It’s finally here! Maryam’s interview! Hurray!!!
I’m feeling better. Pretty well rested. Getting ready for Christmas. Christmas shopping almost done. But none of that matters right now, because we finally have Maryam’s interview! We get to dive into the mind of this brilliant woman whose work will open your mind to very real characters in situations that you think you know about but really have no idea.
Maryam is one of my Farafina Workshop people. She’s this tiny northern lady with the American accent who wrote that awesome story about a chicken femme fatale. True talk. She also wrote incredibly moving stories about characters from Northern Nigeria, and made me realise that like Jon Snow, I knew nothing about our brethren up there.
Everyone should read a Maryam Isa story. EVERYONE!!!
And lucky for you, you can, but first, say hello to Maryam!
Describe yourself in five words.
Mumtaz, jameelah, magnanimous, and quirky. I’ll leave the last words for the reader. Thank you for gracing my interview with your presence.
What do you do for fun?
Hiking, watching comedy, drinking tea, and organizing stuff (sometimes).
Which would you prefer – a quiet evening at home, or a night out on the town? Why?
I really want to say I’m the type that’s fond of doing the latter, but here I am, at home, answering this and enjoying a lovely cup of ginger tea.
What’s your favourite TV show? Why?
I do enjoy How to Get Away With Murder for the suspense, but then there’s Blackish, Modern Family, and The Big Bang Theory for the laughs. I’m trying so hard not to give up on the Walking Dead, though. I want to see the very last episode.
What’s your favourite drink?
Water! Only because it helps my skin and Fanta doesn’t.
What’s your favourite snack?
Anything I lay my hands on. Why, self control? Why?
What’s your favourite dish?
Ooooh, that is super tricky! Anything, as long as there’s lots of soup in it.
Why do you write?
Because I’ve been given the ability. Because it’s soothing.
How do you get inspiration?
From everywhere, it’s so surprising!
Why did you agree to contribute to this anthology?
Can you say no to Aunty Timi? How? Why?
What inspired your story?
I always write about boys and girls and crushes and I felt it was time to write about another type of relationship, a mother-daughter one. So I cooked up a fictional story and centered it around a very real guava tree we have in our house.
What’s your favourite genre? Why?
I can read anything as long as it’s not about war or politics. Meh.
What’s your favourite book? Why?
Knowledge: I have been reading the English translation of the Holy Qur’an and it’s really helping my vocabulary and making me become a better person. Really, I think everyone should make their kids learn the translation the same time they learn the Arabic version. The book is profound.
Leisure: Anything by Leila Aboulela and Khaled Hosseini. The book isn’t called Anything, by the way. Just anything those two writers have written.
Who are your favourite authors? Why?
Leila Aboulela and Khaled Hosseini.
Who’s your favourite African author? Why?
Leila Aboulela, because she’s really the one person who has written about Muslim girls in an African setting. I grew up reading about blonde girls with blue eyes who have a crush on some cute dude, so coming across a text about about kinky haired black Muslim girls by a black Muslim woman just did it for me.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Write loads of books. Loads and loads. Full time, too.
Which writers inspire you?
Whoever wrote the Ladybird Series, the Biff, Chip, and Kipper Series, J.K Rowling, R. L. Stine, Leila Aboulela, and Khaled Hosseini.
What else have you written?
A few of the stories on creativemuckrakers.wordpress.com
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
You can find me on Twitter as @Maya_Andy