Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
am an author, reader and teacher. My memoir Things Nobody Knows But Me about being parented by a Bi Polar mother from a Non-English Speaking Background was published by Transit Lounge in 2019 and was shortlisted for the 2020 National Biography Award. Read more about it here. Memoir extracts have been published in anthologies Meet Me at the Intersection and Rebellious Daughters.
I am co-editor of the anthology Growing up Muslim in Australia that was shortlisted for the 2015 Children’s Book Council of Australia Eve Pownall Award for Information Books and was selected by the Grattan Institute for the 2015 Summer Reading List for Prime Minister.
I work as a high school teacher and teach across four subject areas: English, English as an Additional Language, Humanities and Creative Writing. If you are an educator check out my Resources for Teachers page. I have written teaching notes for Growing up Muslim in Australia, Meet Me at the Intersection and memoir Muddy People by Sara El Sayed.
My non fiction has been published in Overland, Southerly, The Guardian, SBS Voices and AEU Magazine. Scroll down to view my articles.
I am the author of a novel for children Amir: Friend on Loan, and of award winning young adult novel The Good Daughter. I was born and raised in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs where I work as a high school teacher. I am completing a PhD in Creative Writing at La Trobe University.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Cuckoo’s Song: Short Stories is a short story collection featuring my previously published and prize-winning stories. The title comes from the first story in the collection and it’s the most favourite story I ever wrote and features all the spine tingling things I love: true love, prophecies, and strong women who take fate into their own hands. I’ve always wanted to publish a short story collection and when traditional publishers didn’t knock on my door, I rolled up my sleeves and self published it.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
In the past it has taken me a long time to write a novel because I was working full time as a teacher. In order to keep myself motivated I submitted extracts of my novel as short stories and had them published or placed in writing competitions. Through this I gained some much needed motivation because it confirmed the stories I was telling were worthwhile, it helped me build an audience in order to convince a publisher to publish my books, and it helped me find readers who were interested in my writing. Many of the stories in this collection are extracts of my novels that will soon be published or re-released as an indie author.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I’m a big reader across genres. My favourite young adult books are Looking for Ali Brandi by Melina Marchetta, and None Shal Sleep by Ellie Marney, thriller authors are Sarah Bailey’s Gemma Woodstock series and Jane Harper’s novels, favourite memoirs are The Cat I Never Named by Amra Sabic-El Reyes and No Matter our Wreckage by Gemma Carey.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on re-releasing my debut novel The Good Daughter and the sequel I wrote, The Other Daughter as a duology. I’m very excited about re-branding this books and getting them out there. The Good Daughter is a prize-winning young adult novel and I loved the characters so much I had to keep writing about them in The Other Daughter.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I love using Goodreads as a reader to track my reading and find recommendations and I love seeing reader reviews.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Write, revise, submit, repeat. Writing is subjective and you can’t let rejections decide your worth. Keep fighting for your work by revising and learning.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
“It’s not what you do, it’s what you get done.” This motto has kept me going for all the years I worked at a day job until I got published.
What are you reading now?
Melanie Casey’s Hindsight, the first book in the Cass Lehman psychic detective series.
What’s next for you as a writer?
To complete a thriller trilogy and release it into the world and build on my skills and efforts as ann indie author.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Divergent by Veronica Roth’
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon