Writer’s Kaboodle
That kind of thinking can be found across cultural backgrounds.

Natasha Ahmed
Really? I thought it was pretty localised to South Asia and the Middle East.

Writer’s Kaboodle
It’s standard moral belief. American women are just more independent and do what they want. lol

Natasha Ahmed
Yes, you’re right, of course. And that’s changing here as well. We just don’t hear about it.

Natasha Ahmed
But hopefully, that means it will resonate with a wider audience 🙂

Writer’s Kaboodle
Absolutely! I’ve watched a lot of Indian films, and I admire many of the women actors.

Natasha Ahmed
As do Pakistanis. India is a big influence here. But the world thinks of Pakistan and thinks burka!

Natasha Ahmed
When that’s really just a fraction of our population. I represent the silent majority 🙂

Writer’s Kaboodle
Like Shuchi, do you also use many Hindi terms in BUTTERFLY SEASON?

Natasha Ahmed
More. I have a whole song in Urdu. But I also have a glossary and notes for non-Urdu readers.

Writer’s Kaboodle
I’m sorry. Forget that last question….

Writer’s Kaboodle
I meant to say, do you use many Pakistan terms in your book?

Natasha Ahmed
Lol! No worries. It’s pretty much the same language.

Writer’s Kaboodle
Phew! I didn’t want to seem a blooming idiot. LOL

Natasha Ahmed
Not at all. It’s our own fault for not promoting our own culture. Something I hope to rectify!

Writer’s Kaboodle
Does the title Butterfly Season have a specific meaning?

Natasha Ahmed
It’s based on the song in the book. It’s a ghazal (form of Urdu poem).

Natasha Ahmed
There’s a line in the song: “as we journey to the land of butterflies”

Natasha Ahmed
And, of course, there’s the concept of a butterfly emerging from a cocoon…

Natasha Ahmed
I have the song on my website  with translations

Writer’s Kaboodle
I’ll definitely check it out. And what about that beautiful dance of yours? Very pop culture. 🙂

Natasha Ahmed
Yes, I’m a big fan of pop culture. or rather, pop culture references.

Natasha Ahmed
but I’m pretty anglicised myself, so I had to dig deep for this book.

Writer’s Kaboodle
Is this your first book, and do you plan keep on writing?

Natasha Ahmed ‏‪
Yes, it’s my first, and yes. Will definitely keep on writing, even if this flops!

Writer’s Kaboodle
Don’t even think that. There are no flops, no bad books. Only great promoters, and I’m one of them. 🙂

Natasha Ahmed
there’s a weird high when you’re writing. And bringing characters to life. I feel like God.

Writer’s Kaboodle
Wow! You get that high on writing? I want some of that! LOL

Natasha Ahmed
Soooo much better than drugs! And we get pure Afghan hash here. Lol!

Writer’s Kaboodle
That’s for sure! How long did it take you to write BUTTERFLY SEASON?

Natasha Ahmed
three weeks. Then three months to rewrite after an editor saw it.

Writer’s Kaboodle
Are you self-pubbed, indie-pubbed or did you choose the traditional route?

Natasha Ahmed
Indie. @shuchikalra and I share a publisher, @Indireads. Great people to work with, just starting up.

Natasha Ahmed
I wouldn’t have written the book if @Indireads hadn’t encouraged me.

Writer’s Kaboodle
Please tell us one advantage to being an indie-author.

Natasha Ahmed
personal interaction. You’re not an anonymous cog in a giant corporation.

Writer’s Kaboodle
So true. I hear that often.

Writer’s Kaboodle
I really like your publisher’s logo. The feature looks like a flame. Pretty cool.

Natasha Ahmed
It’s a ‘diya’, a small clay pot, very South Asian. It has a wick and oil and is used as a lamp

Writer’s Kaboodle
Is your book available for purchase in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, to name a few?

Natasha Ahmed
It will be available, in March, on Amazon and http://www.indireads.com  – all countries.

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