Author Interview With Aamna Qureshi

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a special one because the lovely Aamna Qureshi is here to answer some of my questions. I am beyond excited to have her here with us today! Before we get into the interview, here is a bit about her upcoming novel; The Lady or the Lion.

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(Synopsis from goodreads)

Crown princess of Marghazar, Durkhanai Miangul will do anything to protect her people and her land. When her grandfather, the Badshah, is blamed for a deadly assault on the summit of neighboring leaders, the tribes call for his head. To assuage cries for war, the Badshah opens Marghazar’s gates to foreigners for the first time in centuries, in a sign of good faith. Enter Ambassador Asfandyar Afridi, a wry foreigner who admits outright that he is a spy. Stubborn, proud, and suspicious of foreigners, Durkhanai does not appreciate that he won’t bow to her every whim and instead talks circles around her.

And yet, she has to make him her ally to expose those truly responsible for the attack as more ambassadors from neighboring tribal districts arrive at court, each one of them with their own agenda and reasons to hide the truth. When a mysterious illness spreads through the village and the imperialists push hard on her borders, Durkhanai must sort through the ever shifting loyalties at court and her growing feelings for Asfandyar. Will she be able to leave the antics of a spoiled princess behind and become what her people need-a queen?

Without further ado, here is the interview!

1. Hi there Aamna! I’m super happy that you’re here with us today. Before we start, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Aamna: Hi! Thanks for having me! A little bit about myself is that I’m twenty-one, I have an intense love for period dramas, I am really close with my family, I constantly miss Pakistan, and I am currently living the dream as an author!

Saniya: That’s wonderful!

2. I cannot wait to read The Lady or the Lion! May I ask, what inspired the making of this novel?

Aamna: I was inspired by the short story “The Lady or the Tiger?” and my love for Pakistan. My main influences were The Winner’s Curse trilogy by Marie Rutkowski and The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh. 

Saniya: Ooo that’s very interesting!

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3. Do you have a specific writing routine? 

Aamna: I try to! When I first get an idea for a story, I usually compile a document of snippets and scenes and quotes that come to me in images and bursts, then I try to turn that into a general outline, then expand that into specific chapters, then finally, I tackle the drafting. It helps me to have a schedule and to set a deadline for myself. I aim to write 2,000 words a day, five days a week when I am on that deadline — but of course, some days are good, some are bad. 

Saniya: That’s such a cool routine!

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4. Is there a character in The Lady or the Lion that you resonate most with?

Aamna: The protagonist, Durkhanai. She feels things so intensely, which is definitely something I relate to. 

Saniya: Sounds awesome! I can’t wait to meet all the characters!

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5. The Lady or the Lion is inspired by Pakistan. That’s so cool! On your website, you showcase beautiful pictures of the country. Do you have a favorite memory of your time there?

Aamna: There’s so many! But my favorite memories are ones that encompass absolute peace and contentment: lying on a charpai outside, watching the clouds move; my head by my grandmother’s lap, her fingers stroking my hair; sitting in a room filled with family members, everyone laughing and talking over one another. 

Saniya: That is so beautiful, thank you for sharing.

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6. The cover of the novel is absolutely stunning! What inspired the making of the cover?

Aamna: Thank you! The cover is actually a painting by Asrar Farooqi, and then designed by Maryann Appel at CamCat Books, who did a stunning job. I have been a longtime fan of Farooqi, who is a Pakistani painter, so when it came time to design the cover, I really wanted to commission something by him. I described the setting to Farooqi, and he took over in his style. My publishing team was great with letting me be involved in the whole process, and I am so happy with the way it came out! 

Saniya: It truly is a stunning cover.

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7. Lastly, if I may I ask, can you please describe the storyline of The Lady or the Lion with emojis?

This question was heavily inspired by Ahaana @ Windows To World. They did a blog tour stop and author interview for the novel ‘Hot British Boyfriend.’ Please do check out their post as well right here!

Aamna: 👸🏻👀🤔🥰💗🤒🤬🤭🥺🤪🤤😨🤯😭🦁👩🏻👑💔

Saniya: Ooo mysterious! 😆

About The Author

Aamna Qureshi is a Pakistani, Muslim American who adores words. She grew up in a very loud household, surrounded by English (for school), Urdu (for conversation), and Punjabi (for emotion). Through her writing, she wishes to inspire a love for the beautiful country and rich culture that informed much of her identity. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel to new places where she can explore different cultures or to Pakistan where she can revitalize her roots. She also loves baking complicated desserts, drinking fancy teas and coffees, watching sappy rom-coms, and going for walks about the estate (her backyard). She currently lives in New York. Look for her on IG @aamna_qureshi and Twitter @aamnaqureshi_ and at her website.

Add The Lady or the Lion to goodreads here!

Thank you once again Aamna for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some of my questions, and thank you all for reading! Have a fabulous day everyone!

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