Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Interview with author Syeda Mleeha Shah
Today my guest is Syeda Mleeha Shah. Ms. Shah has agreed to discuss her writing.
1. Please tell me how long you've been writing, and why you decided to become a writer.
Writing and arts are two of my passions, however, the children have always been my commitment. I have been writing poetry for as long as I can remember. My focus when writing poetry has always been inspirational topics such as peace, faith, morality or cultural diversity. I believe that writing is a source of self expression just as art is. I write mostly to share my very own sense of self expression and life experiences with young children in a form of creative and learning material.
2. Are you a full-time writer or a part-time writer, and how do you organize your writing time?
I'm a part-time children's writer and artist and a full-time business owner. I run an early childhood education and development program (www.whiteoakchildcarecenter.com) in Virginia. It’s very important to me to find time to write in order to share my inspirations with young children and make a difference in their lives. Most of my quick notes are taken during the day when I am around children as they bring me inspiration along with tons of ideas to write about. The editing is done during the weekends or at night.
2. What influences your writing?
My motivation to write is the presentation of self expression. What influences my self expression are the inspirational concepts such as peace, faith, cultures, nature, unity of the people and, the integration of the cultures and beliefs.
3. Is this your first published work? What other types of writing have you done?
Peace In My World is my first book created for young children. However, I will continue to write a series of peace books following this title. I have been creating arts for young children since 2009 which was first published by World Art Group in 2010, http://www.theworldartgroup.com/search.asp?keyword=syeda+shah and is available for purchase online.
4. Why did you choose to write a children's story?
As I mentioned above, one of the reasons why I wanted to write is because of my desire to make a difference in the lives of young children. I believe that values and morality can be instilled within the nations if started from the children. My concentration when writing for young children is world peace, I believe that if this concept can be communicated with children now it may bring us a peaceful future tomorrow.
5. What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book?
Peace In My World is a picture book created for young children that engages them into the exploration of the meaning of peace and helps them learn to appreciate their environment. The concept of peace and environmental awareness have been around since mankind came into existence. Every now and then we are sent a reminder of this precious asset that we all carry somewhere within us.
There is no particular process or dates to describe but that I simply found a new and creative way of sharing existing concept of world peace and environmental awareness with children through Peace In My World.
For more information please view; http://www.syedamleehashah.com/?page_id=11
6. What are your thoughts on traditional versus self-publishing?
Traditional publishing is the best choice for the children’s authors if given an opportunity and freedom to create materials that reflect the complete sense of self expression of the author. The self publishing is of course the alternative to the traditional publishing and is the second best choice as long as the author is willing to take the challenge of creating materials that will have exceptional value in the children’s market.
7. What is your marketing strategy?
My marketing strategy is to get the message across not only on national level but also within the international children’s book market. This process may take time; however, the topic for this book is universal and involves the entire nation in the process of promoting this title. I have been an active community member and feel fortunate to be providing services to the families with young children within my community through my business of early childhood education and development program. This program and the members involved have brought me a strong support for my book and art.
Also, I am considering some of these marketing and promotional events closer to the release date; Author Book Signings, press releases, Radio & Television Interviews, Book Reviews, Christian Industry Advertising, Trade shows, Internet Advertising, Catalogs, Speaking Engagements etc.
8. What are your thoughts about children's writers needing an agent or not needing one?
I think it depends greatly on how your proposal has been crafted. However, having an agent can expedite the process of manuscript submission and acceptance. Also considering the trends of this industry of writing and publishing you would rather have an agent especially if traditional publishers are your choice.
9. Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
My blog: www.syedamleehashah.com
My Portfolio: www.syedamleehashah.daportfolio.com
Join Me: Facebook.com ,Twitter.com, linkedin.com, jacketflap.com, scbwi.org
10. Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children's literature?
For the new authors:
“Writing for young children is one of the most significant life changing tools that we can use in order to enhance the lives of young children. So create and produce more materials that may help young children make healthy and positive decisions later in life.”
Thank you, Syeda, for sharing your thoughts and ideas about children’s writing today. It’s been a pleasure learning more about your work.