Welcome to the Mother/Gamer/Writer Indie Spotlight, a creative way for self-published authors to shine on the blog. Since I have been approached by quite a few indie authors and have been completely surprised by what I’ve read, I thought this would be a great way to spread the word on their novels. To learn more about the Indie Spotlight, please feel free to view interviews and articles from Past Featured Authors, and if you are an author yourself and you are interested in being featured, please Fill Out This Form.
Today’s Indie Spotlight author is Saleena Karim from Nottingham UK. Saleena is here to discuss her science fiction novel, Systems and also to give away both a signed copy and an ebook.
- Title: Systems – A Novel
- Author:Saleena Karim
- BN ID: 2940033004195
- Publication date: 1/15/2012
- Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
2042: Humanity has witnessed the World Democratic Revolution and has left war, pollution and extreme poverty behind.
Elise Archer is a hard-nosed British policewoman with psychic abilities. She also happens to be a reincarnated terrorist in denial. When Peter Manner escapes from a local psychiatric hospital and begins a murder spree, Elise makes the chilling discovery that he too is a psychic … and in another life he was her friend.
Manner is on his way to America, where he and she both mysteriously disappeared thirty years ago. By complete coincidence the global police organisation GAILE has just reopened their case, and needs her help.
But is there such thing as a coincidence?
1. Welcome Saleena to Mother/Gamer/Writer. For those readers who are not familiar with you or your work can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello! I’m from Nottingham in the UK and am the author of three books. The first two were on the founding history of Pakistan. I gained a little notoriety because I discovered that a well-known quote of MA Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was a fake. My third book is also my first novel, and it’s a dystopian and utopian sci-fi thriller. It involves psychics, reincarnation and a conspiracy with ancient origins.
Other than writing in words, I’ve also written music (not very well, though!) for my brother’s independent film company. I’ve also done editorial work and designed book covers for another author.
2. Do you have a particular writing style? Any odd writing habits?
My fiction style is character-focused. I tend to use straightforward language and like to get straight to the point, so I avoid frills and excessive description. Even when writing my non-fiction, which is academic in content, I have always tried to write in a way that is accessible to general readers.
I don’t think I have any odd writing habits … no more odd than most writers, anyway.
3. Who would you consider your favorite authors, or where do you draw inspiration?
As a kid I loved Roald Dahl’s books. I can’t name a particular author as a favourite now, as I read all sorts. These days, my main inspiration comes from Muhammad Iqbal, an Eastern philosopher, and from all my favourite movies, including Equilibrium, Mortal Kombat and Terminator 2. I also draw inspiration from music – especially metal and rock!
4. Are any of your characters inspired by characters from pop-culture like movies or games?
Absolutely. The psychopath Peter Manner, is physically strong and seemingly unstoppable. He’s even returned from the dead (he’s reincarnated) and is strongly motivated by a desire for vengeance. In that respect he has things in common with both the Terminator and Scorpion from Mortal Kombat (incidentally, two of my favourite characters of all time).
Another character, a Brooklyn-born hacker and lyricist named Hitoshi Katayama, has a fair bit in common with the character Rio from the manga Devilman. Hitoshi looks like Ryo – having bleached blond hair – he’s got attitude, and the two have both got a distinctly deep voice (of course, I’m thinking of the English dub of the anime movie when I compare Hitoshi’s voice to Ryo’s). And the music of the Japanese metal group Anthem, which features in Devilman, indirectly influenced Hitoshi’s lyric-writing style. A song of Hitoshi’s band features in the novel, and I’m hoping to get that song recorded for real at some point. (If any musicians out there can recreate a sound similar to Anthem’s, drop me an email! )
5. What books are currently on your bookshelf?
I’m presently reading an autobiographical book titled Soul Unshackled by a Pakistani man named Sohail Fida. He was sent to prison and put on death row at the age of just seventeen after wrongly being accused of murdering his cousin. It’s an incredible story of courage and determination under extremely adverse circumstances (during his prison sentence he studied for an obtained two Masters degrees in International Relations and History).
