In a two-part interview, iUniverse author Azadeh Tabazadeh discusses her book, The Sky Detective, as well as her fascinating background and inspirations.
I am the author of The Sky Detective, a debut memoir about my childhood and adolescent years in Iran. My story offers an eyewitness account of what life was like inside an Iranian household and on the streets of Tehran, before and after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and during the war with Iraq. This memoir also recalls the details of all the events that triggered my interest in science early on.
In 1994 I graduated with a doctoral degree in chemistry from UCLA. Since then, I have worked at NASA, taught at Stanford University, and have published over sixty scientific articles. In 1999 I received a Presidential White House Science Award and in 2005 a feature article was written in Time about my personal life and scientific discoveries.
Do you have any particular literary influences that have helped you develop in your genre, subject and style?
I read a lot, particularly memoirs or fiction that is based on a true story or reads like a memoir. The authors who have influenced me the most in terms of subject matter and writing style are: Khaled Hosseini, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Jeannette Walls, Frank McCourt, and Lisa Genova. In addition, Dr. Linda Joy Myers, the President of the National Association of Memoir Writers, has also played a big role in helping me to finish my book. I took a memoir class with her for two years, and what I learned was very helpful to me in terms of turning the many short stories I had written into a book with a storyline, interesting scenes and lively characters.
In 2005, Time published an article about my scientific research as a part of an Innovator Series. The reporter, Madeleine Nash, also took an interest in my personal life and asked questions about it during the interview. She ended up including a few quotes about my personal life in the article, which resulted in my receiving “fan” mail/email for the first time in my life. In particular, an official letter from Richard Delay, the Mayor of Chicago in 2005, really touched my heart and made me think of my past and the possibility that people like him may want to know more about me as a person, not just my professional life. I began writing short stories at night and during weekends for five years before signing up for a memoir class to polish my stories and turn them into a book. Although the letter from Richard Delay, and a subsequent postcard from my uncle regarding the Time article, prompted me to begin writing my stories, it was the lost friendships in Iran and the lack of closure that sustained me throughout the writing process. All in all, it took me about 10 years to write and publish my memoir.
We’ll be back with Part Two of Azadeh’s splendid blog. In the meantime, check out her Youtube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqHN4Ig0BG4 . For author updates visit Azadeh at azadehtabazadeh.com or follow her on Facebook.