'Strong women characters are my favourite kind'

Strong women characters are my favourite kind

Book talk with Ruhie Jamshed, Writer and Creative Writing Coach

What are you reading now?
I like to focus on one book at a time. Currently, I am reading The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon. I also have Black Milk by Elif Shafak waiting in line.
A book that changed your life.
I find non-fiction books very inspiring. One that changed my life is Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, which is part biography and part 'how-to'. As a writer who mentors other writers, it taught me the importance of grit in writing. There are great anecdotes too, like how he'd pin the rejection notes he received on his wall till they became so thick, they couldn't take their own weight. That imagery is now etched in my mind and I think of it whenever I feel dejected.
A book you think is underrated?
Every Day by David Levithan is extremely intriguing. The protagonist changes his identity by taking over different bodies, both male and female, of different ethnicities and age groups. Reading this book makes you question your own identity. Also, the element of the unknown is great and it's thrilling to find out how the story turns with each identity.
Your favourite literary character.
I love strong women characters with a heart, who challenge the gender-biased systems of their time. Take Jo March from Little Women; she's intelligent and argumentative, yet, would do anything for those she loves. Plus, she's a writer, and I always appreciate the literary sorts!
Most memorable book quote?
"That's what careless words do. They make people love you a little less." I carry this quote from Arundhati Roy's God of Small Things in my book of favourite quotes as a reminder to use words carefully.

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