Q&A With Iman Hariri-Kia
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Q&A With Iman Hariri-Kia
Tonight I have the pleasure of doing a Q&A with Iman Hariri-Kia. Iman is the author of her debut novel “A Hundred Other Girls”. Iman is also an acclaimed journalist who covers sex, relationships, identity and adolescence. That is quite an impressive list.
Q: So Iman where did the idea for your novel come from?
A: The idea for A Hundred Other Girls came from every job I ever worked in the media industry, from entry level assistant and unpaid intern to site lead and top editor. I wanted to write an update on the world of The Devil Wears Prada post-digital boom, since that book is nearly 20 years old (!!!) and predates digital media. And I hoped this story would focus on the generational tension between the print and digital teams, all through the lens of the young, marginalized people who make the industry what it is.
Q: What is your advice to those who want to be a writer? What is your advice to those who struggle with writers block?
A: If you aspire to write, I’d encourage you to read everything you can get your hands on and write a little bit every day. Some days are harder than others, but everything you experience in day to day life can impact your writing. Start small! It’s much easier to talk yourself out of doing something challenging than to talk yourself into it.
Everyone struggles with writers’ block! I’d encourage you to talk it out with friends and family, spend time daydreaming about your story in low-stakes situations, and freewriting when your inhibitions are lower (like right when you wake up or before bed). Sometimes, you can be surprised by what comes out! And, of course, remember that all writing is rewriting. It’s much better to have a fully written messy manuscript than a single perfect paragraph! You can fix what you don’t like when you revise.
Q: How do you juggle journalism and being an author?
A: Ever since A Hundred Other Girls came out a little over two months ago, I’ve been incredibly busy! I left my full-time job as an editor this summer, and now I’m focused entirely on writing. My days are split between promoting my first book, working on future projects, freelance writing for publications, brand consulting, and doing a little bit of social media marketing. No two days look the same, and I love that! But it’s important to draw boundaries and make time to maintain a life outside of work. I try to log off every day around seven (if I don’t have an event) and stay off my laptop on weekends. And I’m trying to get better at saying no!
Q: At what point in your life did you realize you were called to be a journalist and an author?
A: I knew I wanted to write, in some capacity, from the age of eight. Growing up in a post 9-11 New York as a first generation Iranian American, I always felt a bit alienated from my peers. Never western enough to be considered fully American, nor Iranian enough to be considered fully middle eastern. I turned to teen magazines and young adult novels to cope, and they dragged me out of my isolation and taught me how to be a teenager. I vowed to one day return the favor by devoting my life to writing honestly and accessibly.
Q: What is your advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career in journalism?
A: Read everything, pay close attention to the cultural zeitgeist and news cycle, keep a public record of your writing (whether it’s a blog, portfolio, or website), and keep pitching! Don’t get discouraged by rejections of lack of responses. You only need to get published once to start building a backlist!
Q: Are you writing a new novel now? If so can you spoil a little bit about it?
A: I can’t tell you too much yet, but if you loved the humor, pure chaos, subtle cultural commentary, and representation in A Hundred Other Girls, I’d follow me on Instagram, subscribe to my newsletter Cherry Picked, and add me on GoodReads. I’ve got big things coming this year and I’m so excited to share them with my readers!