By Aminah Sheikh

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Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

I guess I am expected to say: “I write because I love to”. But that’s about as true an answer as “I went into politics because I wanted to serve the country” or that “my father is a film-star has nothing to do with my decision to go into films”. The reason I write is to get published, and the reason I want to get published is to be read. So the actual answer to the question is “I write because I want you to read.” There is no greater high than the knowledge that someone invested the most precious resource they have, namely their time, in something you created, and hopefully obtained a satisfactory return on that investment.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My next book The Mahabharata Murders, a serial killer mystery, comes out in 2017 from Juggernaut, and I have done only one round of edits. At the moment, I am writing the next book in the Sultan of Delhi series, Sultan of Delhi: Resurrection, and for that I had to put on the back-burner, another project that I had finished quite a bit of—Shakchunni, a horror novel, set in 1930s Bengal.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

Conflict, characters, ending.  The inherent conflict, internal as well as external, must be well-established, the characters must have arcs (no static cardboards please), and the ending must pack a punch. Did I forget something? Oh yes. Conversations. They must be the primary vehicle for moving the story forward.

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Farah Ghuznavi

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

I write in order to save my (admittedly fragile) sanity! Otherwise the voices in my head would drive me crazy…

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My most recent project was a short story written from two points of view — that of a Filipino man and a Sri Lankan woman. I was interested in finding out what it would be like to write a story with characters that I didn’t particularly like, and to use contrasting perspectives on the same set of events to tell a third story — one that was different from both versions offered by the protagonists.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

I’m not sure I have a writing aesthetic as such, because I enjoy good writing in many forms. But I do have a soft spot for humour and wordplay, a clever turn of phrase.

Who are your favourite authors?

I have so many! But my favourites include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alan Paton, Elif Shafak and J. K. Rowling.

What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.

The most challenging piece for me so far has been my short story Judgment Day, which was awarded in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition 2010, because it was my first — and so far, only — attempt to write science fiction. The story is told in the voice of a female robotics scientist living in 2250, and examines how human relationships change as a result of technology, and what remains familiar to those of us living in the 21st century. To make matters worse, the story originally had to be written within a word limit of 500 words, and it was one of my earliest experiences with flash fiction!

The Chinese just love to read – both books originally written in Chinese and works translated from foreign languages: China Daily

MurakamiJ. K. Rowling tops the list with 8.5 million yuan ($1.4 million), Haruki Murakami follows with 6million and Gabriel Garcia Marquez is in third place with 4 million. After several foreign children’s writers, Alice Munro is in 15th place with 1 million yuan thanks to her Nobel win in2013.  “The top two have been on the rich list for three years,” says Wu Huaiyao, a publishingobserver who compiled the list.