Hi everyone! I have another wonderful guest post for you today, this time from YA writer Zed N. Khan about his journey as a reader and a writer, so hopefully you guys all enjoy it, and get a little insight into Zed and his reading and writing process.
I’m Zed, a writer on the road to publication, hopefully! Thanks to Jo for giving me this opportunity to share a little bit about myself and my process when it comes to reading and writing.
So I wouldn’t say that I was always an avid reader. When I was in primary school, so that’s from the ages of 5 to 11 here in England, I wasn’t always to be found trying to read something but when we had to, like in class or for homework, I enjoyed doing it.
I remember there were these books where the characters surnames were a colour. Like there was ‘Jennifer Yellow Hat’ and her brother Johnny, I think his name was. There was also ‘Billy Blue Hat’ and characters like that and I guess they lived in the same town or something. Those books were fun. I also remember being upset because I didn’t get to perform a play-like piece I had written with my friends for my class. I was quite proud of it and the story that I’d written.
Talking of reading, it was also around this time that my mum used to read stories to my brother and I from this magazine she had in Urdu, our mother tongue. And I always enjoyed those stories so in part- and probably more than that- I credit my mum for my interest in stories, which had a hand in me becoming a writer.
However, it wasn’t until I started secondary school at the age of 11 that I started to read more out of individual choice. Due to some struggles that happened because of my disability, in that being in a wheelchair suddenly wasn’t as easy as it had been the year before when I had been 10, I became really self-conscious and started spending most of my time in the school library instead of on the playground, the way I used to and as a result I began to read a lot more. And I fell in love with books, becoming an avid reader rather than a casual one.
But it was really, in terms of a literary inspiration, the discovery of Harry Potter that started my road to wanting to become a writer. I remember in 2001, watching a trailer for a film that was coming out entitled ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. I was intrigued and, after seeing that the trailer was based on a novel series, when I went back to school after what must have been a weekend or an evening, I went to the library and asked the librarian if the first Harry Potter book had come out.
She said that it had and so had the second one, the ‘Chamber of Secrets’. She asked me if I wanted to take them both and read them over the week long school holiday we had coming up. I agreed, took the books and fell in love with Harry Potter, not knowing at the time that many others were doing the same.
It was JK Rowling who said that as writers we go through a phase where we imitate our favourite authors and it was Harry Potter that led a 13 year old me to try and write a novel about a magical boarding school. Even then though, I was attempting to do something different and my protagonist was an elf, not a wizard.
I can’t stress enough how important reading and writing have been for me. Reading, as well as being fun, was an escape for me when I needed one and writing’s the same, except with writing, I also get to live vicariously because the characters don’t have the same type of struggles that I myself face.
I guess I never grew out of wanting to write that magical boarding school story. Even my WIP now that I’ve been fortunate enough to work on is about an elf that goes to magical school. So I guess that attempt at 13 has also found its way in!
The series is called Marley Grimm and is, right now, a planned 6 book saga. I absolutely love the series and one of the greatest things has been the fact that I’ve been able to add disability representation, something that I found sorely lacking growing up and perhaps something that will inspire readers in the future, especially disabled people who see characters going through the same issues as they themselves are.
I hope each of you all can find your happiness, the way I have with writing.
You can follow Zed @ZedNKhan on Twitter to keep up to date with ‘Marley and me’. The elf, not the dog movie! You can also find Zed’s blog, @BooksNotBeyond.
Thank you Zed for sharing your experience with everyone today! If you are a writer, and you would like to do a guest post for me, then please get in touch. I have spots open for October-December, so either drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a DM on Twitter, my handle is @iloveheartlandX. You can talk about anything writing, or publishing related, and I’m open to all writers, not just published or agented ones.
My next post will be my usual Top Ten Tuesday post on Tuesday, so look out for that. I don’t know what I’ll have for this feature next, it will very much depend on if I get someone to guest for October, but if I don’t I’m sure I will come up with something for you guys!