Featured Interview With Ilham Alam
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was born and grew up in Kuwait to an expat family. But we left a pretty good life in the Middle East to immigrate to Canada, because while there was a lot of money to be made in Kuwait, there was ultimately no future there for us expats, as you couldn’t gain citizenship, own property or send your kids to higher education there. All those years devoted to a country and nothing to show for it, my parents realized.
I’ve been in Toronto since I was 10 years old and now reside in the GTA with my family. I have a very large, very friendly cat, who’s terrified of the baby in our family. My kitty is also the inspiration for my next work, which I’m querying to literary agents now.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I have always LOVED reading. I recall being 4 years old, sight reading and learning to read that way. I didn’t start creative writing until I was in grade 6, in Canada. Here, the education system stress creative thinking, so we had creative writing classes which I had never done before. That fired up my imagination like nothing else! Writing, and being good at it and being admired for it, helped me a lot in settling into Canada as a new immigrant kid, to be honest. It helped me make friends at school.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
Gosh, I could go on forever if I started down this road. But I’ll try to make it as succinct as possible, lol
Favourite Authors: Jane Austen on one hand and Stephen King on the other.
Favourite Genres: lately I’ve been reading a lot of psychological thrillers with twist and/or gruesome endings and true crime. I’m also going to be giving magical realism more of a shot, after recently reading & loving “The Night Tiger” by Yanze Choo.
As for writing inspirations, I try to read as widely and from as many authors as I can, both new and established, both self-published and traditional- so that I can learn something of writing from each book I read. I firmly believe that to be a good writer, you have to be an avid reader.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My debut picture book (and my first published book ever, really) is called, Wonder Walk. It’s been published by Iguana Books, a small press in my hometown Toronto. I felt that going with a small press would give me a better opportunity to break into publishing. I realized that in order to be taken seriously by literary agents and publishing houses, it wouldn’t hurt to have some publishing credits under my belt and to show that I knew my way around book marketing.
Wonder Walk is a 20 page rhyming book on a very common thing: a walk that an adorable & curious child takes with his beloved Mom. The child asks his mom questions about all the things they see, Mom comes up with increasingly creative answers but even she runs out of patience sometimes and is pooped out! It’s a scene that plays out daily in my house, for sure. I love this book because I love the trusting and loving relationship between Johnny and his Mommy. I love that Wonder Walk is so relatable and so universal to the experiences of parents.
It’s available on major online retailers such as Amazon and its country-specific Amazon retailers; Barnes & Noble; Indigo in Canada; Kobo, iTunes, Waterstones UK and more. It’s also available in a few independent book stores in my hometown. I’ve been doing Storytime programs in those bookstores too, as I love the opportunity to meet with readers and fans.
Connect with the Author on their Websites and Social media profiles