YaMi: How were you so sure you would find “The One”?
Shelina: There is something inherently optimistic about human beings. In part I was influenced by the notion of Prince Charming, and falling in love and living happily ever after, and partly I was influenced by the Islamic idea that we are all created in pairs. So I wondered who the pair for me was. 'The One' has a deeper significance in English too, as it refers to the Divine, The Truth,The Eternal, and so in my heart I was searching for that One without even knowing the name.
Failafoosa: What was so hard about writing your first novel?
Shelina: You can read a couple of good pieces on this subject here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/feb/13/valentines-day-religion-islamhttp://theasianwriter.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/finding-the-one-with-shelina-janmohammed/
PonderingImprints: Do you feel that as a Muslim it is more preferable to write non-fiction –real factual information that has happened as in it’s not a lie – as to writing fiction – not real information - ?
Shelina: I started out on my writing career with my blog, and it was natural for me to focus on non-fiction, and so this is my foundation as a writer. However, my writing does have a certain creativity in the book which has often been mistaken for a novel. However, I believe it was important to write this book as non-fiction because otherwise I dont think people would really have believed the stories could be true! When you are writing, with some notion that you want to convey an idea of message, you have to see which medium will convey your story best. Sometimes this will be non-fiction - such as the case of my book. Sometimes this may in fact be fiction, because it is a more appropriate way to touch people with a different perspective. I don't see fiction as 'lying', rather just a different mechanism for storytelling and meaning.
Saks: As a Muslim women living in the West do you ever feel that you sometimes face situations where you feel that want to take the easy way out?
Shelina: Is there ever such a thing as an easy way out? Everything in life is about perspective. In London I can practice my faith with as much vigour as i wish - i can wear hijab, (or niqab if i wanted!), I can work, I can be educated, I could have an islamic mortgage etc etc. I lived in Bahrain for a year for work, and found that some challenges are harder to 'Muslim' countries, and some are harder in 'the West'. What I concluded is that people have the same preoccupations wherever they are, they are just expressed in different ways. What it comes down to is who you are, and what you do with your resources - your time, effort, energy and enthusiasm.
She added in the end :
"Good luck with the book club meeting - and let me know what was discussed!with warmest wishes shelina"