Today, we have the honour of hosting an interview with author Shanjida Nusrath Ali, writer of the romance novel Destroyed, which is Volume I of the Dark Love series. Recently, I made contact with Shanjida and she kindly agreed to an interview.
Where do you live and does it feature as the setting for your novel?
(*Laughs*) I live in Dhaka city, which is in Bangladesh. And no (*smiles*) Dhaka does not feature in my novel. My book is basically set in London.
How did you come up with premise for the Dark Love series? Was it something that you experienced, read or watched?
It wasn’t something I experienced or watched, no. But I did read such type dark romances before, and those unique stories inspired me to write.
Your novel is a dark romantic story. I don’t think I’ve ever come across this unique genre before. What is it and what drew you to it?
I get that question a lot. In my book the protagonist is basically a blind girl who was raped by her boyfriend just because he wanted to win a bet among his friends. This bet included them in the harassment and in hurting her physically too, which caused her to be blind. She lived with the tragedy for 3 years. Yet, it didn’t stop her following her dream of becoming a dancer.
Although I’ve read such violence in some books, I wanted to show the readers that such violence happens in real life too. We should still stay strong for ourselves and our loved ones. And most of all some victims blame themselves for such incident even though it’s not their fault. That’s why I approached such story.
And about the hero? Well he also faced a tragedy at a very young age and became part of a cruel world. His father left him, and his mother died because of his father. But to get revenge he got himself involved in a dark world even though he feels like he doesn’t belong there after he meets his girl. Now what dark world? For that you gotta wait till the next book. I tried to show that both my characters are broken but still strong.
This blogger: Wow, that is quite a premise. I love that you have created such complex characters, who have been through horrible experiences, and have come out stronger than ever. You are absolutely right – these people do exist in the real world and they are inspiration to us all.
In two of my blog pieces, I discuss how to approach writing an antagonist or a villain. What makes the perfect villain/antagonist for you in a dark romance novel?
I would say make him/her as cruel as possible. Then, you really make the readers hate him/her. In my book that would be the protagonist’s ex boyfriend. He raped her along with his friends and brother just for a bet and ruined her life. That’s way beyond cruel, I know. But cruelty is what makes a villain’s nature more powerful.
This blogger: Yes, that is a good way to create a villain or antagonist. Readers will certainly hate him when he appears on the page for what he, his friends and his brother do.
Are any of the characters in your series like you? If so, which one(s)?
I would say I’m like Liz, who is Hope’s best friend. Because just like her I’m always there for my friends in both good times and bad times.
This blogger: Then, you are a true friend, Shanjida. Friendship is a rare jewel, and your friends (and family) are very lucky to have you in their lives.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I would say the thought of putting something way too much in my story that the readers might dislike. That thought sometimes weakens me.
If you could give your younger self some advice about the writing process, what would it be?
Don’t speed up the pace of the story and keep things in flow, instead of rushing. And take your time thinking thoroughly about the next plot.
This blogger: I have not heard this piece of advice before and I like it a lot. The pace of the narrative is an underrated element of composing a great story. Thanks for sharing it.
If you could have a famous writer as a mentor, who would it be?
(*Smiles*.) That would be Monica James, for sure. I really adore her and love her books. Especially Bad Saint. I would love to learn how she makes stories so dark and attention grabbing. If I even get to meet her or talk with her face to face or video chat, I will be in the seventh heaven.
Have your family and friends read any of your books? If so, what do they think of them and how do you feel when they talk about them with you?
Only my mum has read it. And she is super supportive about my writing. As this is my first Kindle book, she feels very proud of me and sometimes she discusses about the plot and characters with me to help me improvise more with my story.
This blogger: That’s really nice and supportive. I look forward to the improvisations in the next book in the series. (*Smiles*.)
How has writing changed you?
It has really helped me to be more focused on my work. It’s like writing has given me another new purpose in my life.
This blogger: That’s amazing. I think a lot of people (who don’t write) under-estimate how fulfilling writing can be. I am so happy to hear that writing has made you feel this way, and long may it continue.
What do you do when writer’s block strikes? How do you break it?
I take a break for few hours. Usually, I go for walks or watch some of my favourite YouTube videos, or listen to music.
This blogger: You could have written my blog piece on how to beat writer’s block. I give very similar advice when you can’t break, go under, over or around that figurative brick wall lol.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I practice my artwork skills as I’m an Art student as well.
End of Interview
That brings an end to our interview with author Shanjida Nusrath Ali. I would like to thank her for her time, and to say that it has been wonderful interviewing her. I wish her all the best in her future writings, art studies, and her other ventures going forward.
Destroyed, the first volume in the Dark Love series, can be purchased on Amazon, and I thoroughly recommend it (especially before Volume II, Freed, comes out). Otherwise, check out Shanjida’s website, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with her.
PS: For more interviews with authors, as well as exclusive writing tips and fanfiction short stories, please fill in the form below.