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You are now entering the world of my thoughts.

This blog is my diary of works in progress. The only way a writer can improve upon her skill is to practice, practice and practice some more. Here, in this place of quiet peace, I pen to paper my thoughts and creativity. Welcome to my world.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Author Interview: Umm Nura: The Jannah Jewels Series

Greetings everyone!!! I feel really bad that I have not been posting on my regular schedule but it has been a very busy month for me. God-willing, I will be starting back to my regular postings. Today I will start it off with an author interview!!! :)

Meet Umm Nura. She is the author of the Jannah Jewel Series. This series features four adventure seeking time-traveling friends on a mission to save the world from a power hungry entity seeking world domination. These girls are fierce, determined and intelligent, each with a unique ability that serves the group. Here's more about the author herself!

Thank you for joining us today Umm Nura. Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a homeschooling mom of two beautiful girls, 3 and 1.  I am a Masters of Arts graduate with a degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Spirituality in Education.  I have been a public school and private school teacher for grades K-12 for 10 years.  Prior to becoming a teacher, I was a Youth Liaison for 7 years.  Currently, I work for a homeschooling organization, in which I am a Learning Consultant for various families in British Columbia, Canada and writing stories part-time.  My hobbies include sports, graphic design, photography, calligraphy, gardening and playing with my little ones.

What are your earliest memories of writing?

Probably writing "more than what was expected of me" in school... Grade 5 comes to mind... when I wrote pages of pages of a story when we were only supposed to write something short and sweet.

Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?

I didn't think I would ever become a writer.  It was something that was encouraged from professors and writing mentors that had a look at my work.

What inspired you to write the Jannah Jewel series?

I was taking Japanese Bow and Arrow - Archery classes when the inspiration came.  I absolutely fell in love with the story of the bow and arrow and researched what Islam had to say about it.  I have always loved playing sports as a Muslim girl who grew up in Vancouver, BC (where Nature is your ultimate playground with the ocean, mountains and abundance of greenery here). I wrote the Jannah Jewels series mainly as inspiration for young girls and boys to continue being physically active and to re-new a sense of confidence and pride of being a Muslim in this day and age.

What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?

To take pride in the years of Golden History that Islam has to offer our young people... for young people to take initiative of the future and make change... to be able to identify with Muslim characters in an engaging story much like other mainstream stories with their main characters... to want to seek adventure, to explore and love being Muslim while doing so.

How can your book be used in the classroom?

Teachers can use Jannah Jewels in a variety of ways... I see it fitting in across the curriculum... mostly, I hope that Jannah Jewels encourages more engaging and fun reading material along with all of the other great literature out there.

What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?

Whenever possible to actually read the book before passing it over to their children! And, I'm a strong believer in that a child is never too old to continue being read to... (I love being read to as an adult!)  I know families who have "reading circles" with their teens and I can't wait to continue this tradition with my children when they are older.

Are you working on a new book?

I just finished my first picture book called, "Hijab and Basketball" which seems to fit right in with the FIFA people lifting the ban of headscarves in national sports.  All praise due to Allah (God)!

What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

The countless emails from parents who are so happy that their Muslim child can read a story with Muslim characters and it's so fun and cool.... and also countless emails from young girls and boys asking me to hurry up with the remaining books in the series.  Haha!  

What advice you would give to new writers?

Everybody has a voice.  Everybody has a story to share.  Yours is needed in our growing world today.  Ask Allah to place barakah (blessing) in your writing and just go for it!

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Member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators