Today we're excited to chat with Saadia Faruqi author of
A Thousand Questions.
Read on for more about Saadia and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Saadia Faruqi!
Saadia Faruqi is a Pakistani American writer, interfaith activist, and cultural sensitivity trainer. She is author of the children’s early reader series Yasmin and the co-author of the middle grade novel A Place at the Table (Clarion). She was profiled in O Magazine as a woman making a difference in her community, and serves as editor-in-chief of Blue Minaret, a magazine for Muslim art, poetry, and prose. She resides in Houston, TX with her family.
Meet A Thousand Questions!
Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, Saadia Faruqi’s tender and honest middle grade novel tells the story of two girls navigating a summer of change and family upheaval with kind hearts, big dreams, and all the right questions.
Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.
The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?
Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most.
This relatable and empathetic story about two friends coming to understand each other will resonate with readers who loved Other Words for Home and Front Desk.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I was visiting my mom in Pakistan a couple of years ago and saw how my American-born kids were reacting to the land of their ancestors. They enjoyed being among people who looked like them, but they also felt a disconnect because of a difference in language and culture. I thought that dichotomy was fascinating, and decided to write about it. That’s how A Thousand Questions was born.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I love all my characters, but Sakina the servant girl is probably my favorite. There’s a lot of myself in this character, the prickly nature as well as the desire to learn and be educated, regardless of what society expected from me. In the story, Sakina may be poor, but she has smarts and wisdom from living a hard life.
YABC: Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I don’t like to eat anything while writing, because it distracts me. But a cold can of diet Coke is always welcome!
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I’ve learned a lot during my writing career, and on the top of the list is that there’s no wrong way to write. I look at every manuscript as valuable – even those that never get published – because they help me improve my craft and practice the art of writing. The errors and deletions in my work have helped me tremendously over the years.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love everything about the gorgeous cover by Aaliya Jaleel. The best thing, though, is the series of silhouettes of actual buildings that exist in Karachi. When I first saw the cover, I began to cry. These buildings are so special to me because they’re attached to all my childhood memories: places I visited with my parents or saw on my way to school.
YABC: What’s on your TBR pile?
I’m looking forward to reading Three Keys by Kelly Yang, the sequel to her wonderful debut Front Desk.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m always writing! I’ve got an early series called YASMIN and titles 13-16 will be released in January. I’ve also got a new middle grade novel YUSUF AZEEM IS NOT A HERO releasing in September 2021 which is going to be an important book because it talks about 9/11 and it’s after effects.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Towards the end of the book, Mimi finally meets her long-lost father. It was quite hard for me to write that scene for a number of reasons. It was the culmination of the entire story arc, and I kept downplaying Mimi’s emotions because I like to keep my own emotions under check. The scene also reminded me of my own father, who had died a few years ago, and who I’d never see again. I had to go back several times and rewrite until the emotion was really palpable.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Drafting is definitely what I’m good at. I write very fast but I edit myself as I go, so that when I’m done with draft 1, I’m done. Then when my editors send me revision notes, it seems really difficult to go back to the draft and work on it more. I’m working on improving my attitude towards revisions, though, because I know how crucial the process is.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I believe my superpower is bringing people together to see things from each other’s point of view. I’ve been an interfaith and intercultural activist for more than twenty years, and it’s an important part of my overall mission. My writing is also a reflection of that: to showcase the similarities between different people, and to help friendships develop.
A Thousand Questions
By: Saadia Faruqi
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Five winners will receive a copy of A Thousand Questions (Saadia Faruqi) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*