Today’s interiew is with Sevda Khatamian, the author of Morning People.
Morning People, non-fiction, memoir.
The light turned green, and I started to walk to the other side of the street with thirty or forty other people. Some of them were on their way to catch the ferry. Some were running not to miss it—only two minutes left. Street dogs were walking with us too. But I don’t think they were in such a hurry. I saw some fences from across the street, they were blocking the alley to the ferry station. Standing tall, and crisp white. Seemed like they’ve always been there, although I knew they were new to the neighborhood; haven’t seen them before. When was the last time I took the ferry?
Sevda Khatamian, nineteen eighty-nine, her family was already living in Tehran when she was born in the month of July. Although her parents were in touch with friends and other members of the family, it was mostly the four of them hanging out together. Her father used to run his own business and her mother worked in a hospital. Later she became a lawyer. Soheil, her older brother, moved abroad right after he graduated from high school. Sevda took the same path and moved out of the country by the time she was eighteen.
After six years of living in Ankara, studying, working, and eventually living an unemployed life concentrated on personal creative projects, she decided to move to Istanbul, and discover life on another level, and back up new experiences for the future.
She now travels as an artist in residence, and lives in different countries for short periods of time. She believes creativity dawns as she moves along with the road.
What is the current book you are promoting?
Morning People is the second memoir that I released on the month of April. It’s a selective series of incidents from an everyday life in a vast endless city, alongside the friends living the same path.
You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser?
I found a few old drafts in the stuff that I’d left with my parent. They’re short stories, they must belong to the time that I wrote fiction. I’m planning to rewrite them, and see if I could release a book of short stories. Three short stories, actually, that are somehow connected to each other.
Why do you write?
Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve always wrote to calm myself down. I used to keep a journal, full of thoughts and comments about things happening around me. I was also interested in script writing, so I studied fiction and writing for screen. A few years ago, I was caught up in a situation where I was very far away from my dream life, and that was depressing. So I started writing again since I found it the most affordable and easiest way to produce, and stay innovative. It’s almost the only way to leave ideas behind, even once you’re dead. Not only it boosted my creativity, I’m also able to spend more times on my drawings and animation ideas. I now get to combine these mediums more effectively.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I don’t know, I’m not a very decisive person. I usually write at night. It’s as if my engines start after the sun sets. But it also depends on my daily schedule and what I’d planned for myself the night before. It may even depend on my mood. I only need to make sure that I spend enough time on drawing, writing, reading and any other project that I’m working on at the moment.
What else have you written?
I have published two books so far, both memoir. That Year was my first one, and Morning People came second. That Year was a series of funny misfortunes and incidents happening in a year of my life, as I moved to my apartment and I gradually made friend with the place. Morning People started as I moved to another city. Life was now so different, and so I had to write all about it. I’ve also written a few short scripts, hoping I’d make films in the future.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you?
I draw a map for the book before I start writing the first draft. I clear out the chapters for myself, and note down what every chapter would contain of. Since I work on memoir, I keep adding ideas and layers to each chapter as the time goes by, as I remember relevant incidents. Well, funny thing is that I can never tell for sure how it’s going to end, I just have to wait for the right moment. It’s rather experimental.
Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website?
Yes, I draw them myself. I’ve studied graphic design, fine arts, so I’m familiar with the process of book printing, from page layout and cover to the margins and bleeds.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?
So in these two books, I’ve talked about my thoughts, and it’s a stream of conscious, so I’m somehow the only character. I recreate myself slightly different than what I really am. I, as the character, appear to be a bit dumb, out of focus, forgetful but specific at the same time, and mostly random. My friends and family are also featured in the book, and you get to find out about their character throughout the book; I mention things about them here and there.
Where do your ideas come from?
Real life. I cannot explain how inspiring the reality is, or the power of random incidents once they’re put in perspective, where you can see things through the filter of time.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
I should say editing. I was in no condition to hire an editor, so I had to do it myself. I had taught myself how to actually edit a book, so I wasn’t really sure if I was doing fine, or it was all a big mistake. To me, editing was the tiring part. I also had to stick to my deadline, and that was a bit stressing.
What is your next project?
Well, Morning People was one part of this memoir project. As I said before, I like to combine mediums in order to express the ideas in different tastes. I’ve sketched down an animation, The Street, which is a series of animated images picturing the silent side of the book, parts of this context that are better when expressed visually.
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?
Cell phones, I think I’d take them away. I wouldn’t touch anything else in the new technology, only cell phones. Things were much more interesting when we only used landlines.
Tell us something unique about you.
I’m not sure if it’s unique, but I’m utterly and absolutely obsessed with SpongeBob. I love everything about it. Everything. I could talk for hours about him, why I adore him so much, I could write a book about it. And the funny thing is that I didn’t watch the show until a few years; our national television broadcasted very different types of shows when we were little.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Sevda-Khatamian/e/B01B5C0LK0/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/CauPV2WNKHo