I write, I create, I build worlds in my imagination. Writing is my soul, creating is my passion. I write to explore the human mind, | write to reveal what’s beneath that beautiful mask of yours. I uncover the darkness within. I dare to free words, I dare to be brave, I dare to say what others afraid to say.

Author of ENARO, IDEO: The Bitter Recipes of the Truth, Feminomaniacs, and co-author of The legend of Kelpie.

Coming soon: Clandestine, Insects Circus, Prayer Rope, Production City, and Dream of Dandelions

1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me!  When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?

Well, thank you for having me here. Regarding the question, I can say I was interested in story telling since young age making up stories for my younger sister, so, since then I guess I wanted to be a writer or better to say a storyteller. What I like about writing the most is the freedom it gives me. In my books, I am living in the world I created, and I can get to know people who don’t exist in real life and explore the darkest part of their thought process. What frustrates me the most is self-censorship. It’s like I have a dystopian dictator living in me forcing me to fight against myself.

2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you? 

I have couple of books on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Neda-Aria/e/B073WHDBRL%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share) I have both a novel and short story collection and recently I am working on a collaborative creative writing collection of 3 books. The collection series name is creed of slaves (https://www.nedaaria.info/anthology). The first book was a collection of poetry, the second short stories and the last which is focused on creative essays. Each book had a specific theme and many writers and poets from all around the world contributed a piece to these books. My goal is to encourage everyone to write and show them that even if they have never written any creative piece before, they can write by daring themselves to share.

3) What projects are you currently working on?

I am working on the last book of Creed of Slaves series named “Sokut” which means Silence in Persian. It’s open for submission now and it is a collection of creative essays (https://www.nedaaria.info/sokut). The last anthology is on the topic of silenced desires, thoughts, gender, and identity. This project “Dare to Share” what we always silence because of social norms, cultural habits, or religious beliefs we’ve been taught since young age. I am also working on an individual creative essay collection focusing on women issues in Iran from my own perspective in a book called “Virginity for Sale”.

4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?

I think I can’t answer this question directly because I believe art in any form is a process not a destination. As a writer, I write what I enjoy and when a book is finished I may never publish it so success in my perception for a writer is not on the result, however it’s great to look at it as a full time career. And about next five years? Well, to be honest I’m not sure. I just know I will write no matter what. 

5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?

Sure. Specially in my genre which is dark and transgressive, it’s not a niche that many publishers would like to risk their name for. I’ve written 9 novels in Persian which were all rejected because of the censorship department we have there. Did it stop me from writing? No. I still try.  

6) Do you have a schedule for when you write?  Do you outline your novels?  How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?

I don’t have a specific schedule, but I write everyday when the mood is right. For me, I can’t stick to a schedule when it comes to writing or painting because it’s directly connected to my emotions and if the feeling isn’t right, the writing won’t flow. However, I force myself to write no matter what. If the emotions are not set for writing a story, I work on my blog. I do outline if I have a big idea but not in detail. I write an idea for where my character is, what is their struggle and who are the people around her and I start writing the end first however mostly I will change it. For a novel it depends. Some I finished in 3 months, and I never tried to publish them. They’re terrible and for some like ENARO it took me 3 years to finish including revisions.

7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry?  Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?

Nope. It’s never too late to do anything. We humans are so bound t limitations of time. For me, I just don’t think about the end of anything. That’s not the goal. I think about how to make my present fulfilling. That’s the same for writing. If you want to write, then just write! What stops you except you?

8) Are you an avid reader and have you always been? What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you?  Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?

Yes. I love reading however I have a tight schedule and I can’t read as much as before. I try to finish one or two books in a month. Previously I could finish a book a day. The very first book I read by myself was The Bear Who Wanted to Be a Bear by Swedish author Jörg Steiner. I think it was a book that made me want to become a writer. My favorite author is Jose Saramago however I love many Russian, French and American writers and it’s hard to put a finger on one. Now, I’m reading Geek Love is a novel by Katherine Dunn.

9) The Pandemic was a challenging time for some writers and creative individuals but also for others it was time that they needed to focus on their creative passions. Which side of that spectrum do you fall on? Are there any lessons or nuggets of wisdom that you gained during the Pandemic that help you within your writing career? Did the quarantine stifle your creativity or did it make you even more driven to get things done?

For me, it was a time to wake up and it is when I decided to finish my idea for the Creed of Slaves book series. To be honest, during the past two years I was more creative. I painted a lot and wrote a lot and I started designing my website and working on my blog.

10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry as it is being represented today? Do you lean more towards traditional publishing or self-publishing as a preference? Does being a hybrid author interest you? 

I love both however I think traditional publishing is carnivalizing literature. The way they look at books is from a business perspective which is understandable, but I don’t like it when a niche is popular, and all publishers want books in that niche, or they never risk working with new writers. Self-publishing gives you freedom, but it doesn’t mean to publish whatever you can. I do self-publish my books, but I only chose few of them to be public and I never published the rest which are quite a lot. Self-publishing is a good choice if you’re an entrepreneur by heart because you must do all the process of publishing from writing to design and marketing by yourself.

11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally.  I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity?  How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?

I do agree with you 100%. Writing is a way to free yourself from the prison of self. We are educated to think certain way and because of that many of us don’t dare or even don’t even imagine to be someone else that is not defined by certain standards. I broke free when I started to write as a girl living in a society like Iran post Islamic Revolution and during war. That’s why I help other through my workshops focusing on Expressive Writing to express their feelings as a way to fight with distress and limitations.

Website: www.nedaaria.info

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B073WHDBRL

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NedaAriaAuthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nedaariastories/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17026830.Neda_Aria