Author Chat with Syed M Masood (More Than Just A Pretty Face) Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Syed M Masood author of
More Than Just A Pretty Face.
Read on for more about Syed and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Syed M Masood!
Syed M. Masood grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, and now lives with his wife and children in Sacramento, California, where he is a practicing attorney. He wrote a few couplets in Urdu when he was a teenager, and his family still tells everyone he is an Urdu poet. He is not. More Than Just a Pretty Face is his debut young adult novel.
Meet More Than Just A Pretty Face!
For fans of Becky Albertalli and Jenny Han, a sweetly funny YA rom-com debut about falling in love, familial expectations, and being a Renaissance Man.
Danyal Jilani doesn't lack confidence. He may not be the smartest guy in the room, but he's funny, gorgeous, and going to make a great chef one day. His father doesn't approve of his career choice, but that hardly matters. What does matter is the opinion of Danyal's longtime crush, the perfect-in-all-ways Kaval, and her family, who consider him a less than ideal arranged marriage prospect.
When Danyal gets selected for Renaissance Man--a school-wide academic championship--it's the perfect opportunity to show everyone he's smarter than they think. He recruits the brilliant, totally-uninterested-in-him Bisma to help with the competition, but the more time Danyal spends with her...the more he learns from her...the more he cooks for her...the more he realizes that happiness may be staring him right in his pretty face.
~ Author Chat ~
Do you have a favorite writing snack?
No, but only because coffee isn’t a snack. Usually when I’m drafting or revising, I only get to sleep three or four hours a night. I definitely don’t recommend it. But I have a demanding day job and kids, so I have to make time to write somewhere. Basically, when I’m on a deadline or the words are flowing, caffeine becomes my main food group.
Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I prefer drafting. It’s more painful, but it is also more exciting. I don’t plot. At all. I just start writing. This is not exactly efficient—I end up discarding a lot of words—but what’s cool about it is that I don’t know where the story is going any more than the reader does. I’m always interested to see how things are going to end. Drafting is like telling myself the story for the first time.
What’s on your TBR pile?
How much space do we have? Seriously though, right now I’m reading Kylie Schachte’s YOU’RE NEXT. I’ve got THE KINGDOM OF COPPER by S.A. Charkaborty and Leah Johnson’s YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN up next, probably to be followed by Gary Shteyngart’s LITTLE FAILURE. I’m also reading Rumi’s MASNAVI, which makes me wish I had Persian as a language. I could go on and on. It’s an unending list.
What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
RADICAL LOVE edited by Omid Safi. It’s a collection of Sufi poetry. I urge anyone who picks it up to not skip the introduction.
Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel. I’m not good with titles for some reason. So far my agent or my editors have had to come up with those. That probably isn’t going to change any time soon.
Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
There is a scene relatively early on in the book where Danyal, the protagonist, stands up to Bisma Akram’s father when her father is being cruel to her. There were tears in my eyes when I was writing that. It was also the moment I knew I had something. What was it Robert Frost said? “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.”
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Write the truth you know. This is especially true if you’re working on an #ownvoices book and you’re writing about a sensitive and complex identity—in my case, Muslims. You’re never going to be able to please everyone either within or without the identity you’re writing about. People have their own notions about how certain groups of people ought to live, how they ought to behave and how they ought to be portrayed.
I’ve come to realize that as long as you’ve told the truth as you know it, as best you can and with love, you’ll always be happy with your work no matter what anyone says.
What’s up next for you?
My next book, which is for adults, THE BAD MUSLIM DISCOUNT comes out on 11/17/20, and I’m very excited about that. I’m also currently revising a YA manuscript about a boy who has been raised and homeschooled by his hundred-year-old great-grandfather and who is having to adjust to a more mainstream life now that he’s attending high school. He ends up as the dance partner of a girl who confuses him entirely, and vice-versa. It’ll be out next year.
More Than Just A Pretty Face
By: Syed M Masood
Publisher: Little Brown BYR
Release Date: August 4th, 2020
Three winners will receive a copy of More Than Just A Pretty Face (Syed M Masood) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*