Kevin Peter of Moterwriter.com caught up with author Omar Farhad and got him to talk a little about his book ‘Honor and Polygamy’. This is what transpired in the tête-à-tête with the author.
Kevin Peter: For all the curious readers, explain to us in brief, what does your writing process look like?
Omar Farhad: Thank you Kevin. My writing of this book and upcoming books will always be defined as “what you see is what you get”. My writing style puts the reader right in the middle of the story and making them think. I write out the main idea very fast at first and later spend countless hours improving and revising. This way, I am able to keep my train of thoughts going and improve later.
KP: Any vices or habits that you can’t seem to do without while writing?
OF: I am not sure about vice; however, one thing that I have been taught in writing is ‘honesty’ and ‘accuracy’. I have a broad imagination, but will always fit it in a real setting that would make a logical sense.
KP: Just as your books will inspire others, what authors have inspired you to write?
OF: As surprising as this may sound, I never read a single novel before writing Honor and Polygamy! One day in summer of 2011, I opened my computer and wrote a novel.
KP: What do you think is the best way to influence others, through your actions and your deeds, or through your words?
OF: Inspiration begins with understanding of human nature. Somehow, I am blessed with understanding of human emotions and I am able to convey these emotions to other human beings through my words.
KP: And was that the thought process behind ‘Honor and Polygamy’?
OF: Yes it was. Misinforming the world in the past 14 years of Afghan drama and actual reality forced me to tell and predict the final scene in the Afghan story.
KP: Imposing someone else’s values and culture on a person will never work so it becomes doubly impossible when you try to impose it upon a whole country. But history has shown us that in other parts of the world, such resistance has grown weak over time but Afghanistan has singularly remained immune to such outside influence over the years. What do you think the reasons to that are?
OF: It is sheer determination and hunger for freedom and more dangerously now, politicization of the religion by the Saudis’ in that part of the world and the Middle East. One thing that I have many times insisted to everyone is, democracy is not a ‘pill’ to be forced-fed to nations around the world. Democracy is a process that requires countless years to master and the willingness to accept. Forcing democracy in a country with 96% of uneducated population is a recipe for disaster and a suicide mission at best. The same mistake was repeated three times by the Great Britain in late 1800s and early 1900s, once by the Russians in 1980s, and now by a 44-nation coalition. I think for any positive effort in Afghanistan to take place, now it is a little too late.
KP: What kind of hope do you have for Afghanistan? Is there a best-case and worst-case scenario worked out in your mind?
OF: Sadly, the current effort by the US government is like putting a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound. The United States did not have a plan going in to Afghanistan and now after 14 years of empowering the drug lords, war criminals, and the Jehadis, the US is coming to a full circle of realization that they must “harvest what they planted 14 years ago”. The best-case scenario is for Afghan power grabbers to somehow ‘miraculously’ come together and form a truly united government, which I see unlikely for a lack of capacity of parties involved in such fiery-tail. And the worst-case scenario is that the United States will soon find itself right in the middle of a civil war. Furthermore, if the US decides to pack up and leave, Afghanistan will once again become the breading ground for Al-Qaida and alike and this time around, the terrorism fire will spread out of control to Europe and beyond.
KP: Let’s talk about the book’s climax, was that the only ending you had planned in your mind? And was that perhaps a reflection on the state of affairs as of today?
OF: You are right Kevin, the ending of the book directly reflects the current affairs. The marriage of United States and Afghanistan was not meant to be because of weak planning and weak foundation.
KP: One can almost feel the love and thought process that went into perhaps each page of the book. So was it a challenge staying true to the fictional elements as well as trying to tell the message as you intended to?
OF: It took me twenty days to write the book! However, it took me three years to finish it. I feel very sad about the Afghan story of the past 40 years. It is full of drama and sadness. I remember the good times in Afghanistan when I lived there and I have noticed how the country and the Afghan people have transformed for the worse in the past 40 years. Telling this story came out naturally because I have a good understanding of both Afghan and western cultures and I have tried to point out the distance between the two.
KP: Are you working on anything new at the moment?
OF: I am currently working on two different books. One relating to the new immigrants that come to the United States and think they can avoid the ‘melting-pot’, (also a novel) and the second book is my own memoir.
KP: What are you reading nowadays?
OF: I read only short stories as time permit. I am once again busy writing.
KP: What is your favourite and least favourite part of the writing/publishing process?
OF: My favourite part of writing is when I like and believe in what I am saying. The least favourite part of writing for me is the many revisions.
KP: Any writing advice you have for other aspiring authors?
OF: Before even thinking of writing, make sure to have content and substance to your voice. Stay away from big words and show a story, not tell a story.
KP: And lastly, thank you for parting with your valuable time Omar Farhad and all the very best for your book.
OF: Thank you for allowing me to express myself through this platform. All the best to you and I hope the reader will also enjoy reading Honor and Polygamy as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Discover Omar Farhad’s book at –