It seems to me that in writing this sequel for Wanting Mor, I’ve either done something extremely clever, or extremely dumb.

I’m not sure which yet.

I was leaning towards the latter (dumb) but after reading a few reviews of Wanting Mor on, I’m wondering if what I did wasn’t brilliant.

Despite the fact that Wanting Mor was not up for the big prize awards in Canada, the royalty cheques coming in through sales in North America, Australia, Italy and now Japan have been…ahem…very nice indeed!

I mean it has wracked up its share of acclaim. So far a mixture of twelve awards and nominations/shortlists. But from the Canadian establishment, I seem to be overlooked, yet again. *shrug*

That should be enough, right?

That and the fact that I think it’s a darn ‘good read’. And yet we authors are a weird bunch. Not only do we sit with baited breath waiting to hear what reviewers will say about our books, we seek out sites like goodreads and wallow in what the average person thinks of them too.

I’m convinced some people just post so they can give a book one star and bring down its rating!

And then there are those who call the book didactic and a few reviews later someone will say exactly the opposite.

When you have two completely opposing viewpoints, it means you can safely discard that comment.

Reading the good reviews can be very encouraging. It can be a real ‘basking in the glow’ moment.

But the funny thing tonight was that as I was reading, I gravitated more towards the negative comments, and you know, I wonder if those same readers wouldn’t absolutely love the sequel I just wrote.

It isn’t just that it’s a lighter, funnier, more accessible story to Western audiences.

It’s that I took a completely different angle on it.

In Wanting Mor, it’s almost claustrophobic how deeply you’re in the first person perspective of this poor damaged girl.

In the sequel I pulled way back and went omniscient, jumping at will into any character’s head that I felt like jumping into.

As a result, the scenes are often in the perspective of different characters and you see Jameela’s actions from the outside, and boy does she ever look different.

You could read the sequel on its own and probably enjoy it, but if you read Wanting Mor first, the sequel really completes the story…I think.

I don’t know though.

This Friday I’ll give it to my daughters and the Afghan sister of my son in law to read. They’ll definitely be my toughest critics.

My daughters know I want the brutal truth. And oh, yeah, they’ll give it to me!

I’m kind of scared, but I’m ready at the same time.

Don’t know if I mentioned that Wanting Mor was chosen by some group representing the library systems in all 48 States for their summer reading club. The lady at told me that it would mean that hundreds if not thousands more kids will be reading it over the summer.

For that purpose she interviewed me and is in the process of posting the piece on the background of Wanting Mor  on their website. It’s the same place where they have me saying my name. It’s only three minutes long and gives a bit of back story.

I wonder if that’s what they call a ‘sleeper’ hit. Something that just kind of flies under the radar and sells really well. That seems to be what’s happening with Wanting Mor.

Whereas Big Red Lollipop seems to be the opposite. Just a plain hit. Apparently it’s being carried to the American Library Association convention as a contender for their ALA notables list.

I laughed so hard when I read this review of Big Red Lollipop on good reads: Good for talking about other cultures and for evil little sisters everywhere.


I’m the little sister!

I wonder if she’d still think that if she realized that ‘evil little Sana’ is the one writing the story! I mean it should be obvious that ‘Sana’ is a contraction of my name: RukhSANA!!!

Or maybe not.

I wish I could take credit for the brilliant idea to put the story in the older sister’s perspective, but I can’t. That was all my editor at the time, Catherine Frank’s doing.

Now here’s something to chew on:

I’ve written novels that have taken me ten + years and they never got published.

Big Red Lollipop was originally written in my perspective. Catherine asked me to put it in the older sister’s perspective. I did, writing it in about fifteen minutes. Then I popped it back to her and now it’s the one taking off!  One of New York Times ten best illustrated books, Junior Library Guild selection, yada yada yada. Go figure!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not angry, just perplexed.

I know it’s good, alhamdu lillah, but hey, so are my other books, masha Allah!

This next year will prove interesting. Last year was FANTASTIC!!!!

I’m thinking this year might be even better.

And if people get the sequel, then the sky’s the limit.

But that’s a big ‘if’.