‘The sound of the engine was the only thing audible, a steady and perpetual drone that in its unbroken regularity granted comfort to those on board.’
Are you hooked? How could you not be!
The novel is captivating from the beginning. It is a story that begins action-packed and reminisces the drama of normal East London boys, Muslim and non-Muslim. This is the journey of three teenagers who become men after having battled temptations, both frivolous and dangerous, that lead them all to one place and a whole other level of challenges...Oblivion. Like any novel, there is a lesson to be learned and only one way to find that out.
R.How did you come up with the title?
I. ‘Shades’ is a synonym for the words ‘types’ and ‘oblivion.’ It’s the unofficial name given to the detention center that the three characters are sent to. It also bears a metaphorical connation. As the characters proceed throughout the story, they arrive at various junctures in which they need to make decisions. The wrong decision can ultimately lead them into a metaphorical oblivion.
R.Why did you publish under a pen name?
I.Ibn Adam means son of Adam in Arabic and I believe all human beings are the sons and daughters of Adam. The collocation is also a way that Arab writers, ie. IbnKathir, IbnJawzziya, of the past have published their works. Instead of using their real names, they simply wrote Ibn (son of) followed by their father’s name or the name of the region they came from.
R.Where did you get your inspiration from and who is your target readership?
I.There is no specific target audience. I wrote Shades of Oblivion for two main reasons.
Firstly, I feel there is a huge gap in the field of Islamic literature and I hope to inspire other budding Muslim authors to take up the mantle.
Secondly, I believe that the medium of literature can be a powerful tool when examining human nature. Novels take a reader on a journey whereby they can enter lives that would otherwise be out-of-reach. They also enable the reader to intimately follow a character and observe his/her choice or decisions that ultimately define him/her. Shades of Oblivion is not just an Islamic novel, but also a humanistic one about the everyday Muslim, someone who is often ignored or misrepresented by the media.
R.Describe your writing journey.
I.When I initially put pen to paper two years ago to write Shades of Oblivion, I was unsure of what to expect and uncertain about whether or not I would be able to finish it once I started it, write it with fluency or even publish it. The plot has since gone through many changes due to revisions. Nonetheless, the creative process of crafting a literary composition has been in itself a most gratifying experience and one that I would encourage other aspiring authors to pursue.
R.Describe your journey toward publication.
I.I initially went through the traditional means of getting the book published and received positive feedback from literary agents. However, they all declined to support the book. One agent stated that “a thought-provoking novel presenting Muslims in a positive light just would not sell in this day and age.” I have since managed to publish the book independently. Therefore, Shades of Oblivion was crafted without the help of editors, literary agents or proofreaders.
R.Are there patches of yourself in your novel?
I.The novel is essentially a fictitious piece of the work. Writing is a cathartic process and I think it is impossible to entirely separate an author’s work from the author. I would say that there are aspects of all three characters that reflect me and also people that I have met throughout my life.
R.What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
I.Keep on writing. Writing is an exploitative journey and what you start off with is rarely what you will end up with. It is easy to get bogged down by diction, grammar and punctuation rules. I abandon all of these things in the first draft and simply write whatever is in my head. I think my first draft would be illegible to most people. Once I have a chapter down, I go back and slowly correct mistakes, add details, change vocabulary, etc.
I would also recommend reading a lot, especially books by authors that you wish to emulate. Pay special attention to their use of language and how they weave the plot and structure together.
R.Where and how can readers get a copy of your book?
I.The novel is available digitally and in paperback format by a number of retailers including the iBook’s store and Amazon Kindle. The eBook can be read across all digital platforms including PC, Mac, Apple, Android, Kindle.
To get a glimpse of the book and download the first six chapters or 60 pages for free, please visit the website www.shadesofoblivion.com.
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