Today, author Ammar Habib's blog tour is making a stop here in Letho-Ferron-Land. Ammar is a writer who lives in/is from the same town as me. He recently published his first novel, a suspense thriller entitled: Dark Guardian. He took the time to answer the questions below. Read the interview, then check out his book via the links at the bottom.
1. Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and what do you do (besides writing)?
First of all, thank you very much for the interview, Doug. I really appreciate it. I was born and raised just south of Houston, Texas. The name of my hometown is Lake Jackson. Outside of writing I own a online marketing company and am very excited about where that's headed. I also am pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Business Management and will be finishing that up next May. In terms of hobbies, I love to meet new people and spending time with my family (all of whome are my biggest fans). I also like going to the gym because I feel like those really help me clear my mind. Lastly, I love watching movies, mainly action and thriller movies.
2. Tell us about your book. What is it about?
The novel, Dark Guardian, is really great! It's a story about revenge, forgiveness, redemption, and a passion for freedom, both internally and externally. And all of these themes are masked in a great mix of action, drama, suspense, and romance. In its essence, it is a story about a broken man finding his way again. I really feel like there's a lot that can be learned from this novel. There is really something for everyone.
3. What inspired you to write it?
I started writing in 2nd grade. It's kind of an interesting story. My teacher gave us an assignment of writing a story using certain vocabulary words we were learning. It was my first time writing fiction. And I had a blast writing the piece. Obviously, I was in 2nd grade so the story was not well written in the least. But it set me on the path to become an author. After that, I just never stopped writing.
4. What do you think is the greatest challenge of authoring a novel?
The greatest challenge, in my opinion, is being able to stick to your original plan. The writing process takes months and sometimes years. It's easy to change your story halfway through based on some kind of outside influence or self-doubt. But the important thing is to stick to your plan and not let anything change it. Keep the message of the story in front of you and make sure you don't deviate from it. Every story has something unique to say and I know that my story and every other aspiring author's story needs to be heard
5. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
The advice that I've learnt is to have thick skin. Don't let criticism ever bring you down. Rejection letters are opinions, not facts. They don't determine how good or bad your writing is. You only fail if you quit. Be your own biggest fan!
6. What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy the whole process! From deciding on a theme to creating 3-D characters to plotting a story and subplots to interweaving all these stories to writing a first draft to editing the story, the whole thing is a blast in my opinion. But the best part, is being able to read your work from start to finish and being proud that you accomplished the feat of writing an incredible story! Just finishing the first draft of the novel sets you apart from millions of others.
7. What do enjoy least about writing?
The hardest thing about the entire process is finding a traditional publisher. I knew from the start that I didn't want to self-publish the book and wanted to go through a traditional publisher. It took about 9 months and close to 300 rejection letters, but I was finally able to find a publisher in the Zharmae Publishing Press! The rules that I've learnt through this process are: 1) Don't quit 2) Stay consistent in submitting to agents/publishers 3) Have faith that it'll happen.
8. What authors have inspired your writing?
My favorite authors when it comes to fiction are Og Mandino and Ron Rozelle. Ron Rozelle was actually my creative writing teacher in high school. He is also an award winning author. His tutoring is what helped me master my writing skills.
9. Anything specific you want the readers to know about you and/or your book?
Dark Guardian is a great book. So far, it's received 12 reviews through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. All of them have been 5-star reviews. It's a great mix of drama, action, suspense, and romance. It's been a dream of mine to one day be a bestselling author. This is the first step to that dream becoming true in the near future, God-Willingly. I truly hope that those of you who read the novel, enjoy the story and messages!
10. What is your favorite novel?
My favorite novel is hands-down "The Twelfth Angel" by Og Mandino.
Once again, Doug, I really appreciate the chance for this interview. If you or any of the readers get to reading the book, please feel free to get in touch with me and let me know how you liked it. I love to hear feedback and take it into account when writing future projects. So your feedback will be make a very big difference and will be greatly appreciated. Thank you again for the time!