Good morning friends and followers! I hope you’re enjoying the spotlight interviews, because I’ve got a new one. Nasim can be found as valeh on nanowrimo.org, blogs at http://nasimmansuri.wordpress.com/, and tweets @nasimwrites.
What’s your background with Nanowrimo like?
I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo since 2008, which means that I completed my first-ever novel on the night before my thirteenth birthday. I think it was one of the best birthdays of my life.
I had heard of NaNoWriMo from some family friends earlier that year, but hadn’t really paid much attention. Sometime in October, though, someone posted a link to the site on a Lord of the Rings fanatics forum, which I practically lived in at the time, and I was instantly in love with the idea. I’ve done NaNo five times since then and won four of those times, completing three novels (yes, I cheated on the last one… I just added 50,000 more words to my novel from the year before), and I intend to win for a fifth time this year!
I’m not sure what initially prompted me to do this crazy 30-day typing marathon (I say typing, because sometimes it doesn’t really feel like writing with all the half-asleep gibberish that comes from sitting on the computer until 4 a.m. just trying to get your day’s count to 1,665 words), but I’m very sure of why I continued to do it. Every year is a new adventure, both for me and for the characters that are born with each novel. I’ve learned that there’s a certain pattern to successful writing in my case, and I’ve continued to expand my knowledge about myself and the world around me with each new story. I love the Viking hats (I used to have one), the plot bunnies (I actually sew plot bunnies for each plot), and the desperate #NaNoWriMo hashtags on twitter that get more incoherent as everyone’s time zone gets nearer to dawn wherever they live.
I’ve had all sorts of weird experiences: one year, I woke up with my laptop still on my stomach and found a creepy smiley face centered at the bottom of my NaNo document… I’m not entirely sure how it got there, and the memory still creeps me out if I think about it too much. I’ve had to juggle finals and novel writing at the same time every single year so far, and somehow managed to survive the stress of it. I’ve written ‘really’ and ‘seemed’ more than twenty times each in the same page and forced myself to just ignore such an abomination. And most of all, I’ve enjoyed the amazing support of my friends and family, as well as my fellow insane writers online, who have never failed to give me advice and support when I’ve asked for it –and sometimes, I don’t even have to ask.
What are you writing about this year?
This is actually the first year ever in which I don’t actually have a well-planned-out plot, and where I’m still lacking a coherent outline (I’m hoping that will change during the next two days –we’ll see). But so far I’m planning to write about a young Ecuadorian woman in America, in an alternate version of our own history where technology is much more advanced than it is now… except it’s the 1950s: so there is a lot of racism, misogyny and Cold War-related stuff. It’s a very interesting subject to write about, and it might be the most interesting thing I’ve written to date. It just takes a ton of research to do successfully.
What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!
Just one? Why are you doing this to me?! Okay… I guess I have to say The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, because I won’t count a series of books as ‘a favorite book’ and I refuse to pick one Lord of the Rings volume over the others. The descriptions in The Book Thief are just gorgeous, and the story –and the way it’s delivered– is very real and heartbreaking.
What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Sometimes you will have to physically force yourself to type. And it’ll hurt your soul because every particle of your brain will be telling you that you are incapable of writing another word. And that’s when you have to close all other windows, take a big gulp of your drink of preference, and write. It doesn’t matter what you write or how bad it is or how much it hurts to write when you’re this tired… you will get to your daily goal and you will do this and nobody can stop you: not even yourself.
Sneaky Ninja question! What’s your favorite breakfast food?
I like bacon –okay, no. I love bacon. Bacon in anything is amazing. But I think my favorite breakfast thing ever (which I haven’t had for breakfast yet, since I hate cooking things early in the morning –I just like it when people cook breakfast for me, otherwise I usually go without) is Breakfast Cups: they’re made out of croissant dough, with sausage slices, scrambled eggs, bacon and cheese. There’s a recipe online for them, though I came up with the sausage slices… you can also switch the eggs for mushrooms if you want them for dinner –okay sorry, I’m rather passionate when it comes to cooking.
Feel free to contact me through NaNoWriMo, my blog, or on twitter! I blog and tweet about my writing process a lot, and sometimes include short stories or weird anecdotes from my life. Though I warn you… my twitter account tends to get a bit hysterical as November progresses.
And I have a random tip based on a discovery I made a few days ago: go and look through old photographers’ portfolios online if you’re in need of inspiration. There are so many amazing photographs with amazing stories behind them, and even more amazing photographs with stories that are a complete mystery. I found Vivian Maier’s portfolio two days ago and one of the people in a photograph was the embodiment of my main character. I’ll never know who the person really was, but I’ll make sure to give her a good story.
P.S.: Have you ever wondered how giraffes sleep? I found this picture on Google the other day, and I think it accurately describes how novelists sleep during NaNo.