• Can I See Your Query Letter?!

    Welcome to  story and chai’s “Ask an Author.”  Here, Aisha, Mohammed, and I will respond to questions we’ve received about the writing and publication process, as well as new questions, which you can ask us on twitter, Facebook, or through email (jazobair AT comcast DOT net).  Sometimes we’ll ask other authors to “guest answer” your questions as well.… Continue Reading

  • Q&A: Allan Stratton

    Allan Stratton is the author of BORDERLINE. A young-adult novel about fifteen-year old Sami Sabiri, a funny, gutsy fifteen-year-old stuck at a private school where he’s the only Muslim kid. But things are about to get a lot worse. When Sami catches his father in a lie, he gets suspicious . . . and he’s… Continue Reading

  • Writing Multicultural Characters

    by Medeia Sharif When I first started writing novels in the mid-90s, my early drawer manuscripts had what I’d call mainstream characters. Their names were Julia, Merrill, and Vivian. They had a variety of hair and skin colors, but none of them were anything specific. They weren’t Arabic, Hispanic, or Asian, although they did come… Continue Reading

  • Q&A: Marina Budhos

    Marina Budhos is the author of Ask Me No Questions, a YA novel following the life of  fourteen-year-old Nadira and her family who came years ago from Bangladesh and have been living in New York City on expired visas, hoping to realize their dream of becoming legal U.S. citizens. But after 9/11, everything changes. Suddenly… Continue Reading

  • Knowing Thy Self

    by Mohammed Shamma I’m not big on the whole selfie thing. Don’t get me wrong. I like taking pictures.  I just feel super awkward taking ones of my self and then posting them online. I guess I’m more of a loner bookworm than denizen of the many social-media sites dedicated to self-celebration. I tend to… Continue Reading

  • Q&A: Melody Moezzi

    Melody Moezzi is the author of Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life, a beautiful, bold memoir about navigating her bipolar disorder and Iranian American identity, the ways love–of her parents, of her community, of her husband–helped her spirit soar, and her path to becoming a very public advocate for a disease many communities would prefer to keep private.… Continue Reading

  • Q&A: Ibtisam Barakat

    Ibtisam Barakat is the author of Tasting The Sky: A Palestenion Childhood. In her moving and lyrical memoir, Barakat shares with readers her life as a child whose life is completely turned upside down due to war. With candor and courage, she stitches together memories of her childhood: fear and confusion as bombs explode near… Continue Reading

  • Reading The Buddha in the Attic as a Muslim American

    By Jennifer Zobair Although literature tends to move me deeply,  only certain books make me cry. Julie Otsuka’s Buddha in the Attic  was one of those books. Within a matter of pages, I was in love with Otsuka’s gorgeous prose, her precise, sometimes unflinching attention to detail, the unique choice of protagonists–the Japanese “picture brides”… Continue Reading

  • Kick the Bear

    by Stephen Parrish I encountered some writing advice recently that suggested writers who struggle with plot should treat it like a sleeping bear. Approach stealthily, guardedly. Describe the setting, the bear’s surroundings: a cerulean sky, the cool grass beneath your protagonist’s feet, oak branches creaking obligingly in a gusting breeze. Describe everything but the bear.… Continue Reading

  • Muslimah Montage: Changing the Narrative

    By Sabina Khan-Ibarra When I was asked about my position on the Iraq war, I responded that I felt we were in Iraq needlessly.  After an awkward silence, the inquisitor, shamefaced, admitted he meant what I thought of the war as a Muslim, not as an American. As a Muslim? Well, my personal opinion as… Continue Reading