I’m interviewing Yasmin Shiraz, author of YA novel “Accused”. My questions are bolded, and Yasmin’s responses are in regular font.
1) What’s the hardest part of being an author?
The hardest part of being an author is dividing writing time and marketing/engagement time. As an author you want to write books, but if no one knows about your book, you don’t feel good about that. So, marketing time is a definite priority. Engaging my readers and the supporters of my books is also very important and I realize that I must do that more and more.
2) Can you give us a short synopsis of Accused?
Attacks on a college campus. Co-eds Drugged. High School Girls Breaking Curfew.
When Tashera and Ahmed left Washington, DC for the fun and free college life to be found at Georgia Atlantic University, they had no idea of the difficulties that they would face.
Their lives get turned upside down when Ahmed is accused of a crime that he didn’t commit.
Young women are being drugged at Georgia Atlantic and afterwards they are waking up in strange places. By their bruises and their attire, the young women know they’ve been sexually assaulted. But, by who? The attacker is clever in implicating Ahmed and determined to destroy his life.
Unless Tashera discovers him first.
Determined to save Ahmed and protect other young women, Tashera is committed to stopping and finding the serial rapist before he hurts anybody else.
3) Is this part of a series, or stand-alone?
Accused is the 2nd book in the Retaliation series. Retaliation is a young adult novel. Accused follows the main characters of Retaliation, Tashera and Ahmed as they go off to college. As an author who reaches high school students, I was excited about the opportunity to write a 2nd book in which the characters have graduated high school and are now experiencing college.
4) How many hours per day do you spend writing?
I spend 4 hours per day writing. I used to write 8 hours a day, but I found that I must spend time finding my inspiration. So, when I’m not writing, I’m reading, exercising, doing yoga, listening music–basically doing things that I love. Doing the things that I love to do help me to be an inspired writer.
5) What is your favorite book in the same genre as yours?
I can give you two favorites.
I love Burned by Ellen Hopkins. Her love affair with words really draws people in. I am inspired by how she uses prose to tell her stories. She also is fearless when tackling serious issues.
I love The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake. Many girls have all kinds of self-esteem and body image issues. This author confronted young women’s issues head on in a truly engaging way.
6) What are you working on now?
I’m writing more books and finding new ways to reach my readers.
About The Book
Author: Yasmin Shiraz
Genre: YA – real life
An easier and more peaceful life seemed to be destined for Ahmed and Tashera when they left Washington, DC and entered Georgia Atlantic University. But when Ahmed is accused of a crime that he didn’t commit and begins to be tried in the media, his popularity plummets, his self-esteem suffers, and his dreams of playing college basketball disappear.
Meanwhile, there is a serial rapist on campus who has been attacking freshman girls at record numbers and forcing them to keep silent. As Tashera learns about the girls, she begins to close in on the rapist. But is the attacker too crafty to be caught? Will the state prosecutor ignore key evidence to instead focus on the fame that comes with convicting a high profile basketball star?
Tashera is beyond stressed as she divides her time between trying to find enough evidence to clear Ahmed while at the same time stopping the rapist who roams the campus of Georgia Atlantic. Ahmed and Tashera’s journey into a new life away from home is more challenging than they ever thought that it would be.
An Amazon Top 500 Book Reviewer had this to say about Accused:
“I recommend it for teen readers… Shiraz has a knack for writing in the voice of teen characters without having to resort to obscenities. It’s an important and worthwhile YA novel.”
Yasmin Shiraz is an author and filmmaker. She has written several other books including Retaliation (A YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers,) The Blueprint for My Girls and Exclusive. She is a screenwriter and film director who produced the Can She Be Saved? documentary and the Sources web series. She resides in the suburbs of Washington, DC.