6. Your latest novel is Systems. What is the background behind the story, are any real life events reflected in the novel?
That’s very hard to answer in a few sentences (I recently wrote a five part series about it at my blog!). Let’s just say that whilst nothing from real life is directly reflected in Systems, my research for my non-fiction had a strong emotional influence over its development. I’m very interested in what makes us humans tick, and what we are capable of achieving. That said, I should add that the novel is a fast-paced sci-fi thriller. The story is set in the future, with psychics, artificial reincarnation and government conspiracy thrown into the mix.
7. What was your favorite scene or chapter to write?
All my favourite scenes contain spoilers. So I’ll tell you about one of my most challenging ones. It’s one in which my serial-murdering psychopath (Peter Manner) visits his ‘mother’ for reasons that again I can’t tell you without including spoilers. To explain the background, several characters in the story are reincarnated, and Manner is one of them. He’s an Englishman, but in his past life he was an African-American Christian pacifist who was very close to his family. The scene was challenging to write from an emotional standpoint because in his present life Manner is a psychopath. His former incarnation loved his mother, and she gradually became mentally ill herself after he disappeared thirty years ago. When Manner goes to meet her in the present, she actually recognizes him as her lost son despite his completely different appearance, and this makes for an emotional scene both for mother and son. It was tricky because I had to generate reader sympathy for a personality type that doesn’t generally get much sympathy from anyone! Still, I think it worked. Two people who read that scene have told me they found it very moving.
8. Were there any ideas or character you had to leave out that you would like to revisit or work into another novel?
Since my novel is an epic I created a lot of characters for it. For my main characters I played around with interesting reincarnation scenarios. For a long time I had a character who was blind in her former life. But while I really liked the idea, I found there were several problems. For one thing, she was a fourth main character and this was making the story too complicated. For another, I couldn’t really put her to any use. I wanted the fact that she was blind to have a function in the plot, but it never happened. In the end I had to accept that this character had to go, and so I changed her into a secondary character.
9. Is there a message, or underlying theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The novel has a philosophical point to make, yes. It asks questions about human potential. But I don’t want to start an essay!
10. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write from the heart – what you believe in. And if you’re writing about things that you don’t know about, be it medical, technical, or whatever else, do your research properly. It will add richness to your writing and will even give you ideas that you might never have thought of otherwise.
11. Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to your fans, or to people who are considering reading your novel?
To my previous readers, I would like to say that Systems is nothing like my other books, but they should still read it, because what they’ll find there might surprise them. A lot. To new readers, if you like the old-fashioned epic tale of good versus evil, that’s exactly what you’ll get in Systems … with a few twists.
You can Find Saleena and Systems At These Locations:
including excerpt and a fabulous trailer (even if I say so myself)
(a fan page run by a couple of very kind readers)
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions; it has been my pleasure having you on Mother/Gamer/Writer!
SK: Thanks for having me!
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About the Author: Saleena Karim is a British-Asian writer and editor who lives in Nottingham, England. She has a BSc degree in Human Biology from Loughborough University. She is the author of two books on history, and is the founder/director of the Jinnah Archive online. Her main subjects of interest are Islamic ethics and M.A. Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Her passion has always been writing, in whatever form. She has worked as a webmaster, a literary columnist and as an editor; she has translated a number of Urdu works into English; and she has also been a co-writer for a UK television show (Deliver!). Her first book, Secular Jinnah: Munir's Big Hoax Exposed (2005) received critical acclaim. Her second book, Secular Jinnah & Pakistan: What the Nation Doesn't Know (2010), is a detailed biography on M.A. Jinnah. Saleena has composed soundtracks and themes for the independent-TV/film production company, Deliverance Films (Deliver! and Curse Of The Bands). She has also produced cover art for OurBeacon Books.
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© 2012, Diayll – MotherGamerWriter. All rights reserved.
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