iUniverse continues its conversation with author Azadeh Tabazadeh, who talks about her writing and publishing experience.
I hope the readers feel more connected with people from Iran or the Middle East in general after reading my book—as I strongly believe stories are what connect people, not the policies of their respective governments. The pictures of Iran and Iranian people that are portrayed in the media is not all what I have experienced in my life while living in Iran or the United States.
What source material did you use while writing?
I read a lot of books and articles about the Iranian revolution and watched many YouTube videos to piece together my memories to the best of my ability. For example, I was able to find a YouTube video regarding the protest on International Women’s day (March 8, 1979) against veiling, described in my memoir, which my mother and I attended. The video helped me a great deal in writing the details and dynamics for that scene. I also interviewed many people who lived in Iran during that period, including my family and friends. In particular, my mother, Azar, has a very good memory. Therefore, she was able to assist me in constructing past events, especially regarding our escape from Iran, as my parents and sister Afshan fled Iran five months after my brother Afshin and I did, travelling along the same harsh landscapes.
I have, in fact, written many chapters about my experiences in America. However, after careful consideration, I decided not to include that time period in this book, because that inclusion would have taken away from the story I wanted to tell the story of many people who lived during that tumultuous time in Iran. My struggles and triumphs in America as a woman succeeding in a male-dominated field is a different story, which I would like to write with that storyline in mind as a sequel to this book.
Since publishing your story, have you returned to Iran?
I can’t go back to Iran for two reasons. First, I left illegally. Second, my memoir portrays an unfavorable view of the current regime. Thus, the Iranian officials can come up with many excuses to throw me in jail, and there isn’t a thing anyone can do, including the government of the United States, to help me if that happens.
Are there any events, marketing ideas or promotions planned for your book?
Yes. I am planning to give a number of talks and attend a few book clubs that have read my book. Getting book clubs to read your book is probably the best thing you can do for yourself and your book. In my case, I got book clubs reading my book after articles were published about it either in local newspapers or popular blogs.
What was your favorite part of your publishing experience, overall and with iUniverse?
Holding a copy of my published book in my hand was my favorite part of the whole process, as I had worked for nearly 10 years on this project. Overall, I have had a very good experience with iUniverse. I got introduced to iUniverse in 2012 while attending the San Francisco Writers Conference. In that year, iUniverse was sponsoring a book contest at the conference. I entered this book contest and won the Grand Prize, which entitled me to receive a free publication package through iUniverse. This package included free editorial, marketing and publicity services that were all helpful in producing a professional copy of my book for marketing and sale. The two things that I would highly recommend are professional editing services of your book and producing an author video and/or trailer prior to publication.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Work hard at your craft, be open to criticism, and don’t give up.
Thanks to Azadeh for her excellent blog! Here’s the link to her Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqHN4Ig0BG4 . For author updates visit Azadeh at azadehtabazadeh.com or follow her on Facebook.