Six Metres of Pavement. Her first novel, Stealing Nasreen, received critical acclaim and earned a devoted readership upon its release in 2007. Six Metres of Pavement (Dundurn, 2011) is her second book. It is a novel about tragedy, redemption and unexpected love. Besides novels, Doctor has written on social work and diversity-related topics, and provides private practice consulting and psychotherapy services. She lives in Toronto, where she is co-curator of the Brockton Writers Series.
Welcome to The Book Connection, Farzana. It is wonderful to have you with us. When did you begin writing?
I think I always liked to write, and wrote in fits and spurts throughout my childhood and young adult life. However, it wasn’t until my late twenties, when I began writing my first novel, Stealing Nasreen, that I started to write in a more disciplined manner. There was something about the daunting length of that project that forced to me sit down get it finished.
Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
I’m a part-time psychotherapist, so I tend to see clients 2 days a week and I write the rest of the time. I find that first thing in the morning is the most fertile for new writing, so I try to do that first and focus on revisions later in the day.
What is this book about?
Six Metres of Pavement is a story about Ismail Boxwala, a middle-aged South Asian man who made the worst mistake of his life twenty years ago—he forgot his baby daughter in the back seat of his car one summer morning, causing her death.
This is a story of Ismail’s survival—how he manages to go on living after his mistake. Ultimately, his redemption comes through the relationships he builds with Celia, his Portuguese-Canadian widow neighbour—a woman he develops a crush on—and Fatima, a queer youth whose been kicked out of her home and who needs his help.
What inspired you to write it?
I heard about a case of “hot car death” in the news year ago. The story upset me, but the question that lingered on was “how do you get over something like that?”.
Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?
Yes, I’m represented by Beverley Slopen.
Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
Hopefully, everywhere books are sold! The Dundurn Group (my publisher) has distribution in Canada, the US and Europe. They are also working on selling rights to a publisher in India.
Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?
I have both: http://www.farzanadoctor.com/ and http://www.farzanadoctor.wordpress.com/.
Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?
I do, and it was a lot of fun making it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCpFPX2MXW0
What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?
Relationships. I have a wonderful community of friends, family and colleagues who I call my Promo Squad. There are 56 of them who are tweeting, e-mailing and Facebooking about my book.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?
The real art of writing is in the rewriting. Someone told me that once and I really take it to heart. I no longer feel discouraged when my first drafts are boring, ugly or messy.
What is up next for you?
I’m working on my third novel, which is about a young woman working in the tourist industry in Mexico. She inadvertently becomes involved in the swinger scene there while facing larger questions about her troubled past. It’s inspired by my love-hate relationship with all-inclusive resorts and monogamy.
Thank you for spending time with us today, Farzana. We wish you continued success.
The Book Connection, in conjunction with the author and her publisher, are giving you the chance to win a free copy of Six Metres of Pavement. Read below for the details of this giveaway.
2) For your first entry, leave a comment with a valid email address. You can't win if you don't provide an email address.
3) One additional entry if you friend me on Facebook. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're friending me.
4) One additional entry if you follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment with your profile link to show you're a follower.
5) Two additional entries if you friend Farzana Doctor on Facebook. Leave a comment with your profile link.
6) Two additional entries if you follow the author on Twitter. Leave a comment with your profile link.
7) Three additional entries if you blog about this contest. Leave a link to your post here.
8) You must be 18 or older and reside in the U.S. or Canada to be eligible to win.
Deadline for entries is 11:59 PM Eastern on Sunday, May 1, 2011. Winner will be selected out of all entrants who followed the rules governing this contest. The book will be shipped directly to the winner by the publisher. The Book Connection is not responsible for lost or damaged goods.