Today’s Friday Five focus is Nillu Nasser, author of literary fiction and women’s fiction short stories, novels, and poetry.
She is a writer of literary fiction novels. Her books include: All the Tomorrows (2017) and Hidden Colours (2018). An Ocean of Masks is due to be released in 2019. Nillu has a BA in English and German Literature, and an MA in European Politics. After graduating she worked in national and regional politics, but eventually reverted to her first love: writing. She lives in London with her husband and three children.
Each evening, nestled in Berlin’s Treptower Park, the immigrant circus comes to life. When Yusuf fled Syria, he lost everything. Now the circus is the only home he knows. When public opinion swells against it, he risks upheaval and grief all over again.
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1. What genre do you currently read most and why?
The book on my bedside table is currently Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time. On my Kindle is a bundle of ebooks about book marketing, because the launch of Hidden Colours is a few weeks away and I need to refresh my skill set. On the whole though, it’s literary fiction, magical realism and fantasy I gravitate towards, in that order. They help me understand the world, fire my imagination, keep me aware of the trends in the market, and help me escape reality. There really is nothing better than a good book and a cup of tea in hand. I’ve got a whole pile of Murakami books waiting for me, because he really is an author I’d love to explore more.
2. What do you want your readers to take away from your works?
I’d like them to have found themselves thinking from the perspective they might not have considered before, be it the hero or villain. All of us have good and bad in us. What I love about fiction is that is makes us feel deeply, and realise life is messy and complicated, but still hopeful.
3. What are some of your favorite words and why?
I like this passage from my new book Hidden Colours, because it flowed onto the page without thought and it feels truthful to me when I read it over again: “He’d met men like Silberling before. Hadn’t his father been such a man, before it all came crashing down? Can’t they be found on every street, in every country, there where the wine flows, backs are patted and decisions are made? Some wore suits, others wore kurta, some carried guns, and some a briefcase, but the undercurrent of energy remained the same, and the hunger in the eyes.”
4. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever researched for your works or biggest/most out-of-the-ordinary thing you’ve done while researching?
Oh my goodness, I shudder to think what lists I am on for the things I type into the Google search box. For All the Tomorrows, the strangest bit of research was how long before a body decomposes to work out the timing of a funeral in India, and for Hidden Colours it was details on clown routines. Any investigator looking at my search history would be very confused if they didn’t know my profession!
5. Why should people read YOUR stuff? Who’s your target audience and why?
My writing is aimed at adults over 25. My stories often take place in rich settings and explore the search for identity from an outsider’s perspective. They delve deep into characterisation, and what brings humans to breaking point. They are not afraid to be dark, but there is always hope.
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