Hello Amir, and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for my blog.
Your story sounds really interesting Amir.
Can you please tell me about your journey and your life in exile?
I was only nine when my mother rushed me out of school to board a plane for Italy. It was the beginning of the Iranian Revolution, the beginning of my exile. From there, life became an adventure, from going to school in an ancient castle in Florence and playing tennis on the lawns at Wimbledon, to dribbling a soccer ball on the white, sandy beaches of Brazil. What I didn’t realize was that my roots had been permanently up-heaved and that I would spend the rest of my life trying to find a place to belong.
After high school in Brazil, I moved to the U.S. and majored in computer engineering with a concentration in creative writing. I met my future wife in engineering lab and we got married soon after graduation.
In 1999, I wrote my first screenplay, Shutdown, which was considered for production by New Line Cinema with Harrison Ford. I went on to write several other screenplays, and in 2015 published my first novel, Az – Revenge of an Archangel.
In 2015, I was approached by one of the jurors in the Boston Marathon bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and wrote the book Juror 83, which for personal reasons was not published.
In 2016, I entered a script competition and wrote an episode for the sitcom Last Man Standing called My Truck Needs a Wash, while working on my novel Samantha which I finished in 2017. Samantha is currently competing on Kindle Scout for publication by Amazon.
Right now I’m working on my next novel, Kiss Me at the Finish Line, due for publication in December, 2017.
How has this affected you?
We were always a very international family. By that I mean, both my parents studied abroad, I had Italian and Swedish aunts, went to an international school, and travelled to Europe frequently. None of that, however, could have ever prepared me for a life in exile. Sure, it felt like an adventure in the beginning, but soon it became painfully apparent that the life that I knew and the family and friends I had left behind would only live in my memories. It was a new start, and although fortunate to be among the ones to get away, I was unwittingly catapulted into a new sense of identity and a lifelong journey in search of that ever elusive feeling of belonging.
Can you imagine being nine and suddenly going to school in Italy without knowing a single word in Italian or having any friends? And then, as you’re slowly finding your way, to be yanked away again to live in England? Again, no friends, but at least I was fluent in English. But that didn’t last long either, since I soon found myself in Brazil. Once again, no friends and no language. Luckily, I went to the American school so the transition was a bit smoother, but unfortunately, the Iran/U.S. relationship wasn’t. We were right in the middle of the hostage crisis… more on this later. Yes, you guessed it, I’m writing my own life story.
When people ask me where I’m from, I find myself stammering, wondering what I should say. Am I Iranian? Brazilian? American? No, not really… more like an international, cultural mess. So I say I’m from earth, even though when I first came to the U.S. I was tagged as an alien! On the positive side, as a citizen of the world, I understand the nuances of many diverse cultures and can write about almost anything, usually with a lot of humour. Too bad I still haven’t found a place I can truly call home.
Can you tell us about your new book?
Bewitched meets Fatal Attraction! Doesn’t that say it all?
Samantha is a romantic thriller with a touch of magic. I was originally approached by an author whose book I had reviewed, to do a re-write of his novel. Once I started, I realized that wasn’t possible and we decided that Samantha would be a new novel loosely based on the characters he had created. It’s a fantastic roller-coaster read.
When it was publishing time, I decided to try the Kindle Scout competition to see if Amazon would publish Samantha. I very glad that I did, since it’s been on the Hot and Trending list since day two! Oh, yes, if you’re reading this author interview, please take a minute to go to ,www.kindlescout.com search for SAMANTHA, and click the NOMINATE ME button to support me. Thank you.
How do you get ideas for your writing?
Honestly, I don’t know. Ideas just come to me, anything from romantic comedies and action, to thrillers. Being an avid reader helps – reading stimulates the imagination, which helps writing. Right now I have four novels in the pipeline. As an advice to other authors, I always suggest writing about something they know about.
I believe that you have a competition coming up. What does this involve?
Yes, my book Samantha is competing in the Kindle Scout competition. In order to compete, it had to be a never-previously-published completed and professionally edited novel. From the stats, winning novels need around 2500 votes, which is very, very challenging, but the return is significant. If Samantha wins, it will be picked up and marketed by Amazon Publishing.
I’m very happy to say that Samantha has been doing very well in the polls. It’s been in the Hot and Trending list since day two! So, please go to https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2YWWJWSRZQ9XT and vote to support Samantha.
Has living in so many countries given you a lot of material for your stories?
Not directly, but of course it has provided me with a deeper understanding of human relationships and dynamic. For example, if I write a romantic comedy tailored to Brazilian taste, it would probably flop in the U.S., but because I know both cultures, I can tweak it to meet both standards. Interestingly enough, my screenplay That’s Amore was considered too deep for the U.S. public by the William Morris Agency and they suggested sending it to an agency in the U.K. That’s what I’m talking about.
What advice would you give someone who wants to write?
This will sound cliché, but read a lot, write every day, and once your work is out, let it stand on its own merits.
Do you have any plans for further books?
Sure! I’m working on Kiss Me at the Finish Line and hope to have it published by December 2017. After that comes The Iranian, an action/ thriller, and two more titled: An Alien in China and The Racket.
You can order Amir’s book on his website – http://www.aabavar.com/
My thanks to Amir for agreeing to be interviewed for my blog. You story is amazing! I wish you every success.