Interview With Feminist Thriller Writer Amina Akhtar
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I Asked The 22 Questions You Need To Know #fashionvictim Author Amina Akhtar's Answers To

Meet the funny, talented, and #girlboss, Amina Akhtar.

Orlando Pelagio

I interviewed Amina Akhtar about her background and debut novel, #fashionvictim now available.

1. When did you first start writing?

In general, when I was six. I wrote silly poems that my brother later set to punk music.

2. Did you always want to become a writer? If not what did you want to be?

I did! I went into journalism and then fashion because I wanted to make a living writing.

3. What was your childhood like and how do you think it influenced your writing?

We moved a lot. Like every one or two years until I was about 12. So reading and books were my friends. I think learning to create your own world as a child definitely influenced me. Also, we watched a lot of horror movies at way too young an age (The Exorcist at four—yikes!). So I loved all things scary, and our family outings were always to used bookstores.

4. Favorite book and/or author as a child?

I loved Oscar Wilde and still do. De Profundis is simply beautiful.

5. Favorite book and/or author now?

I don't have one favorite—I love so many writers. Stephen King, Caroline Kepnes. Just finished Laurie Petrou's Sister of Mine and loved it. I'm dying to read PJ Vernon's debut When You Find Me. He and I talk about writing constantly and he's utterly brilliant.

6. What are you preferred working conditions?

Having worked in digital, you learn to write and edit almost anywhere. But generally, I like quiet and work sitting on my bed. It's awful for my back, I know!

7. You have a history in fashion and writing for magazines such as Vogue and Elle. How do you think that influences you as an author?

Very much so. I wanted to use some of my experiences to create this dark and horrifying fashion world, but I feel it needs to be said, no one was murdering anyone where I worked.

8. What made you make that switch from online writer and editor to the author of a novel?

Well, that's a long story! I had the idea for #FashionVictim almost eight or nine years ago but got busy and never did anything with it. I thought, oh I'm not a "writer writer". And then my life went sideways. In 2013 my mom passed away and that was a difficult time, to put it mildly. I wasn't handling the loss well. And then I was also laid off. So I had nothing to do but be miserable and depressed and not get off my sofa. I took jobs that weren't career makers so much as rent makers, and in my off hours, I would write. Writing gave me a lifeline. Thus Anya St. Clair was born.

9. Do you have any advice for amateur or aspiring authors?

Do it. Shut that voice in your head up that says you can't write what you want. You can, you just have to do it.

10. They say writing reveals more about the author. Do you agree? What does your writing reveal about you?

That I'm a homicidal bi*ch perhaps? Probably that I find dark things really funny.

11. Is there anything you think your readers should know about you or your writing?

I love really flawed and messed up characters. So I think almost all of the characters in my book would be horrible to interact with in real life.

12. How, if any effect, do you think being a woman has affected you as an author and trying to get your book published?

It was hard to get published because editors didn't like Anya. She's unapologetic and she kills and she does it to achieve her goals. "She's not relatable!" Screw being relatable! I wanted to write and read women characters going for it, acting in ways that male characters have done for eons, but every rejection brought me closer to my editor and Crooked Lane Books. They got Anya. They understood her and I'm so grateful to them.

13. What inspired you to write #fashionvictim?

My love for horror combined with fashion made sense to me. It was a no-brainer. I wanted to write, but I had to make it a very me book.

14. What do you want readers to get out of your book?

Have fun; I love books that you can't put down. That you're thinking about when you're not reading them. I want readers to feel their time reading was worthwhile.

15. #fashionvictim portrays competition between women for a promotion. What type of effect do you think this could have on the audience.

I think a lot of women are set up to compete with each other in the workforce. I've had bosses who explicitly said they wanted to see me and another colleague fight, and that's awful. I think people will recognize that in the book as something we shouldn't have to deal with.

16. Speaking of audience, #fashionvictim is considered very #feminist and #girlpower. Do you think this deters men from reading your book and how/would you want to change that?

Is it? I love that. I think straight men may write it off as a fashion book and that's fine. But I also don't really care. I think going forward I'll have to make sure my characters kill more men and women equally. I'm laughing gleefully as I write that by the way.

17. Do you think being a woman had any advantages or disadvantages when writing and publishing your book?

I think women still have to deal with the whole relatable character nonsense, and I think being a brown woman didn't make it easier.

18. How do you think your book differs from other books in its genre?

I'd say mine is definitely on the crazier, more psychotic end of fashion.

19. Are you working on any new books or projects?

I am! I'm always writing. It's the only way to stay sane.

20. When should we expect another book (a sequel maybe?)?

I'd be into a sequel if people want one, but beyond that, I'm not talking about my new book yet.

21. Do you have any advice for young women?

The number one thing I wish younger me realized was that no one cares about what you do, and I mean that in a good way. We're brought up to worry what people will think of us. They're not thinking of you! They don't remember that time you put your foot in your mouth meeting them or fell on your a*s. Stop worrying about it and be you and have fun.

22. What social media can readers find you on?

I'm on Twitter and Insta! @Drrramina You will see lots of photos of my dog, Beanie.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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