The Fellowship of the Quarantined

So how are you today? We are bound by a strange fellowship, just like in the Lord of the Rings where a fellowship rose to destroy the one ring…we have this invisible virus.

My Quarantined comrades, how are you passing the time? Reading, writing, picking up new hobbies, painting, drawing, watching movies, meditating, praying….there are many choices. Hope you are taking care of yourselves.

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My days are a bit of a blur. Only a few weeks ago I was transitioning from one job to another. It was chaotic and I had wanted a break. Life can change pretty quickly and here we are. As you might know, my second book will be about Eleanor travelling the world. It is hard to write about travelling in this atmosphere but there are no shortage of wonderful places to explore when things are better. I am a bit under the weather right now but I am making a list of places to research for my second novel. I hope inspiration strikes as I do more research and I can show you how Ellie feels once she reaches there in the pages of my book.

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Procrastinating and book covers

I am currently in progress writing my second novel, Eleanor’s Travels. So far, Eleanor has travelled to the white sands of Jervis Bay, Australia, chased after fireflies in Mexico and come across a grumpy llama in Maccu Picchu.

I find that I am alternating between writing and making covers for the book. A form of procrastination, I am sure. I have come up with 4 covers:

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Which one do you like? I will probably have many other covers while I continue to procastinate-write my second book.

My first interview!

I have my first interview as an author on a blog. I am excited and proud 😊

You can read the interview here: http://liezeneven.com/2020/03/18/interview-with-aisha-urooj-on-my-dear-ellie/

Hope that you read it and let me know your thoughts. It answers some questions about my inspiration for My Dear Ellie and writing in general.

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New world of social distancing

How are you today and how are you coping with this new reality?

Social distancing is the word of the day and the latest arsenal in trying to lessen the spread of COVID-19 virus. There are heartwarming videos of people in Italy singing together on the balconies, a reminder that we are here and all in this together.

Enforcing lockdown means altered daily structures to our routines: working remotely (if you are fortunate to have this option), fitting in outdoor activities inside (attempts at exercising), avoiding the temptations of snacking (kitchen is so much closer at home), using social media to keep in touch with everyone.

Hopefully we will be successful in keeping our loved ones safe by keeping these drastic measures. It is an unprecedented situation. Keep your hopes up. This winter will pass and Spring will arrive and soon we will be told to go soak the sunshine outside. Keep safe in the meanwhile.

COVID19 and Impact on world travel

COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by World Health Organization. As a consequence, world travel has been impacted with some countries declaring travel bans with many more contemplating to adapt the same restrictions. It is an impactful experience and I wonder how it will affect writing and writers.

Would we see more post-apocalyptic books? Would books take a more sombre turn? Would people self-isolating or in quarantine read more?

For myself, it is interesting as I am working on my second novel Eleanor’s Travels, where Ellie is traveling around the world. Do I include a prepandemic world? Do I comment on current state of affairs?

I wish everyone and everyone’s loved ones to be safe. We will get through this together.

On Friendship

I came across a quote that I just had to share regarding friendship:

“But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.”

Poet and philosopher David Whyte

That is what I want My Dear Ellie to be about! By the end of the novel, Cassie is on a seemingly impossible and in this case, a very long journey for her friend Ellie, a journey which fades everything and everyone else to the background for her while focusing on just one ultimate goal, creating the best possible life for Ellie.

First review of My Dear Ellie

I just had the first review of My Dear Ellie done (woohoo!). Suffice it to say, it is what I had expected 3/5 stars. One of the comments was that the ending was a bit perplexing and I am debating myself whether I should include the preview of book three to help explain things a bit? Then what about book two?

The story works out as such that book two reveals the secrets that Ellie has been keeping from everyone, which then ties into her fate in book three. I know including the preview might help the readers (and I don’t like keeping suspense) but I will have to be patient for now.

I hope the readers will pick up clues and connections between all the three books. I promise they are all tied together and you might be delighted when you discover them on your own.

Writer’s Block

I recently read an article on the New Yorker which featured a brilliant writer going through a writer’s block for quite a number of years. Her writing was stalled mainly due to her focus on perfection, there were other setbacks and crises she was dealing with too. In my novel, Cassie is the one who suffers from analysis paralysis, not because she is a perfectionist, but rather terribly and hopelessly indecisive. She is a great character for all her quirks.

When I was writing My Dear Ellie, I didn’t bother when I faced writer’s block, in part because I had no idea I would be publishing a novel nor did I have a deadline or any expectations at all other than just writing. Maybe that is the key lol.

How do you get over your writer’s block?

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