Q1. Saba, it’s wonderful to have you with us for this Q&A. Please tell us how you got started as an aspiring author.
I’ve always had a love affair with words. I’ve been an avid reader all my life. As English isn’t my first language (that’s Urdu), I often came across words that I didn’t know so I would grab a dictionary and end up reading two or three pages of that. Simply looking at the words, their meaning, and how they could be used in different contexts was a joy to me. I was 12 when I began writing and it was like a whole new avenue of expression opened itself to me. I’ve written on and off ever since, sporadically putting out short stories and the odd poem. Last year, during the Covid-19 lockdown, I decided to do something a bit more serious – hence MicroTales.
Q2. You write in multiple genres as evidenced by the entries on your website. Do you like to publish work in various categories or is there a particular genre of literature which you favor?
I’m not a picky reader. I like to explore different writing styles and authors. And I think this was what made writing in different genres not as difficult for me. But in both reading and writing, I prefer fantasy above others. And I think MicroTales helped me discover this. I felt most comfortable while writing “Perpetuity” and “A Destiny Fulfilled”. I’m also proud of my Mystery/Thriller entry “Rule of Threes”, but writing it was not as free-flowing a process as for the fantasy ones.
Q3. Which authors have influenced your storytelling the most?
As I mentioned earlier, I like to explore different authors and each one brings something unique to the table. Each author I’ve read yet has left me with some aspect that I hope and try to emulate. I read some Stephen King at a tender age and that has definitely left its mark – I love adding weird macabre twists to my stories, such as the one in Lady in Red or Maraschino Cherries. J. K. Rowling is another influence, she taught me how to create characters that live on beyond the scope of your story. She also taught me that your art can never excuse your problematic beliefs.
Q4. List your 5 favorite movies of all time.
- Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
All the LOTR movies were visual treats, obviously. But the last one is definitely the best of the three for me. It has gorgeous imagery and some of the most amazing dialogues. Eowyn’s “I am no man!” gave me chills and definitely left an imprint on my young feminist mind. Above all else, though, I feel the movie bade a proper and fitting goodbye to the series. (And after the colossal failure that was the GoT series finale, I am even more thankful for LOTR #3.)
- The Lion King
I’m sure they’re out there but, in my life, I haven’t met anyone who didn’t like this movie. Most millennials grew up on it and it is a movie that left a lasting impact. For me, the takeaway was that there’s no escaping your destiny, that we should never forget or discount our origins, and that “hakuna matata” is the worst motto ever.
- The Shining
The weirdo that I am, I’m not talking about the epic 1980s version, I’m talking about the three-part 1997 miniseries. I watched it as a child and some horror elements from this show have always stayed with me – like the woman in the bathtub and the man in the bar. I’m someone who spooks easy but I’ll never pass up an opportunity for good horror and I think this Stephen King adaptation is where my love for horror actually began.
One of the first mind-bending movies that I watched and I’m still in awe of the story and how it all eventually came together. For me, this movie’s greatest triumph was how the story was told. I’ve always been a stickler for a challenging story and this movie gave me one. Does it have plotholes? Possibly. Do I still like it? Yes.
Despite it being quite obviously politically incorrect, this is one of my all-time feelgood movies. I went through a depressive episode a few years back and I don’t remember much about it except putting this movie on and laughing at how ridiculously lame the humor actually is. I guess it’s one of those movies that for me is so bad it’s good.
Q5. Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I’m currently working on expanding “Perpetuity” into a novel (or possibly a series? duology, maybe.) I feel like what I wrote comes somewhere in the middle or near the end of the real story of the place and the people in it.
I’m also planning on starting the third season of MicroTales soon. It was supposed to start in January but something or the other was happening for everyone in the group and thus the delay. Hopefully, I can get the band (or a new band) together over the summer.
There’s also another story that I feel is brewing inside of me. I think that there are witches in it, but it’s still coming to me in vague glimpses. Let’s see what it ends up becoming.
Saba T. Siddiqui:
Know Thy Future:
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