Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Ammar Habib to Chat About Books 🙂
Ammar Habib is a bestselling and award winning author who was born in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1993. Ammar enjoys crafting stories that are not only entertaining, but will also stay with the reader for a long time. Ammar presently resides in his hometown with his family, all of whom are his biggest fans. He draws his inspiration from his family, imagination, and the world around him. Ammar is currently continuing to further his writing career.
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
Sure! First of all, thank you for the invitation to interview with your blog, Kerry. My writing background is that I have several different works published and upcoming, many of which fall under different genres. But as of right now, my main flagship work is my Dark Guardian Series. This is a three part darker vigilante/superhero series. It follows Ethan Daniels as he dons the mask of The Guardian, a vigilante who will soon be feared by the criminals and the corrupt. Reborn through fire, Ethan is armed with advanced skills, an arsenal of weaponry, and vast resources. His sights are focused on one thing, and nothing will stop him. Soon, he will rise from vigilante to hero. And from hero to legend.
My other major work is a historical novel, Memories Of My Future. This piece actually won a national award in May 2017 and has been met with a really warm reception!
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
As far as inspiration goes, I honestly draw inspiration from everywhere. I’ve possessed a huge imagination since I was a child, so that is usually my biggest source. I have a hard time switching my imagination off, which can be a problem when somebody is trying to talk to you and you’re imagining a battle scene in your head! The other place I really draw inspiration is from the world around me. I try to stay observant because sometimes the best inspiration passes by right in front of you!
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Just like Ethan, I’m a vigilante and spend my time beating villains to a pulp (just a little joke there). Honestly, I have found more of myself in Ethan than I originally thought. One of his traits that I personally do possess to a fault is his trait of always being his biggest critic. I find myself often overly-criticizing myself when it comes to several areas of my life, especially my spirituality and writing. I am definitely more of a loner like Ethan is as well, and I think I unconsciously showed that side of myself when writing his character.
There are other parts of Ethan which are nearly the opposite of what I am, such as him being tall, dark, and handsome!
However, there are some supporting characters, especially in Memories Of My Future, that are named after or based off of relatives, such as my grandparents and some of their siblings. One of the nice things about being an author is that you can give characters some traits or names of people you know as a nod of respect to the person.
How do you pick your characters names?
9 out of 10 times, I pick names which have meanings that fit the characters. For example, the name Ethan means “strong” both in a physical and mental sense. Since my protagonist for my Dark Guardian Series is very strong physically and mentally, that was the perfect name for him.
Other times, I’ll either name a character after somebody I know in real life, normally somebody I respect or I’ll pick a name that has a nice ring to it for the story.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
My writing process always begins with a theme. I ask myself, “why should readers read this? What do I hope they get out of it?” As entertaining as I hope my stories are, I want them to hold some sort of moral lesson or theme for the audience as well. At the same time, I don’t want to slap readers in the face with this ‘theme’. Instead, I want to show it in the characters and story arc. So I take a lot of time in figuring out who my character are. As far as pre-writing goes, I probably spend more time fleshing out the characters than I spend on anything else. Many times, putting in the effort to create three dimensional characters is the separator between good and great work.
However, with that said, my writing process is very fluid. I like to try and create an outline before I go into the actual writing. But many times I find myself starting the first draft before I’ve even finished my outline. The inspiration comes in bursts so I try to capitalize on those bursts as much as I can. I find that being too stringent on my writing process can actually become a hindrance.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
Honestly, I’m more of a fan of the classics and some of my favourites include Og Mandino, J. R. R. Tolkien, George Orwell, Harper Lee, & Mark Twain.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
This’ll be more of an attempt at humor, but I’d choose William Shakespeare. What I really want to ask him is if he really put all that symbolism and metaphors into his plays that all my English teachers made me write essays about, or if my teachers were just making something out of nothing. And he’s definitely going to have to pick up the tab because I already did my fair share with having to spend hours writing analysis of his plays!
On a more serious note, I’d like to meet Bob Kane, the creator of Batman. I’d like to ask him if all this analysis and interpretation of the character was something he intended. It’d be an interesting conversation for sure!
Were you a big reader as a child?
Yes! I read anything I could get my hands on.
When did you start to write?
I actually started in 2nd grade! The main catalyst for my writing was my 2nd Grade Teacher at AP Beutel, Mrs. Scott. When I was in her class years ago, she gave me a homework assignment to write a one-page story. This was the first time I ever wrote anything. That experience breathed the love of writing into me and I’ve never stopped since!
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
There are honestly too many to mention! But if I had to pick one, I’d say 1984. If memory serves me correct, it ends with the main character, Winston, being brainwashed and breaking down mentally, which leads to him conforming to society. I know George Orwell wrote this ending to wake up readers. However, every time I’ve read the book, I can’t help but wish that Winston had not broken and had instead chosen to die with his freedom.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
If I had to pick one, I’d say The Martian. I think that book is absolutely fascinating from concept to execution and it would have been neat to be a part of that project!
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
When the Dream is Big Enough, The Facts Don’t Count!
What are you working on right now?
I’m not working on anything new at the moment. My agent is working on selling a couple of projects and I have two more in the process of being published during the first half of 2018, so doing the final editing and PR for those is taking up all my time!
Do you have a new release due?
I have a police novel releasing March 2nd, 2018! I also have a children’s picture book releasing late Spring 2018, but I don’t have a hard date for that one yet.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
There’s honestly not much celebrating on publication day because the to-do list won’t allow it!
The day usually involves me sending out emails all day or making phone calls. But normally my family and I will try to go out to a nice dinner to celebrate!
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I’m very active on social media and respond to all messages and emails. Here are my platforms:
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
For any aspiring authors out there, I would like them to know that I went through over 300 rejections for my first novel before it was ever even fully read by a publisher. So please never let rejection discourage you. If you believe in your story, then own it and stick with it!
I’d like to end by saying thank you again for the interview! I hope your readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed answering your questions!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Ammar 🙂