Author Interview "Ammar Habib"
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.
Please tell our readers a little about your most recent book “Ana Rocha: Shadows of Justice.”
Hello! First off, thank you so much for the interview. So my newest novel, Ana Rocha: Shadows of Justice, is a a police/crime novel that is set in Houston during the summer of 1999 and is co-written by a good friend of mine, Glenda, who has over 20 years of experience in law enforcement, including experience as a narcotics investigator and detective. Although the novel is purely fiction, it is inspired by some real cases and incidents Glenda encountered while serving as an undercover narcotics investigator several years ago.
You co-authored this book with a real life detective, correct? Can you please tell us about your co-author and how this collaboration came about?
Yes! That is correct. The detective, Glenda, and I have known each other since the Summer of 2013 when we met at an event for the local Woman’s Center. I was attending college at the time and she had started taking a couple of classes as well. We ended up in the same class and worked on a project together. This is around the time I had signed my first book contract and we became friends after taking that class together. She’s a great storyteller and I had always wanted to write a police novel. In April or May of 2015 we decided to start working on this novel together as a tribute to all the police officers and first responders out there.
What kind of research, if any, did you do while writing your latest book? Did you interview anyone, read other books, etc.?
The latest book I wrote is a narrative nonfiction project about an important, but often ignored, woman in American History. Being a nonfiction work, this required a ton of research to ensure accuracy and authenticity in how the facts are presented. My friend, Carrie Pritchett, is a history professor at a college, so she helped me find some places to start my research. All in all, it was a couple of months of research before getting started on the proposal. The research included reading books/articles written about the historical figure by historians and journalists, but also reading her own writings and transcripts of her conversations to get a sense of her personality from firsthand accounts. This project is currently in the hands of my awesome agent as she works on securing a deal for it!
“Ana Rocha: Shadows of Justice” features a very strong female lead character. I’m just curious, if your book were to ever be made into a film, who would you want to play the main character in the movie? Why?
Great question! Glenda had mentioned that a great actress who could play Ana would be Jaina Lee Ortiz from the TV show Rosewood. She definitely has the look of the character and could nail Ana’s appearance!
In 2017, your book “Memories Of My Future” was awarded the Independent Press Award! Congratulations on this accomplishment!!! Tell us a bit about “Memories Of My Future.” How does it feel to be an award winning author?
Thank you for the compliment! Memories Of My Future is definitely one of my favorite works. I wrote it with a good friend of mine, Dr. Anil Sinha, who has a background as a surgeon. He actually called me up with the idea in September 2014 shortly after my first novel, Dark Gurdian, was released. The novel is an inspirational/historical work with themes of coexistence, courage, and using our gifts and abilities to serve humanity.
It feels great that people who read the book have appreciated it’s messages! I think that is really what an author wants when they write a work like this.
You're still pretty young. Do you think you’ve found your writing style or is it still in development?
You know, that’s actually something I’ve been thinking about a lot. I definitely see a difference in maturity with every work I write, whether it is a short story, poem, or novel. I have found that I actually enjoy writing more in 1st person than in 3rd, even though my first four novels were all in 3rd person. I also find that my voice has changed as my writings have matured and I think I’ve grown better at presenting emotion through my writing. I don’t think a writer ever becomes complacent with their style and it’s ever-changing, so I’m excited to see how my writing style will continue to evolve in the coming years.
For new authors coming into the profession, what advice would you offer them?
I’ve learned a lot about the industry over the past few years. What I’ve seen is that along with filmmaking, it is probably the most subjective industry out there. A writer may spend months perfecting their story, putting their heart and soul into it, staying up the whole night working on it, only for an editor to reject it with a short sentence of vague reasoning. That’s what can make the industry very frustrating.
What I tell people who ask is that you need to write something that you believe in. Don’t worry about what others think about it. If you think it’s a great story and one that needs to be told, then write it! My first novel went through over 300 rejections before landing a publisher, so never give up! The other thing is that writers need to have thick skin. Editors and agents reject hundreds of works a day and critics give bad reviews all the time, so never take it personal. But if you believe in your work and did your best, then never let the opinions of anyone tear you down. Write stories that you’d want to read, regardless of what others say!
On a more personal note: Tell us a little about your “real” (non-writing) life — family, job, school, etc.
Honestly, sometimes it feels like writing is my whole life, but I do have a life outside of it. My background is that I am a second-generation American and was born, grew up, and still reside in the Greater Houston Area. I am 24-years-old and have my bachelor’s degree in Business Management (which I have yet to use in any capacity). I currently work as a consultant at a community college. As far as family goes, I have an amazing mother, father, and brother who are my biggest fans!
Who is a creative person (not a writer) who has influenced you and your work?
That’s a great question, but a tough one to answer! I’d have to say that I’ve always found a lot of inspiration in the works of a couple of film directors, specifically Christopher Nolan and Steven Spielberg. Both directors have a wide range and their ability to humanize many far-fetched or extreme events is something I try to emulate in my writings.
What’s next on the horizon for you as an author?
So I’m one of those authors who always keeps a lot of irons in the fire! My agent is currently working on placing two projects: one is the narrative nonfiction project I mentioned earlier, and the second is a young adult novel which is set in the midst of the current Syrian Civil War.
Outside of those two projects, I wrote a graphic novel script last summer and worked along a friend of mine, who is an artist, to create some sample art. We’re shopping that project around to potential publishers. Also, Glenda and I have agreed that Ana Rocha: Shadows of Justice definitely has sequel potential if the first one does well enough. We’ll make that decision by April!
I’m currently gearing up to write a new novel. It’ll likely be more along the lines of my YA Syrian novel and focused on some current events. So definitely a lot of places to go with the writing, and I’m definitely excited about what the future holds!
Thank you again for the interview! It was a real pleasure.