This week we are introducing young Pakistani-American author Mishaal Omer, who is using her love of poetry and prose to challenge the world and make it a little more beautiful...
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Mishaal Omer, a seventeen-year-old Pakistani-American poet from Wisconsin, USA. I’m always daydreaming, always writing, and always exploring. I love my family above all else in the world. Through my words, I aspire to change the world, one heart at a time, and communicate my pride for my identity.
What first inspired you to start writing?
Ever since I can remember, books have been my best friends. I like to think that I am composed of every single character from every single story I have ever read. I realised rather quickly that I wanted to impact others with my own writing, the way writers like Jane Austen and Emily Dickinson impacted me.
What made you want to work with Rowanvale and be published?
I had been writing poetry for years, and, eventually, through the support and encouragement of my family and friends, I decided to weave together all of the poems I had into a cohesive project. Rowanvale met and exceeded all my needs, and the process of working with them was both incredibly rewarding and easy.
When you’re not writing, what are you reading?
I love to read all sorts of works - from the Romantic poets to the literary classics to contemporary fiction and fantasy. Some writers I adore are: Adam Silvera, Jane Austen, Nikita Gill, E. E. Cummings, Sarah J. Maas, and Charles Baudelaire.
Which work are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my poetry collection Shatter the Stars because it is truly an embodiment of my dreams and years of exploration and discovery.
What’s your best advice for handling writer's block?
This is a tough one! I’ll be the first to say that writer’s block is not an easy demon to conquer. My advice is to truly make writing - or creating - a habit and to integrate it into your routine. Even just spending five minutes writing down observations in a journal while you eat your breakfast can make all the difference and keep you inspired.
What’s one thing you always have with you when you’re writing?
Caffeine! I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I don’t like tea and coffee all too much, so there’s always a soda on my side table.
What is the one book you would take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. That story is a classic for a reason, and Jane Austen’s prose is so magnificent and witty that I could never get tired of it.
What is the best part about being an independently published author?
I love how much control I have and had over my work during the process of publishing with Rowanvale. Retaining the creative liberty and the flexibility that comes with being independently published was so important to me.
What’s next for you?
Next year, I’m off to college to pursue a degree in English (fingers crossed!). In the future, I want to use my writing to explore my identity and generate social progress. I believe words are the most powerful weapons and creators of change. I’d also just like to use my poetry and prose to make our world a little more beautiful, a little more full of art and love.