Interview with Author Noor Ashour

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Well, I’m a 19-year-old girl majoring in Computer Science. I would say that I liked writing since I was little. English is not my first language, so back then it was hard writing stories in English. But after coming to America and reading countless books from my school’s library, I was able to improve my English well enough to write properly.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

 I actually wrote it when I was 15, titled Eorthe at the time (Old-English for Earth, don’t ask why I chose such an obscure name because I honestly don’t know). But shortly after publishing it, I felt kind of ashamed of it. Most of the reviews (no more than 10, all received review requests from me) averaged three stars, with the common critique being jarring dialogue, confusing plot-line, too many characters, etc. But during quarantine, my mother commented about how it was a shame for me to just abandon my book like that and pretend it doesn’t exist. Thus, I decided to rewrite and improve it as best as I can. I renamed it Myosotis, too, because I felt like Eorthe doesn’t fit.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Hmm, I wrote this book with a theme of “being forgotten” in mind, it was mainly created to explain why the world in the book was called Land of the Forgotten. As the characters described, it was made for those that were forgotten or abandoned by their society and home, and thus this Land would allow them to start a new life with others that have shared their pain in one way or another. It gives them a community when the previous had failed them. This also explains why it has such a diverse and unique population, because everyone has roots from thousands of different dimensions.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve always gravitated to fantasy novels. I know that Heroes of Olympus inspired me when I made the first version of this book. I also liked The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland, particularly its illustrations. I wished I could draw some for my book had it not been for my lack of drawing skills. But maybe I will be able to one day!

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

That’s a tough question. I would probably ask them questions that I was unable to answer properly when I was developing them, such as the backstory of Ellina, or the true goals/motivations of Justus. I would want to ask non-appearing or non-important characters, such as the citizens of Land of the Forgotten, about their day-to-day lives in both the current era and the previous. This would help me cultivate the world’s lore better, just generally interviewing the “average” bystander in the Land.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Actually, I don’t think I have any readership at the moment! I’m not interested in marketing this book, you see. I want unsuspecting people to stumble upon it instead, I think that would make it more valuable or interesting. But I am looking for honest reviews around the web and emailing book blogs if they’re interested, mostly to just get feedback and know what I did well or could improve on.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

You’ve probably heard of this already, but the “Show, Don’t Tell” rule is pretty important. Of course, there are times where you should tell, but try to show your characters’ fears, quirks, values, etc. There’s also Chekov’s Gun, a rule where every element/event/character in the story should have some purpose or meaning, such as foreshadowing. Of course, you can have some red herrings that deceive the reader, especially with detective or mystery novels, but it’s also a good idea to foreshadow events to let the reader go “I knew it!”

Also, this is more towards fanfic writers, but please proofread your work and add spacing between paragraphs, there’s too many fanfics out there where the whole thing is just a big block of text due to no spacing between paragraphs. More importantly, do NOT describe eyes as orbs, that’s just weird! This also applies to a lot of things, don’t use weird adjectives or names too much just for the sake of sounding fancy. Make sure there is some purpose or meaning behind it, like purposely using gross adjectives to gross out the reader and show how grotesque the scene is.

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8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I would say I’m pretty much done with books, it’s just torture I don’t want to bear anymore. However, another kind of torture I am bearing right now is a point-and-click game I’m working on by myself. The progress is very slow, but once I’m done with the first part of the game out of four, I will hopefully start doing devlog updates and announce it somewhere on my Itchio page. I’ve attached a little sneak peek of the main character.

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