By Farah Ghuznavi

Saad Hi Res 3

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

I enjoy playing god with my characters. I like building worlds that are not quite real, but reflect parts of reality for different people. There are a lot of hypothetical situations you can explore when you’re writing fiction, and even more when you’re writing fantasy and sci-fi. But mostly, I like telling a good story, I like making up characters, I enjoy the idea that I’m creating something that other people might appreciate.

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

I’m editing my second novel, which is tentatively called Djinn City. It’s about djinns living in Dhaka, causing mayhem, and the subset of humans who interact with them. I’m not taking the folk tale approach to djinns, but I’m building up their culture, their history, their character from the ground up.

This is a Bengal centric novel. In genre fiction, the centre of the world, the kind of focal point of history and the future is always some place like London, or New York, white places with Eurocentric cultures. This is normal, since almost all genre writers in English are of European descent. In my novel, Bengal is the centre of history and magic and the future, everywhere else exists in peripheral darkness.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

I got nothing. Writing aesthetic is for prize winners. I’m a genre guy. The most I can hope for is to rip off George RR Martin twenty years from now and get on HBO. If HBO still exists in 2036.

By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

kristine-ong-muslim-pix

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

Because writing is fun.

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

My latest book is Age of Blight, a collection of short stories that mostly talk about humanity’s toxic impact to the natural world and how unfair it is to nonhuman animals that we are taking them down with us as we destroy this planet. Some stories in the book also attempt to straddle both supernatural horror and psychological horror—two genres I love.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

A body of writing that evolves form-wise and theme-wise (and treatments thereof) so that in book after book, I’ll be able to see a semblance of progress. Stories that delve into ethical issues and use POVs in order to subtly distinguish between right and wrong. Ecological themes. In poetry: not terribly postmodernist-style detached in tone, not overtly emo, either. Personas with universal empathy. Conjuring a dreamlike feel always appeals to me.

Who are your favorite authors?

Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, Thomas Harris, Ira Levin, Herbert Lieberman, Stephen King, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Shirley Jackson, Terry Bisson, Brendan Connell, Rhys Hughes, Patricia Russo, Bruce Boston, Dan Chaon, Matt Bell, Brian Evenson, plus many contemporary writers, mostly poets. Recent fiction addictions include those authored by Damien Angelica Walters and Nalo Hopkinson.

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

My planned first novel, which I aim to finish by the end of this year. It is challenging because if it sucked then I will have a hard time selling my next one.