Thursday, 12 February 2015

Guest Post: Nadia Hashimi's Imaginary Bookshop

Nadia Hashimi's The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, is out today (I am currently reading it at the moment and its very powerful story) and so she has kindly agreed to pop by and take part in the Imaginary Bookshop series.


Hi Nadia, congratulations on the publication of your novel, The Pearl that Broke its Shell and thank you for popping over to Writer’s Little Helper and becoming the latest author to take part in the Imaginary Bookshop series.

What would be the name of your imaginary bookshop?
My imaginary bookshop would be called “The Write Read,” as it would be a place where folks can come to read and/or write. For me, writing and reading feed each other. I’ve often taken my laptop to a local bookstore to be inspired by the shelves full of stories. I can picture myself taking a break from writing to stretch and wander through the aisles. Seeing other writers busy at work would also encourage me to get back to my seat and be productive.

Where would your imaginary bookshop be located?
It would be located on a cheerful main street with a yoga studio to the left (for when I finally start doing yoga) and an arts and crafts shop to the right. Across the street there would be a clothing boutique run by a woman who brings in a steady rotation of amazing finds. We would also share our street with Greek, Thai and Indian restaurants. We have great neighbors, don’t we?

Would your bookshop have any special features? E.g. a performing stage, a cocktail bar, etc.
My bookshop would have a cozy room for readings and book club gatherings. That room would have drapes on the windows, framed vintage posters on the walls and a bookshelf lined with the books of authors who had read in the room. Throughout the book shop there would also be tables and comfy chairs. There would be a coffee bar and a small cafĂ© with warm, organic foods and dark chocolate (since that seems to be soul food for the authors I’ve met). For reading, there would be armchairs and a few chaises scattered throughout. Oh, and Yann Tiersen’s melancholy and playful tracks in the background (puts the muse in musical, in my humble opinion).

What would make your bookshop different from all of the other ones?
We would host writers’ workshops once a month and have book clubs for all ages. By all ages, I mean down to three years old, since I’m pretty sure my daughter would love this. We would also offer a Writers Club for our younger aspiring authors to really encourage them to give it a go.

What sections would you have in your bookshop? And what sections would you ditch?
We would have all the usual suspects: Fiction, Biography, Business, Cooking. I would get rid of the Self Help category. If you’re turning to a book for guidance, you’re not really self-helping, are you? If the demand was really high, I’d at least rename it to “Pep Talk” or “I Did And So Can You!”

Every bookshop needs a display table. Which books would you have on your display table? Why?
Our display table would showcase books that are Staff Picks or Readers’ Choices. Marketing plays such a big and skewing role in the book world and so many excellent works are flying under the radar. This table would be like getting reading recommendations from friends. It would be a really cool table, too – like a tiered cupcake display for books.

If you could run only one author event who would you have? You can pick a living or dead writer. What sort of event would they run?
I would invite Dr Seuss and the entire event, from greetings to thanks-for-coming would be in rhyme.

Readers from near and readers from far
You’ve come by mule and you’ve come by car
Tonight’s program is quite the treat
So silence your cell phones and put your rumps in a seat
You, young lady, with your hand in the air
Step up to the mic since you seem to play fair
“I’ll pose the first question for Dr Seuss
Are you really a doc or is it a ruse?
I’m asking because I’m a believer
But also because I’ve got a fever.”
He puts a hand on the forehead and in the throat he looks
And says, “That’s not a fever, you’re just hot for books.
You’ll be okay if you heed my warning
Read two stories and call me in the morning.”
Thanks all for coming to this peculiar event
Now buy a book before you leave and help us pay rent.

A customer comes up to your till with a copy of your novel, The Pearl that Broke its Shell and asks you to give them a reason on why they should buy it. What would you say?
The Pearl that Broke its Shell was a finalist in two categories (Fiction, Debut Author) for the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards. So you don’t have to take my word for it – the readers have spoken!

What sort of cake would you offer when launching your book in your bookshop?
Carrot cake – because vegetables are healthy.

Author biography:
Nadia Hashimi was born and raised in New York and New Jersey. Both her parents were born in Afghanistan and left in the early 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. Her mother, granddaughter of a notable Afghan poet, went to Europe to obtain a Master’s degree in civil engineering and her father came to the United States, where he worked hard to fulfill his American dream and build a new, brighter life for his immediate and extended family. Nadia was fortunate to be surrounded by a large family of aunts, uncles and cousins, keeping the Afghan culture an important part of their daily lives.

Nadia attended Brandeis University where she obtained degrees in Middle Eastern Studies and Biology. In 2002, she made her first trip to Afghanistan with her parents who had not returned to their homeland since leaving in the 1970s. It was a bittersweet experience for everyone, finding relics of childhood homes and reuniting with loved ones.

Nadia enrolled in medical school in Brooklyn and became active with an Afghan-American community organization that promoted cultural events and awareness, especially in the dark days after 9/11. She graduated from medical school and went on to complete her pediatric training at NYU/Bellevue hospitals in New York City. On completing her training, Nadia moved to Maryland with her husband where she works as a pediatrician. She’s also a part of the “Lady Docs,” a group of local female physicians who exercise, eat and blog together.

With her rigorous medical training completed, Nadia turned to a passion that had been ignored for too long. Her upbringing, experiences and passions came together in the form of stories based in the country of her parents and grandparents (some even make guest appearances in her tales!). Her debut novel, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell was released on May 6, 2014. Her second novel, When The Moon Is Low, follows the perilous journey of an Afghan family as they flee Taliban-controlled Kabul and fall into the dark world of the undocumented living in Europe.

She and her husband are the beaming parents of three curious, rock star children and a territorial African Grey parrot.
Nadia's website:


You can buy The Pearl That Broke Its Shell from your favourite Bookshop. Look out for my review over the next few weeks!

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