Mobashar Qureshi, Author of “Race”

Welcome, Mobashar. What is your book about?

It’s a mystery set in Toronto.

RACE (Radical Association of Criminal Ethnicities) is a group on the verge of creating a dangerous black market drug. Parking Officer Jon Rupret is thrown into Operation Anti-RACE, a unit setup to stop RACE. Rupret quickly realizes he may be in way over his head.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

The name of the main character. His name is Jon Rupret—not Rupert—but Rupret. My last name is spelled Qureshi but people often misspell it as Quershi, with the E before the R. I thought what if the character’s name was actually misspelled and he was constantly correcting the misspelling.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I would hate to admit it but Jon Rupret very close to who I am. At first I denied this even when my friends told me so but now I’m okay with it. Hopefully, I’m not as naïve as he is. When I wrote the book I had just graduated from university so I was still learning my way in the world and so does Rupret. He thinks he knows what he’s doing but in fact he has no idea. He is sort of like a modern day Inspector Clouseau.

How long did it take you to write your book?

15 months. 6 months of research and 9 months of writing.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

Not very much. Once I had the character I started creating a story around him. I kept asking: what would he do in this situation? Who can he go up against? How would he react to this problem? Instead of having him fit into the plot, I let the plot grow organically around him. I think it made the story more humorous.

Did you do any research for the book? If so, how did you do it? (searching Internet, magazines, other books, etc.)

The story was set in Toronto so I visited various locations in order to get the layout and feel of the place. I read a lot of articles on the Toronto Police Services and I even spoke to someone in the Parking Division. The internet and the library were extremely instrumental in the research for the drug. I just didn’t want to say ‘so-and-so drug is going to revolutionize the drug market’, I wanted to actually show how. This way the reader doesn’t just take my word for it but becomes part of the evolution of the drug.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I usually setup certain markers along the story. For instance, A character must meet B character by the middle of the book, or C character must fight D character by the end of the book. By placing these markers I can stay on track and not deviate away from the story. Often times, as is with writing, A character may not ‘want’ to meet B character but instead has a fight with D character. This is fine as long as the story is still moving along. As writers we can tell whether a book is working or not.

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

When I have said everything I needed to say.

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?

Trying to keep the story suspenseful but at the same time humorous because that was my goal: to write a page-turner that made the reader laugh.

What was the first story you remember writing?

It was a ghost story in grade 11. I remember the English teacher gave me a C- and I don’t think he was too impressed with my creative writing skills.

What is the most difficult part of the whole writing process?

Getting the story started by laying out the ground work for the characters to interact and deal with the conflicts placed before them.

What is the easiest part of the writing process?

Once the story is chugging along then everything begins to come together.

What do you like to read?

Mysteries and suspense novels.

What writer influenced you the most?

Michael Crichton. I enjoyed that he wasn’t afraid to tackle different genres and topics. I think that’s why I haven’t been able to write books with the same character, even though I have been constantly asked to write another Jon Rupret novel.

What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you’d written yourself?

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, only because it got me interested in reading.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

In university I had written a detective novel, which had taken me two years to write. By the time I was sending it to publishers and agents I found out that another popular author had written a book that was similar to mine. I wrote the author an e-mail. I laid out all the similarities the two books had. I think there were like 15. I asked him what I should do next. I received a response with only two words: Keep writing. Best advice I ever received.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Keep writing.

How have you marketed and promoted your work?

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LibraryThing and Goodreads. Creating a website and a blog. Joining forums such as Kindleboards & Amazon.

Have you written any other books

The October Five and the Paperboys Club.

Where can people learn more about your books?

On my website at http://www.mobasharqureshi.com, and RACE is available on Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/RACE-ebook/dp/B004HO5XL6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1322954570&sr=1-1

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