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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.

Copyright © 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 SN Taylor, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Author Interview: Karimah Grayson

Today's interview is with Karimah Grayson, author of The Shoulders On Which I Stand.

Karimah recently began writing in the little known genre of Muslim fiction and looks forward to sharing the Muslim American experience with the world.

Can tell us a little bit about yourself and your book, The Shoulders On Which I Stand?

My name is Karimah Grayson. I have been married for more than 25 years and am the mother of four. I also have two grandsons. Currently I’m a Social Science teacher for high school. I live in Broward County, Florida. I’ve been Muslim my entire life. I grew up in Philadelphia at a time when all the Muslims knew each other.

“The Shoulders On Which I Stand” is my debut novel. It chronicles a time in the life of Daria Van, who is a US History Teacher. While teaching, she teaches more than the standard history provided in the textbooks. She ensures to include all of the ethnicities of the country. However, her principal doesn’t like that she is going outside of the textbook and causes a lot of turmoil for Daria. On the home front, she finds out her husband takes a second wife. While she doesn’t mind that he took a second wife, she does get upset when he disrespects her and his second wife.
Daria begins receiving threatening calls and cars following her and her children. Because she doesn’t know what to do, she turns to her brother who’s been on the run for more than twenty years. This story takes twists and turns of emotions and different situations. I cannot tell too much more because it will be a spoiler alert.

What inspired this story?

What inspired the book were the various stories that I’ve read through the years of teachers being fired or disciplined for teaching African-American history beyond what I termed, the African-American History Trinity (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Harriett Tubman). I imagined what it would be like if a principal went beyond his means in making someone stop teaching something he disagrees with.

Highlight some of your achievements and challenges while working on your book.

While working on my book, some of my achievements were improving my showing versus telling. Also, I decided to go the independent publisher route and by doing that I found various entryways into marketing my book after it was published. On the other hand, some of my challenges while working on the book were working on description of characters and settings. I found myself doing a lot of research on character development and setting development to work through those challenges.

Describe your writing style in ten words.

I write the story first and then edit the story.

Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.

Five positive words that describe me as a writer are determined, excited, enthralled, tenacious, and serious.

Thank you so much, Ms Grayson, for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your writing journey with us.

Want to learn more about the author and her books? Visit her at:
Her website.
Her email:
Her facebook page.

Her Amazon author page

Monday, July 20, 2015

An Interview with Author, Saadia Faruqi

Today's interview is with Saadia Faruqi, the author of Brick Walls: Tales of Hope and Courage from Pakistan. Ms Faruqi writes fiction, teaches cultural sensitivity, blogs about religion, and organizes interfaith events. You can learn more about Faruqi on her website:

Can tell us a little bit about yourself and your book Brick Walls? 

 I am a Pakistani American writer, speaker and interfaith activist residing in Houston, TX with my husband and two young children by the grace of God. Professionally I am a grant writer, and by vocation I am an interfaith organizer, speaking about interfaith and Islamic issues at a variety of venues in the Greater Houston area. In 2009 I published a research-based book on grant seeking, and for the last decade or so I’ve been writing non-fiction about cultural and religious issues. Only recently did I somehow get the urge to write fiction, hence my debut fiction title “Brick Walls: Tales of Hope & Courage from Pakistan.”

Brick Walls is a collection of short stories based in my birth country of Pakistan. It is a fictional account of characters living in Pakistan, but the situations they find themselves in are very real. Each story in the collection focuses on a specific obstacle the characters find in front of them – be it poverty, terrorism, gender discrimination, police harassment, political turmoil, ageism, and so on. These are the brick walls the characters face, and the stories are about how they deal with these walls. It is a unique look into the everyday lives of Pakistanis, and how they deal with the problems they face.

What was the inspiration behind the book? 

 During my training, when I would speak about Islam or interfaith topics, I would often be asked about my life in Pakistan. Americans know a lot about Pakistan thanks to the news, but most of that information is very biased. They read about bombs and terrorists and violence, but they never see the beauty and charm of Pakistani culture. All these questions made me realized that a depiction of Pakistani life was much-needed here, and that readers would be very interested in learning more about the daily accomplishments and struggles of the Pakistani people. So I decided to write a fictional account based on the reality of that country.

Highlight some of your achievements and challenges while working on Brick Walls. 

My biggest challenge was to decide which topics or themes to write about. I wanted to show a wide variety of situations that Pakistanis undergo, but I didn’t want to go overboard. So I had to choose very carefully which issues I would write about, and which to leave out. I also wanted to make sure I included a variety of characters, male, female, young, old, rich, poor. My biggest achievement I think was being able to find the correct mix of characters and story lines that really make the book all-rounded without being overwhelming or preachy. I have received wonderful feedback about this aspect of the book and how it appeals to so many different readers.

Describe your writing style in ten words. 

Writing stories of cultural importance in a conversational literary style.

Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer. Engaging, dedicated, passionate, informal, and thoughtful.

Thank you so much, Ms Faruqi, for taking time out of your busy schedule and sharing your writing journey with us.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop! 7/2-7/9

Welcome to the Freedom to Read blog hop. 

This hop is co hosted by BookHounds and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer. 

For this hop, I am giving away a copy of Brick Walls: Tales of Hope and Courage from Pakistan.

Rules: Fill in the rafflecopter below. :)
This time around, my prize is for US residents only. Sorry. :( 
You must also be 18 +

About the Book:

Brick Walls: Tales of Hope and Courage from Pakistan is a heartwarming collection of short stories filled with larger-than-life characters and the seemingly impossible challenges they face. Be captivated by these fictional depictions of everyday Pakistanis who struggle with poverty, violence, corruption and abuse, yet rise from the ashes stronger and more enduring. There is Asma the lackluster seamstress, Faisal the would-be terrorist, Javed Gul the Pushto rock singer, Farzana the cantankerous grandmother, Nida the ten-year-old girl with a cricket obsession, and many more. Together they form a rich mosaic that showcases the beauty of Pakistan, her culture and her people.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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