Writing whilst trying to hold down a full-time job is a lot harder than most give credit to. I speak to a lot of people who think I spend my time in artistic pursuits and faffing around being ‘creative’, composing light and airy prose and dreaming up fantastic concepts.
Actually, most of my day is spent trying to come up with ways of improving community relations in a Northern English mill town, where, twenty years ago, young white and asian males ran riot in the streets. I have staff that require direction and motivation, trustees who require guidance and someone to help them develop their own ideas into workable plans. I have to keep an eye on our finance and identify and successfully procure funding for our work, which in current climates, anyone in the non-profit sector will tell you, is like trying to find a bucket of gold at the end of a rainbow. Have you ever tried finding the end of a rainbow?
I’m married and have two children, and I live down the road from my parents and brothers. After work, I have to try to fulfil their expectations of good husband, good father, good brother and good son, which luckily, on most days, just means sitting and talking with them. After all that is done, and the kids and Mrs Jahangir is in bed, I have a choice of going online with my brothers on Killzone 3, or to don one of my two pseudonyms and get some writing done. One of my pen-names writes YA fiction (the one you know and love), mostly of a fantasy or sf flavour, but my other pen-name writes darker fantasy, the kind that would make my parents raise an eyebrow and wonder, is this the boy we raised? Incidently, it was under this second pen-name that I sold a short story to an American press that specialises in anthologies. I’m currently hoping to place another story under this pen name soon.
I recently was featured in two local newspapers, the Lancashire Evening Telegraph and the Accrington Observer, with an article about my writing, my aspirations and my work in helping developing better writing skills amongst children and young people. I also received an email from a BBC Edinburgh journalist who wanted to know more about how my writing fits in with my faith and what my parents made of it, especially in light of an article run by one of the nationals (cited in an earlier blog comment) that Asian parents don’t like their kids going into the arts. It’s just simple economics. The arts don’t pay so well.
Better news is that I was contacted by a UK publisher that is looking to expand their YA list with a works of wider appeal. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

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