Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blog Tour: A Manual For Marco by @ShailaAbdullah #interview

Children's Picture Book
Date Published: February 1, 2015

A Manual For Marco:

Living, Learning, and Laughing With an Autistic Sibling

Why does he act that way?
Pages from the diary of an eight-year old girl who decides to make a list of all the things she likes and dislikes about dealing with her autistic brother, and in doing so realizes that she has created A Manual for Marco.

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What is the hardest part of writing your books?
The toughest challenge for me as a busy working mother is to find adequate time to devote to writing, which often takes a back seat to my other obligations. Unlike other writers who set aside time to regularly focus on their talent, I write in bursts. When I am on an assignment or have an idea in my head, I often stay up late or wake up early to write.

What songs are most played on your Ipod?
Coke Studio hits from Pakistan. I love how they are bringing back folk songs, as well as gems from the past. They create fusion versions of the old classics using modern as well as traditional musical instruments.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
Yes. I never finish any writing projects without having two rounds of beta readers. I try to have a good mix of readers, writers, and editors in the group. Often I give my critique group questions to respond to about story lines, characters, and plot, and ask them to be very critical in their analysis. I find that having fresh views from the readers helps me tremendously. I recall that it took me 9 months to write my second book Saffron Dreams, and 3 years to edit it. In the end, my publisher had to yank it away from me to publish it.

What book are you reading now?
I am in the midst of reading Keepers by Anoosha Lalani who happens to be my talented young niece. She landed a traditional publishing contract at the age of 18. We are very proud of her.

How did you start your writing career?
Writing for me has always been as natural as doing art or design. When I decided to make design a career, I promised my father that writing would be a very serious hobby. With five books under my belt, I have proven that I do take writing vey seriously.

Tell us about your next release.
After releasing A Manual for Marco earlier this month, I am taking a much-needed break for a while. Trying to do three books in a year has exhausted me.

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Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She has written five books: Saffron Dreams, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, My Friend Suhana, Rani in Search of a Rainbow, and A Manual for Marco. The author has received several awards for her work including the Golden Quill Award and Patras Bukhari Award for English Language. Several academic institutions have adopted her books as course study or recommended reading, including the University of California, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana University, Boston University, California State University, and George Washington University.  Learn more about the author at

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