ZEENAT MAHAL

(c) ‘She Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, Zeenat Mahal Facebook page

Zeenat Mahal is an award-winning romance fictional writer whose work saw her win a Gold Medal in English/BBC Mother’s Day Short Story Competition winner 2001. She was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and describes it as a ‘city of gardens, and saints, shrines and Sufis.’
Her work has been published online and received rave reviews. One of her latest pieces, She Loves Me He Loves Me Not released in February, reached number two on Amazon Asia and featured in the top 100 across other Amazon reading lists. Find out more by visiting her Facebook pageofficial website and Twitter.
Tell us a bit more about yourself.

ZM: I write romantic fiction under the pseudonym Zeenat Mahal. I also write mainstream fiction under my real name. Zeenat Mahal was published in 2012 by Indireads, an e-publishing company. I have an MFA in creative writing from Kingston University London. I am quite a capable cook, I cannot knit or sew even two stitches. I cannot live without books! If I don’t have at least twenty books on my nightstand I am lost.

What inspired you to become an author?

ZM: All the authors and books I read. I wanted to influence other people’s lives, give joy, summon fear and pity from within others like they had done with me. There is no greater pleasure than losing oneself into a world created by words. That’s magic in itself.

What has been your biggest achievement to date? 

ZM: Alhamdolillah, I have been on the Amazon bestselling list almost all year in 2014 and two of my books are still in the top ten (at time of interview); I also won the best MFA thesis award.

Have you always wanted to become a writer?

ZM: There was nothing else that made me happy like reading and writing did. Writing completes me.

What is your favourite genre of literature?

ZM: I love Romance and Fantasy.

What have been some of your biggest challenges to overcome?

ZM: I’m not sure how to answer that. Life is a series of challenges. Some you enjoy overcoming and some destroy you a bit, even if you win.

For many writers, it is notoriously difficult jobs-wise and many of us lose heart in what we do. What keeps you going?

ZM: I write because I must. I only got published in 2012 but I have several novels in my cupboard that nobody has seen yet. I write therefore I am.

What has been the best bit of advice ever given to you?

ZM: Don’t be precious about your writing or in other words kill your darlings.

Do you have any authors who inspire you?

ZM: All of them. I really love Jane Austen, the Brontes, and Patricia McKillip. I also love Helen DeWitt.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take?

ZM: Toothbrush and paste (that’s really one thing). Paper and pen. Soap.

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