Welcome, one and all, to another author interview! Today, we’re going to be talking the award winning Ammar Habib.
Ammar, welcome to the site! For those unfamiliar with you, can you give us a quick introduction?
Thank you so much for having me! My background is that I was born, grew up, and still reside just south of Houston, Texas, so I guess that makes me a full-blooded Texan! I am a 24-year-old award-winning & bestselling author. My published novels include The Dark Guardian Trilogy, Memories Of My Future, & Ana Rocha: Shadows of Justice.
Your latest novel is Ana Rocha – Shadows of Justice, a tale about an undercover narcotics officer. You’ve been known to write in various different genres, so my question is, what inspired you to write a crime novel this time?
Well, I’ve always had a lot of respect for law enforcement officials. In fact, there was a period of life when I wanted to become a police officer! I tried to write a police novel in high school, but I just couldn’t nail down a tone and authentic storyline, but it’s always been in the back of my mind. However, I always told myself that any crime novel I wrote had to be true-to-life.
The book is co-written by Detective Glenda Mendoza. Did you always plan to co-write this one, and how did you come to work with Detective Mendoza?
So, Glenda and I actually met in 2013 at an event for the local woman’s shelter. She’s been working in law enforcement since 1998 and was working for the District Attorney at the time. We quickly became friends. She is a fantastic storyteller and we got along really well. In 2015 is when we started talking about writing a police novel together. I’d always wanted to write one and so had she, so it just worked out really perfectly. Having her on the project really helped make it authentic as many of the events are somewhat inspired by her experiences from the time she worked in narcotics.
What was it like working so closely with another person? Was it a culture shock at all after writing the majority of your works solo?
Ana Rocha was the second novel I’ve ever had a co-writer on (the first one being Memories Of My Future). Honestly, it was a great experience. Detective Mendoza is a phenomenal storyteller. We worked well together and knew our roles. With her experience in law enforcement and my experience as an author, we were able to keep the story both authentic and fun!
How important was it for you to ensure authenticity in how the titular character Ana Rocha deals with the events of the book?
It was extremely important! Although Ana Rocha is a work of fiction, authenticity is one of its cornerstones. Like I mentioned previously, Detective Mendoza’s involvement really helped ensure that the authenticity was there.
Do you have a favourite scene from the book at all?
This is the first book I’ve ever written where I don’t have a favorite scene. There are so many awesome scenes that I honestly can’t pick one!
The book is set in the 1990’s. What inspired this decision with regards to setting?
There were several reasons for the setting! One was that Detective Mendoza used to work in narcotics in the late 1990s and early 2000s, so she knew more about the procedures from back then. The second reason was because we wanted to make the story somewhat contemporary, but still have that nostalgic feel, so setting it in the 90s allowed us to do both those things!
Can we expect more stories featuring Ana, or is this a one-shot deal?
The novel has done really well, so there are future stories in the works. We’ve recently finished a follow-up short story featuring one of Ana’s shorter adventures and are working on having it published in a magazine and on Amazon. The sequel novel is also in the works and will be released by February 2019 at the latest! Our goal is to make it an on-going series, where each novel is a standalone story that can be read and enjoyed on its own, similar to the Jack Reacher or James Bond series.
In terms of co-written books, you also worked with Anil Sinha on Memories of my Future. What can you tell readers about this title?
Memories Of My Future is an excellent inspirational/historical novel with themes of coexistence between races and religions. It follows a young surgeon as he learns about his ancestry, and by applying the morals and values he learns from his ancestors, he is able to overcome the struggles in his own life. It’s an uplifting story about finding one’s strength and using it to help those around you.
The book won the 2017 Independent Press Award. That must have been quite a thrill! How did you find out, and how did you feel about the accolade?
It definitely was a thrill! We found out it was in the running in March of that year, and I received a phone call while I was at work a couple of months later telling me we’d received the award! I am very proud of it, since it’s my first national award to receive.
Your first foray into publishing was with 2014’s Dark Guardian. This is a superhero action novel about Ethan Daniels, a vigilante looking to avenge his dead adopted sister. What inspired you to work within this genre for your debut?
I’ve always been a fan of comics long before the comic book-based movies came out. My favorites were Wolverine, Batman, Spider-man, and Daredevil. So those were definitely a major inspiration for Dark Guardian.
How long did the book take to write?
Writing the novel took about 4 or 5 months. However, finding a publisher took 9 months and a little over 300 rejection letters!
The book spawned the Dark Guardian series, with both New Dawn and Legends available now. Was it always planned to be a series, and can readers expect further books set in the universe?
Great question! Dark Guardian was written in a way where it can be enjoyed as a standalone, but also had series potential. So it was always in my mind to make it into a series if the first one did well. As far as further adventures, there are no more Dark Guardian books planned as of yet. But I have mused over the idea of further adventures, so it’s not out of the picture!
Dark Guardian was very well received by readers. Did this cause you to feel any pressure in terms of maintaining quality with the sequels?
It definitely did! An author is only as good as their next book, so it definitely does put a little bit of pressure on you.
What would you say is the best advice you can give authors still trying to gain a foothold in the business?
As far as advice I give to aspiring authors, what I tell them is that you need to write something that you believe in. Don’t worry about what others think about it. If you think it’s a great story and one that needs to be told, then write it! The other thing is that writers need to have thick skin. Editors and agents reject hundreds of works a day, so never take it personal. Even critics give bad reviews all the time. But if you believe in your work and did your best, then never let the opinions of anyone else tear you down. Write stories that you’d want to read, regardless of what others say!
And if any new or aspiring authors ever have any questions about the industry or about getting published, I’m always available to answer questions, so please feel free to reach out!
You also offer an editorial service, working as an editor, proofreader and ghostwriter. What made you decide to offer this service to fellow authors?
Last summer I was asked by several people to look over their work, so that’s when I decided to offer the services. It’s just something I can offer to help other authors get their works as perfect as possible!
Do you have any interesting hobbies or interests you can tell us about?
Honestly, with all the writing projects on my plate right now, writing has become my only hobby! However, I am an avid movie-goer and also like to go out and explore new places whenever I can!
Finally, I wanted to thank you for stopping by. Do you have any final messages for readers? Where can they go to find out more about you and your work? Feel free to link to anything you want.
I appreciate you taking the time to interview me, Matt! I can’t thank you enough. If any readers have any further questions for me or want to reach out, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you again!!