Author interview – The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar by Nabila Fairuz
Nabila Fairuz is Bangladeshi-Canadian author who published her first novel “The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar” a few months ago. She resides in Alberta where she is working on a new novel that should turn into a trilogy.
She studied Engineering in School, but has always been fascinated by the world of books and ultimately decided to write her own story.
Meet the Author – Nabila Fairuz
Tell us more about you and what ignited your passion for words.
I’m a Bangladeshi-Canadian living in Alberta presently. A few years ago, if someone would have told me that I could actually become a published author, I would either have scoffed at them, or thanked them sincerely for their abundant, yet slightly misplaced, faith in my abilities. However, I guess my pigheadedness paid off, and here I am!
It always felt a little bizarre to me that I was so interested in writing, considering that I went to university to study engineering. These two traits seem quite conflicting in nature, yet to me, they felt the same. Anytime I got tired of solving problems in class, my mind escaped into the more familiar and cozy world of writing.
I don’t remember what ignited my passion in writing. As far back as I can remember, it had always been there. I have always enjoyed reading. I suppose writing just came as the natural aftermath of it. When I was a child, my parents read my very first story, a tale about a friendly T-Rex, and decided that it should be published in the local children’s newspaper. The satisfaction of seeing my work published in the paper nudged me to keep on writing more and more until it brought me to where I am now.
What type of books are you writing? Can you tell us more about it or where we can find it if already published?
My interest usually lies in the YA/New Adult genre. I love writing mostly about fantasy. Sometimes, though, I like to mix up real places with fictional characters. For my debut novel, The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar, that is what I did. All the characters in the book are completely fictional, but the places where they went are real.
Before writing this book, I did a large amount of research on pirates and how the world looked during the 1600/1700’s era. I looked up as many old maps as I could find on Google. I read books about the pirates that sailed across the seas in the world. Each of them had their own unique and fascinating tale, and the more I read, the more engrossed I became about them.
The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar tells the story of Shelly, a young girl whose entire family disappears under cryptic circumstances. Not only that, Shelly also has to witness the death of her only sister in a fight. Growing up, Shelly decides that she needs answers and find out if any of her remaining family members are still alive. Her past fuels her on to become a fearsome pirate captain. Throughout the course of her journey, she faces many dangers (and some humorous situations) while she sails across the waters of the Caribbean Sea until she finally realizes her own destiny.
Though her story is set back in time, she still faces the same uncertainties that a person arriving towards adulthood feels. She knows her decisions will have consequences, yet she also doesn’t wish to hold back in life. She wants to have fun and freedom, but is slowly beginning to learn that they come at great cost and that ultimately, she is responsible for her own actions. What makes her a strong protagonist is that she is flawed, and she is aware of them and tries her best to rectify them. Although, being a pirate, her choices, while made with good intentions, are not necessarily lawful.t
The published book can be ordered through Amazon.The Kindle version is also available on Amazon as well.
Would you mind sharing a high, a low or something special you experienced writing this book?
Certainly! Midway through my efforts of getting my book out, I got disheartened and seriously considered giving up writing for good. I always kept comparing my skills to that of the other writers and never considered myself to be good enough. It was a low point for me and my self-esteem.
Gradually though, I managed to climb out of my negative space and pushed those thoughts aside. Even though it got very lonely at times, my family and friends helped me get back on my feet. I reached out over the internet to a few other authors and writers and received positive feedback, as well as tips and advice. They really boosted my self-confidence and helped me to create a better mindset.
I got rejected by quite a few literary agents and publishers before landing a contract for a book publishing deal.
I kept telling myself that even if things don’t work out and I never get published, I can at least remain honest and true to myself, and admit that I gave this chance my best shot. I just didn’t want to give up without trying and regret the decision later in my life. If I have to look back, I’d say that was the lowest point I had faced in this entire experience, but it was also a learning curve for me which led me to become more self-confident.
Are you working on anything new? At which stage are you with this new project?
Yes, I am working on something new at the moment. It’s a story that I am hoping to turn into a series, preferably a trilogy. It is still at a very early stage so unfortunately there is not much to tell. At this point, I have written the basic plot for the first half of the novel, as well as all the characters that will be coming into the story.
Without giving away too much information about the book, and considering that I myself haven’t finished writing it yet, all I can say is that the book will take inspiration from various nursery rhymes lore. Many of the beloved personalities depicted in rhymes will appear, and will either make the protagonist’s life harder or easier. I am excited to create this world and eagerly look forward to finishing it soon.
This will be my second book, and this time I am certainly going to put my previous experience of book publishing into better use. Even though I had done tons of research before publishing my first book, nothing can compare to the lessons I had learned while experiencing these circumstances first hand. This time, I’m hoping to be more prepared.
What advice would you give a new writer?
The advice I would like to give to new writers, based on my own personal experiences, is that they should persevere. Despite all the good things people say about books, writing, or at least fiction writing, is a struggling career. It is also a lonely job. Not a lot of people understand or appreciate it. So it’s important to surround yourself with some like-minded people to help you get through this experience.
Writing is hard, and finishing the manuscript is the least of the work. Not only does a writer need to go through the finished manuscript a couple hundred times (ok, maybe 5 or 10 times), a writer must also take it upon himself or herself to promote and market the finished product. From what I have experienced so far, it is the latter one that becomes the most daunting and time-consuming task in a writer’s life.
So, to all new writers, I would just like to say to not give up. Giving up is easy, but it is scarier to have one particular question haunt you for the rest of your lives: what if I didn’t give up?
Besides writing, what do you enjoy most? Can you tell us something about what you do outside of writing?
Besides writing, my other enjoyment comes from video games. My favorite series is Assassin’s Creed. The historical aspect of the games, coupled with the action and the story, never fail to amaze me. I’ve probably learned more about the world history from all these games combined than any other resources.
I’m a big anime lover too! Though I haven’t had the time to keep track of all the new releases, I still enjoy them as much my time allows. My all time favorite series are most probably Cowboy Bebop and Rurouni Kenshin: The Wandering Samurai. What I love about Cowboy Bebop is that, even though it is set in the distant future, the show doesn’t come across as being overly related to science fiction. Rather, the everyday lifestyle seems pretty much the same as our times, albeit having more advanced technology. Most importantly, the show doesn’t let the technology become the frontrunner in the episodes, rather they explore the humane traits of the main characters.
My other passion is eating out. I love trying out new restaurants and different types of cuisines. But nothing beats having a good old plate of Tehari or Chicken Polau (both Bangladeshi foods).
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