Dilruba Z. Ara was born in Bangladesh. Nurtured on Greek mythology by her father, and hearing Indian fairy tales as bedtime stories from her mother, Dilruba had her first story published when she was eight years old. While in university at the age of twenty, she met and married her husband, a Swedish Air Force officer, and moved to Sweden, where she obtained degrees in English, Swedish, Classical Arabic and linguistics. She now teaches Swedish and English in Sweden. An accomplished, exhibited artist, her paintings have been used as the covers for the Bangladeshi, Greek, and U.S. editions of A LIST OF OFFENCES.
Visit her website at www.dilrubazara.com.
Would you call yourself a born writer?
What was your inspiration for A List Of Offences?
The oppression of girls in the name of family honor.
What themes do you like to explore in your writing?
Family values, human relationships.
Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day
I am disciplined when I embark on a project. Since I work full-time as a teacher, I only write during evenings when the house is quiet. When I write I go offline, and usually work for hours before taking a break. Once there is a flow, I stay with it.
What did you find most challenging about writing this book?
Combining the beauty of the landscape with Daria’s horrible suffering.
What do you love most about being an author?
The power to create something where I am free to give words to thoughts beyond reality.
Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self-publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?
I had sent the finished manuscript to a few literary agents in the USA. Within a few days, three of them called back. I chose the most passionate one ‒ Doris Michaels. She loved the book, and sent it out to quite a few publishers in the USA, all of whom found it very beautiful, relevant, etc., but too slow-paced. I had worked very hard with each word, so I did not want to cut it down to fit their demands. In the end, I took it to The University Press Ltd, the leading publishing house in Bangladesh, and met the publisher myself. Upon reading the letters from various US editors, he took the manuscript from me and asked me to wait, outside the closed door. After about three hours he reappeared, with a contract. That was how it started. Then it was sold to Spain and Greece. In parts of South America it even hit the top ten list, along with The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. Even though only a few English copies were available, the book was reviewed in different newspapers and magazines, including The Chattahoochee Review. A review of it can even be read on the homepage of the Law Faculty at Ecuador University. Although I have been pleased with all this attention, at the same time I have been concerned that the English version had not been available to general readers outside Bangladesh. Hence, I decided to have my rights back. My publisher is a kind man, and understood me. Now I have published it independently.
Yes, I am happy.
Where can we find you on the web?