I was lucky enough to get a chance to ask publisher and author Papatia Feauxzar all the questions my curious little mind could come up with and I took full advantage of the opportunity. This interview is a long one – I limited myself a little as I had to but the word count is still above 1500 words. So, settle in to learn a lot about the lovely Papatia who’s just released books 1 & 2 of The Jihad Series (Hanifa and Malik) together as The Ducktrinors.
I’ve written up a quick review of my thoughts on The Ducktrinors and linked it here as well.
1) When and why did you start writing?
I started writing as a hobby in early teen years alhamdullilah. I love storytelling and it has always been a passion. It helps me relax and entertain myself. It also helps logging the incessant monologue I run in my head on a daily basis *laughs*!
2) Are you a planner or a ‘pantser’ when it comes to your first drafts?
I’m a planner. I always have outline and synopsis for my stories. I also know the end before I even start typing. In other words, the bigger picture is already mapped in my mind alhamdullilah.
3) What’s the most frustrating part of writing?
It can be frustrating when you want to show a scene and you come off blank and where you want to tell the character won’t let you. Some characters are pickier than others. They will dictate to you what they want to be known for. I find myself respecting the privacy of certain characters while not so much for others. It’s creepy right? So, as a writer, I go with the flow to make it easy on myself and see how between the start and the end, the story will unfold.
4) Do you have a strange writing experience to share? A time when you just couldn’t wait to get to your laptop to jot down an idea and ended up writing in a shopping line/in your car/on a stairwell (Wait, that’s me).
Oh yea, all the time. I write on any kind of paper I find in my bag when I forget to have my notebook in tow subhanallah. The innocent targets range from bank statements’ envelopes to groceries’ receipts *laughs*.
5) I’ve more than once described writing as a love affair with words. How do you describe it?
I completely agree! And I would say writing is a spiritual journey. It takes you to different worlds.
6) Now, writers are most often readers. What made you a reader?
I became a reader because my home environment in Ivory Coast thrived on knowledge alhamdullilah. My father and mother’s families come from a long and noble line of teachers, students, and scholars masha’Allah. Therefore, it was a natural affair for me to become a writer and a reader at the same time. A good teacher is a good student and a good leader is also a good follower.
7) I know you’re a home schooling Mom Masha Allah and you’re also working toward obtaining your CPA license – a huge congratulations on that one! I’d imagine that life tends to get a bit hectic, no? I’ve had a lot of people ask me how to keep things balanced – do you have any insight for them?
Thank you! It’s hard for sure. To stay productive and accomplish my tasks, I’m constantly saying duas to keep my focus. I also get my son and husband’s needs out of the way early in the morning and then I have more time to check-off things off my to-do list. I can work up to three hours unbothered before I have to attend to them again or take the kiddo out to the park. I enjoy my time with my family in and outside the home to relax and recharge.
So basically, you have to make time to work, rest, live, pray, and cater to your family without each activity stealing the time of the other. When you’re playing with your family, play with your family. When you’re working, be ruthless with your time. Don’t be in two minds at the same time. Do every activity you start with all your heart, focus, and energy to pack a punch and accomplish the things you have set off to do daily.
8) Do you prefer writing a certain type of scene? For example – action scenes, dialogue heavy scenes, descriptive passages?
I like action scenes because of the thrill they provide but I also like descriptive romantic scenes.
From experience, these days I try to stay away from heavy dialogue scenes because they read more like a movie script. I worked in the movie industry and even an editor I used for one of my short story told me the same thing; too much dialogue tends to make a writing piece a movie script. Having said that, any writing can be adapted to movie scripts.
9) What was your favorite scene to write for The Ducktrinors?
My favorite scene was The Battle of the Stadium. It’s a little remake of the Battle of Badr.
10) The Ducktrinors is set in the future – that’s evident right from the beginning with the flying SSS’s. Did you find it freeing or challenging to have so much leeway when world-building?
Not at all, I’m a dreamer and a visionary at heart at all. I’m a self-proclaimed al-Ghorabba. Alhamdullilah. *smiles*
11) Have you had to deal with backlash because of your writing?
Oh yes, I have. And I shake off the unwanted attention. They don’t pay my bills *Laughs*.
12) The Ducktrinors is filled with duas, history and other general knowledge. Is that deliberate or a reflection of the way your own mind works?
It’s both deliberate and the way I live my life personally. Islam and knowledge are so woven in my daily life that I come off intense to many people who don’t know me. Even to people who know, it’s a bit unsettling. But they come to realize that my religion is my way of life and theirs is theirs. We’re all humans, and we respect each others’ boundaries. At the end of the day, they come to realize that I am not accommodating myself to please the creation.
13) There’s a belief that art and science are complete opposites – that people should be divided into either artist or scientist. What do you say to that?
Allah al-Khaliq created everything. And it goes back to the balance of things because everything He created connects to one another. Science is artistic and art is science. You need skills to be scientific and skills call for art. Art helps designs science projects. You can’t remove one from the other and that’s the beauty of the creation masha’Allah subhanallah.
14) Where did the name Ducktrinor come from?
It comes from the Islamic Madhahib. A Madhab is a school of thought; a doctrine. Teachers are ‘Doctrinors’ in my opinion. There should not be ‘in-doctrinators’ because acquiring knowledge should not be a compulsion. So, I was trying to be crafty with the words and I came up with ‘Ducktrinors’. The title is often abbreviated to ‘The Ducks’. And when you see ducks, there is always one who strays away. And the analogy will reveal itself in future series of The Ducktrinors insha’Allah.
15) Do you have a favourite character?
I love the character of Dawud above all. How about you?
16) Which gadget from The Ducktrinors do you find most useful?
I find them all relevant but if I have to pick, I would say it’s the Niqabaya 1.0. I picked this one because it a great stealth mechanism.
17) Finally, what’s your next project going to be? Are you focusing on continuing The Ducktrinors or will we be getting something new from you first instead?
I’m working on finishing book three of The Ducktrinors series and some children and romance books I have on the back burner insha’Allah. Thank you for having me. Jazakh’Allah khair! The Ducktrinors is available on Amazon and our website here: https://www.djarabikitabs.com/bookstore/the-ducktrinors-book-i-book-ii
Want to know more about Papatia? Here’s her bio:
Papatia Feauxzar is an American author, barista, and publisher of West African descent living in Dallas, Texas with her son and husband. She holds a master’s degree in Accounting with a concentration in Personal Finance. After working as an accountant for a corporate firm for almost five years, Feauxzar decided to pursue Accounting from home while homeschooling her son. She is currently working toward obtaining her CPA license. Feauxzar then plans to obtain her PhD in Accounting. Feauxzar also blogs at Between Sisters, SVP! or A Ducktrinor Mom. She is the Love and Relationship Editor at Hayati Magazine, and she has written for AboutIslam, MVSLIM, and SISTERS Magazine. You can visit her websites at http://www.djarabikitabs.com or http://www.fofkys.com