This week I interviewed Nazima who blogs over at The Enchanted Bookcase! I became friends with Naz through Twitter and we soon realised that we shared a love for writing and fantasy! Naz always really motivates me and I’m sure this interview will motivate you too.
She opted out of including a picture of herself, so I borrowed a couple of gorgeous pictures from her Bookstagram account EnchantedBookcase. I hope you enjoy reading!
1. Introduce yourself! Who are you? What do you write / what genre? What are you currently working on? Do you have any published works?
I’m Naz, I’m a university student, and I study/live in London. I’m currently working on my second WIP. My first WIP was a dystopian set in futuristic London that I haven’t gone back to edit yet. My current piece is a fantasy and I’m enjoying writing fantasy so much I don’t know if I’ll ever give it up.
2. When did you first start writing and what motivated you to start?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been an avid reader and I think that really influences what I write but growing up I also wrote pieces whenever I was angry or upset as a means of letting things out. I was a quiet kid so writing was a way of letting my emotions out instead of bottling them up. But the first time I sat down to actually plan and write a full-length story was a couple of years ago just as I was starting university.
3. What inspires you to write? Can you tell us about the inspiration for any specific pieces of writing you have completed / are working on?
I think books I read definitely influence my writing. For example, when I was writing my first WIP, I was reading a lot of YA dystopian and nowadays you’ll find my TBR is mostly fantasy and I’m currently writing a fantasy. I also find inspiration from Pinterest; if a certain image captures my attention I may find a way to build a story around it. My current WIP involves a prophecy, a warrior princess and a revenge-seeking, assassin-type dude. There are a bunch of your cliché fantasy elements e.g. power hungry King, but at the same time I’m trying really hard to make it original. It’s a lot of fun to write!
4. How important is the planning stage for you? Do you like to plan everything before you start or do you simply start writing with a vague idea in mind?
I’m an over-organised person. I like deadlines and planning. For my first WIP, I had an entire notebook dedicated to facts (e.g. since it was set in London, I had walking distance times from one location to another written down), I also had maps and little doodles and names and mini profiles for all of the characters. For my current WIP, I more or less just picked two characters and then started writing and then after a couple of chapters I stopped to plan the basic plot developments to make sure I knew where the story was heading and picked some more names. So, I guess the amount of planning I do depends on the story for me but there is always some planning at one point or another. I’m not against stopping halfway through my writing to jot some info down or do some research/planning.
5. What is your writing process like?
My writing process is everywhere. I try to write as much as I can whenever I can, especially now since I’m on break from university because when I go back I definitely won’t have as much time. I don’t have a set time or word count but I’m always thinking about my WIP and trying to add to it. I even recently downloaded the Word app onto my phone so that I can work on my WIP whenever I have time.
6. What are your writing essentials / what do you use when you write?
I don’t use any fancy writing software, just plain Word documents. But I do have a bunch of writing journals which I use quite a bit, which come in handy when I get an idea right before bed or in the morning when I’m too lazy to get to my laptop. Sometimes when I’m stuck on a chapter, writing it down by hand actually helps a lot. I also use Pinterest quite a bit, mostly for character visuals because it helps me when it comes to describing an appearance etc. and helps me keep track of individual eye/hair colours which I tend to often forget in the middle of writing.
7. What is your favourite thing to write? E.g. Dialogue, action scenes, saucy scenes…
I like writing betrayal scenes. Is that even a thing? Scenes where one character realises the other character has betrayed them/is a traitor and things get emotional and angry…. yeah, those. I also love action scenes but I’m not great at them, ha. Luckily, there are a lot of resources out there when it comes to writing fight scenes. There’s this great Tumblr page called howtofightwrite which I go to sometimes, and YouTube videos help a lot (I’ve used YouTube when writing archery scenes etc.).
8. What do you think is the most difficult part of writing?
Again, I think this depends on the story. For my current WIP, I’m having trouble making some of the side characters as important as interesting as I want them to be. Actually finding time to write can also be challenging.Especially during uni, but long gaps between classes often come in handy.
9. It is always interesting to know what other writers listen to when writing. Do you listen to music whilst you write? If so, let us know some of the songs which have inspired you the most!
I know a lot of writers listen to music while writing but I find it a little distracting because I get too into the song and then forget to write. But I love seeing what songs inspire certain chapters for other writers and I will probably check out instrumental soundtracks in the future. That being said, I do listen to RainyMood when I’m writing and also when I’m studying. It’s so soothing.
10. Do you ever struggle with writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?
Whenever I struggle with writer’s block, I either force myself to write through it – which works more times than you’d expect, or I try to talk out the problem with other writer friends or write out the main plot points in a notebook because sometimes getting the idea out of my head helps me to see it more clearly.
11. How do you go about researching for a new book? Do you have any tips for others who are researching for a book?
I usually have a notebook dedicated to a new story and I plan out the plot and different themes then do research based on different aspects of the story. At one point I had to ask Google which rooms could be found in a palace because I only knew of maybe three off the top of my head… Google is a writer’s best friend, that’s for sure. I think it’s good to keep everything (research and ideas) in one book, it helps to keep the story more organised. I know research differs between genres and writers, and I love seeing how other writers research. The other day Alwyn Hamilton (author of Rebel of the Sands) shared an entire bookshelf she has on research books which she goes back to often while writing.
12. Where do you find your inspiration for character names and place names? Do you ever name characters after people you know?
I try not to name characters after people I know, mostly because I don’t want to subconsciously reflect their qualities onto a character. I think choosing a name is really difficult, I usually scroll through baby naming sites until I find one that I think fits well with the personality/character I have in mind. I think setting also comes into play here – not all the time, but for example, if I’m writing a Middle Eastern setting I’ll often look through Arabic names.
13. What are your future plans when it comes to writing or even publishing?
I really hope to one day publish a book series that I’m proud of! I haven’t started querying or anything just yet, first I’ll have to get my novel drafted and edited but when I do, I think I’ll take the traditional publishing route rather than self-publishing but I guess only time will tell. As for writing, I don’t see myself ever not writing. It’s such a big part of who I am!
14. As we all love books I wondered, what are your five favourite books?
Ugh, this question is torture! In no particular order, my five favourite books from off the top of my head….
- Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
- The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
- A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
- I had to add at least one more I’m sorry: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I know, I’m such a cheater.
15. Finally, where can we find you on social media? (Add your links below)
- You can find me on twitter at SnazzyReads
- On Instagram at EnchantedBookcase
- Blog: EnchantedBookcase.blogspot.co.uk
I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview with a writer and found it motivational, I know I did! I will be back next week with another interview (which I am very excited about.) Leave a comment on your way out, let me know what you thought.