Writer Interview : Zeinab Alayan

Hello Everyone, It’s been a few days! How are you all? How is your writing going? I have been busy writing a short story for a competition and still am working on my fictional novel. :) Sooo many ideas have been flooding my mind lately. Totally happy and excited about that! I just thought I would let you guys become introduced to an awesome writer online. Here is an interview with her! Enjoy and let me know what you think! :)

Interview : Zeinab Alayan

1. Where are you from?

I am from Lebanon, a small country in the Middle East. I was born in UAE, but Lebanon is my home country.

2. Currently located?

I’m currently living in Lebanon, but I should hope to move to the States within a year or so.
    -Do #’s 1 and 2 contribute to the settings or characters in your story?

Not really! The settings are purely fictional, and the characters aren’t anything like the people I meet in my everyday life.

3. I read that you run a manuscript editing business with your fiancé? Can you tell us a little about that?

Daniel and I started Manuscript Magic after editing each other’s manuscripts one too many times. We both have degrees in languages, so we thought, “Why not start our own editing business? We’re already experienced enough.” MM is still relatively new, but we’re slowly building a client base. Since we’re writers ourselves, we understand how expensive editing is and how many other writers can’t afford it, so we’ve aimed to be as competitive with our prices as possible.

4. Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

Oh dear. I don’t really like talking about myself, but… um… well, I’m a 23-year-old girl with a deep affinity for chocolate – that’ll be the first thing anyone tells you about me. My childhood revolved around my books, my friends and getting good grades at school. I was always the good kid, never sticking a toe out of the line, haha. I graduated a little more than a year ago with a degree in Translation and Interpretation – I translate from and to Arabic and English – and I currently work at a translation office. The worst thing about that? Waking up at ungodly hours of the morning! When I’m not working or writing, I like to read, draw, watch anime and movies with my fiancé, and sleep. And occasionally I’ll do that thing called chores.

5. What inspired you to be a writer?

Reading, probably. I was really young when I first started writing, so I can’t tell you exactly what made me start. I do remember that I was often reading books instead of playing like the normal children of my age did, and I can only assume that after reading one too many stories, I discovered that hey, I can write stories like this too!

6. Are you an outliner or a pantser?

Definitely a pantser. All my stories have started with little to no brief outline. All I need to start writing is a bunch of characters and a very basic plot, then I let my imagination do the rest of the work. =]

7. Do you write certain parts of your story first and then come back later to fill it in or bridge the gaps? OR do you write it the whole way through?

I write it the whole way through. This often leads me to Writer’s Block, but I can’t just abandon where I’m at and skip to the scenes I like. I know each scene complements the next, so I try to get them all done in order.

8. Do you listen to music while you write?

Occasionally! My house is loud, so more often than not I listen to music to drown out all the other sounds and get myself to concentrate. But sometimes it helps me get into the mood of writing. There’s nothing better than an upbeat tune to help you continue. It’s like having a mini cheerleading squad in the background!

9. Who are your favorite authors?

Hmm. Well, my all-time favourite author is definitely J. K. Rowling. I love Sophie Kinsella, Lisa Lutz and Mil Millington for all the laughs, and Mitch Albom for the touching stories he writes. I also like Agatha Christie and Terry Pratchett for their absolute genius.

10. What is your favorite genre to write in?

I would have to say fantasy. I’ve dabbled in other genres, but I keep coming back to fantasy. You have so much freedom in the fantasy genre, and I feel comfortable in it because I can basically just go wild with my ideas, and nobody would say anything because it’s fantasy anyway.

11. What are some things that inspire your writing?

I’m a visual person, so more often than not I’ll feel inspired by a pretty picture, a scene in a movie/TV show/etc, a situation happening in front of me, or even a dream. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but such things give me ideas that I’m able to develop into stories. 

12. Do you have an inspirational spot where you like to write? Does it have special significance to you?

I don’t have one, no, but… well, many people laugh at me when I say this, but I often get ideas and inspiration when I’m in the bathroom. No joke. I get many ideas while in the bathroom. I guess since my house is pretty loud, the only place I can get any peace and quiet is the bathroom, since nobody can come and bother me in there, haha.

13. Who is someone that has inspired you in your writing?

I guess that would be J. K. Rowling. When I first read her books they reminded me of why I love to write, and I picked up my pen and notebook again shortly after finishing the first one.

14. Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to write your book “Puppet Parade?”

Nothing in particular! Honestly all I know is that NaNoWriMo was about to begin and I wanted to get writing. I had the idea of a masked girl in mind, but beyond that, nothing. She just came out of nowhere and I thought, “Let’s see where I can go with this”, and Puppet Parade was born. =]

15. What are a couple things in your life that contributed to your book?

I remember one thing. I was stuck at one point in the book because I didn’t have a villain (I went through the whole story without planning anything), and at that time I watched Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. I was inspired by Dr. Facilier – the voodoo witch doctor – and the way he controlled people and puppeteered them around. My villain is completely different from him though, in every sense of the word, but I can’t say anything else or I’ll be spoiling the book for potential readers!

16.  Is there a book currently in the works?

Yup! I’m currently working on a book titled, “The Muse Bunny”. In the world of TMB, the muses are in the shape of bunnies (taking from the term, “plot bunny”) and they help inspire all artists. However, the bunny in this story is a bad egg, and his life’s mission is to ruin the dreams and aspirations of artists everywhere. The story is told from his point of view as he tries to destroy Anna, the aspiring author he’s latched himself onto.

17. What are 5 songs playing on your iPod right now?

Recently I’ve been listening to way too much Disney songs, and they include “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” [Mulan], “Look Through My Eyes” [Brother Bear], “You’ll Be In My Heart” [Tarzan]. I also have a number of instrumental tracks including, “Explosive” by Bond and “Raga’s Dance” by Vanessa May.

18. If you could meet one of your favorite authors, what would you want to ask them?

Well, often I’m curious about how many rejections some of them received before they got published, because it helps me feel better about my own rejections, so I suppose I’d ask them about that. I would also like to ask them about their writing habits (what they drink, eat, time during which they write, how they sit, etc), and I’d like to know what they’re like away from their writing selves – what they like to do, watch, eat… things like that. =]

19. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Recently something happened to me that reminded me of something no writer should forget… back up! Seriously, even if you’re a fantastic writer, you won’t get anywhere if your computer suddenly crashes and you lose everything. Also, I recommend that they try to get someone to help them with editing their first manuscript, because it’s after all the first impression they’re going to make in the writing world, and they should want it to be a good impression.

Check out her blog for more from her in the future! :)

5 thoughts on “Writer Interview : Zeinab Alayan

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