Let's welcome author A.J. Raven to Pure Jonel & get to know him a bit better!
My name is Farid-ul-Haq (Penname: A.J. Raven) and I am currently a 23 year old boy doing my MPhil in biotechnology. I love to write, read and draw. I also love being a student.
Q ~ What’s something that you never leave home without?
My glasses are something I can’t go anywhere without.
Q ~ If you were stuck on a deserted island, who and what would you want with you and why?
I really want to say Halle Berry. But on further thought, I would want to be with a ‘deserted island survival’ specialist. It doesn’t matter who he or she as long as they can keep me alive and find a way out of that island.
Q ~ What are your biggest influences in life? Who are your biggest supporters?
I would have to say my mother. She has done a great job raising three kids and she has supported me every step of the way.
Q ~ What is your favourite genre to read? To write?
My favorite genera’s are fiction, mystery, paranormal. These are also the genera’s I like writing about.
Q ~ Do you have a favourite author? Do they influence your writing?
My favorite author would have to be J.R.R. Tolkein. To write a story as detailed and entertaining as ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is something I hope to accomplish myself one day. I think my work is influenced by the likes of R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike and even Enid Blyton.
Q ~ How did you begin writing professionally?
I wrote my first ever novel way back in 2005, but I didn’t publish it. I wrote my first published article in 2010 and after that I started looking for publishers as I had written three novels by then.
Q ~ What’s the best thing that’s happened since you began writing? The worst?
The best thing is the sense of accomplishment you get when you type the last words of your story. Whether you publish it or not, the feeling of completing something is still amazing. Nothing bad has happened to me because of my writing and I hope that it stays that way.
Q ~ Do you have a favourite character in your work? What is it that draws you to them?
My favorite characters would have to be Anya from ‘Arousing the Legacy’ and Jerry from ‘Missing in Somerville’. I feel that a lot of readers can relate to these ‘reluctant’ heroes. Both teenagers have a lot of growing up to do and they make mistakes. They can also be selfish at times but they try to do whatever they can to ensure that their friends don’t come to any harm.
Q ~ What prompted or inspired you to write these stories? Are any of them rooted in some sort of truth?
I wanted to write ‘Arousing the Legacy – The Colville Mysteries’ because I wanted to create protagonists that weren’t all black and white. I think that all people have grey areas, even heroes, and that should be explored. I also wanted a strong female protagonist. The paranormal aspect is something else that I am proud of. I wanted to show paranormal beings in a real-life setting and something that was away from the whole ‘romantic vampire’ thing, etc.
‘Missing in Somerville’ is a story about a teenaged boy, Jerry, who is trying to finding himself. I wanted to give readers a strong bisexual character, whose sexual orientation wasn’t the only thing that defines him. I didn’t want it to be another ‘coming out’ story. That’s why it’s basically a story about a teenaged boy who tries to solve a mystery that will make use of all his wit to ensure he and his friends come out alive in the end.
Q ~ What are you working on now?
I am currently working on writing the second part to ‘Missing in Somerville’ that will come out on 20th December. There’s a new mystery that Jerry and his friends will have to solve and deal with normal highschool problems.
Q ~ Do you have any advice for those who would like to begin writing professionally?
The only advice I would give to them is to never give up. You will probably face a lot of rejection from various literary agents and publishers. You might not like it, but if you get any constructive criticism, it’s better to apply it to your writing. Nowadays you can also self-publish. However, like I said, whether you go the traditional route or self-publish, don’t give up. You might not strike gold at first, but if you keep writing and working hard, the sense of accomplishment you will experience will be worth it.
Connect online via Twitter: @tempest071990