Interview With Author Aamna Qureshi
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Aamna Qureshi, author of the upcoming fantasy, The Lady Or The Lion. We chatted about her debut book, writing retellings, how her Bachelors of Science helps her writing, and more!
Can you tell us what The Lady Or The Lion is about?
It’s a love story between a spoiled princess who isn’t taken seriously and an intriguing ambassador with a tragic past. Plus, lots of yummy food, gorgeous clothes, and a lush setting!
The Lady Or The Lion is a retelling of The Lady Or The Tiger. As someone who recently debuted her own retelling, I LOVE retellings. What made you decide to write a retelling? And how are some ways your novel is similar to the original tale and how does it differ?
I love retellings as well! I think it’s such a fun opportunity to take something that already exists and put your own spin on it. “The Lady or the Tiger?” is a short story, about ten pages long, so I really had fun expanding it to a 380 page novel. At times, it was difficult to work within the confines of the original story, but overall, I found the challenge stimulating and enjoyable!
How does your Pakistani heritage influence the stories you write?
My Pakistani heritage is such a large part of who I am, and my stories are pieces of my heart, pieces of my soul, so of course that heritage will show in the books I write. I cannot have one without the other.
What is a piece of advice you’d give to aspiring authors?
Chin up! I know it is heartbreakingly difficult, but you really must be your own biggest cheerleader. It will be worth it, in the end, but also enjoy the journey. Enjoy the words, the emotions, the stories -- all of it. You would not choose this career or lifestyle if you did not love it.
Whenever I think of the writing/publishing journey, I am always reminded of this quote: “You will always fall in love, and it will always be like having your throat cut” (Catherynne M Valente). Apt, I think.
Your bio mentions that you majored in Bachelors of Science in Applied Math and Statistics and it has helped you draft your novel. Can you explain how?
I did! I actually really enjoy math; I love how there are set solutions and you can check your work and there is the instant satisfaction of being right, without a doubt. Writing is, of course, much more fickle. My background in mathematics definitely helps me to break things down into manageable parts, then solve them step-by-step -- much like you would do with an equation.
The Lady Or The Lion comes out July 20th. Where can we preorder it?
Where’s the best place to follow you?
On Twitter @aamnaqureshi_ and on Instagram @aamna_qureshi.