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An Interview with M. F. C. Assoum

Q: What’s the best thing about being a writer?

A: Being able to create new and exciting new worlds which will invoke a myriad of emotions in your readers is by far, one of the greatest things about being a writer. The power of words should never be underestimated. Being able to bring hope, relief, a laugh, warmth and suspense to a reader bring a smile to my face.

Q: Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

A: Everything I ever do is to help people in need, people who can't or won't ask for help and my latest book aims to do just that. Having volunteered/worked with victims of abuse for several years now, it struck me that it is scarce to find a main character in a novel which comes from a broken background and goes on to great things. It has become quite repetitive, the main character is someone who goes through a somewhat moderate rough patch and comes out on top, whilst the villain is always a person who has had a torturous background which turned them inherently evil. Having spoken to dozens of victims of abuse (whether sexual, physical, drug etc..) the idea came to me, why not make the heroes people who have overcome tremendous odds and unimaginable pain to become true heroes. So that's what I did with this book. The stories of abuse, pain and suffering all come from stories of lived experiences from people I have worked with and for the most part, are true (creative leeway taken of course). Listening to their stories was a sobering experience and writing them was a tough endeavour but it was one that I felt would benefit anyone who is too afraid to ask for help, or who can't ask for help because they are yet to escape their demons. I hope that Strike of Lightning reaches the intended audience, and I will be happy and content even if it changes but one life.

Q: How do you get inspired to write?

A: Every time I meet someone who has gone through an unimaginable struggle, I get inspired a little more to continue writing. Every story is unique, every story is powerful in its own right, and it drives me to want to help even more.

Q: What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

A: If you have an idea, write out a chapter plan where you detail what you want to include in each chapter. It would help if you also wrote a personality description of each of your characters so that you can better portray them in your works. Then start writing. Overthinking the writing process is the key to failing to write. You will have plenty of time to edit, re-edit and add and remove texts once your first draft is done after that expect to produce several more drafts and work with an editor before its ready to be beta read. Then based on their reviews, it may or may not be ready to be published. Its a learning curve so you will need to be patient and keep yourself driven throughout the whole process.

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