23 February, 2023

#Interview with Homa Pourasgari, Author of The American Outsider - #WomensFiction #AnimalWelfare @HomaPourasgari

When a California veterinarian, a Japanese-American tour-guide and the son of a well-known Tokyoite businessman get together to help save the Taiji dolphins, trouble brews in a society where conformity is favored over individuality. Tessa Walker sticks out in Japan’s homogeneous society. Akira Nakano has to tread lightly if she wants to keep her job as a tour guide. And Toshiro Yokoyama needs to find a way to distance himself from his family in order to find himself. As the three join a demonstration to protest the slaughter of dolphins, the wealthy owner of global aquariums is alarmed and is determined to stop them. But Tessa and Akira are resolved to push forward and help protect these cetaceans from brutal slaughter, and Toshiro is determined to help them in order to escape his humdrum life. 

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Interview with Homa Pourasgari

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?

I always loved to tell a story, but I wanted to be an author in my twenties.

What inspires you to write?

I’m inspired by the truth. When I see a miscarriage of justice and coverup, I find myself wanting to write about it and exposing the perpetrators.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?

Long ago, I was on twitter and everyone was talking about The Cove documentary and the abuse of dolphins. And then a few years ago, I was reading a newspaper article about the dolphins and how they are still mistreated. So, I decided to write a story about it and show people that animals do not like to live in captivity.

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?

Yes, but I got rid of many of them when I moved into my new place several years ago. I think for me, the best time to write is when the idea is fresh in my head. If I put a story away for too long, there is less of a chance for me to go back and look at it or want to write about it.

Tell us about your writing process.

I read a lot, keep up with current events, socialize and do things. Then ideas start to come into my head and I write them down. Sometimes, I write several pages about something that interests me and if I find myself thinking about that idea often, I keep adding to it until a story starts to develop. After I have about 50 pages or so, I start to do a rough draft of an outline. I don’t worry about the ending and I let the characters tell me how the story should end.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

My favorite scene is the scuba diving scene because the protagonist has to face her fear and come to terms with it in order to accomplish her goal. Also, there is something satisfying about what she does.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?

All of my characters have different aspects of my quirks. For example, Tessa has a tendency to react emotionally and I am like that sometimes. Or Akira is into new age things and meditation and I am into that as well. Or Toshiro does things without thinking. I do that sometimes and it gets me into trouble.

What is your most interesting writing quirk?

I write out of order, and I put it all together later. Also, I am spontaneous. When I was writing my second book, The Dawn of Saudi, I was halfway through it and my cousin, Sahar, asked me to name one of my characters after her. I said sure; why not? Once I did that, my story took a whole new turn, and it ended completely different than what I expected.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?

I don’t think one particular writer has influenced my writing style. I think reading books by various authors has helped shape my writing.  I like many authors such as Thrity Umrigar, Lisa See, Henry James, Edith Wharton, John Grisham, Harper Lee, and many others.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?

Things feel overwhelming before you start. But once you start, you will realize that it is not as bad as you thought it would be.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?

Don’t wait for a perfect time to write. Just do it. The first draft is usually terrible, anyway. If you cannot afford to hire an editor and a proofreader, give your work to beta readers and make friends with English teachers because you will need to have your work edited by a professional.

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?

Tessa – Katie Holmes
Toshiro – Tomohisa Yamashita
Akira – Tao Tsuchiya
Souji – Yamoto Yuma

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?

There is a room in my house that I call my sanctuary. That’s where I meditate or take naps to rest my eyes. After I’m well rested, I talk on the phone with a friend or I meet up with them. If they’re busy, I go out on my own. Sometimes I go for a long walk or curl up with a good book.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?

I like to spend the night at a glass Igloo and watch the northern lights.

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.

- When I was learning how to ride a bike, I fell into a swimming pool with my bike.
- I love making my hot fudge sundae with Nutella.
- When I was child, I used to grab the microphone at weddings and start singing.

What do you have in store next for your readers?

I have two revised editions of my books coming out in February and March. And I’m working on a new book.

About the Author:
Homa Pourasgari spent hours in her father’s home office, writing, reading and letting her imagination carry her to unseen worlds. She moved to Los Angeles, California, at a young age. After graduating from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in business, she went to Paris for a year to study literature at the Sorbonne. Before becoming a full-time writer, she ran her own boutique, worked at a bank and a CPA firm, was a personal trainer and even taught spinning and cardio kickboxing. When she is not writing, she is stumbling, miming and pointing to find her way in a foreign country. Her latest novel, The American Outsider, is based on her travels in Japan.

Homa on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter 

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