12 Curly Questions with author Alom Shaha

1.Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you.

At home, I always put a couple of pods of cardamom and a small bit of cassia bark in my tea. 

2. What is your nickname?

I don’t have a nickname, but some of the older boys in my neighbourhood used to call me Gandhi when I was a child. 

3. What is your greatest fear?

Something bad happening to my children. 

4. Describe your writing style in 10 words.

My writing style is still evolving, but is usually conversational. 

5. Tell us five positive words that describe you as a writer.

Learner, mentor, mentee, eclectic, warm.

6. What book character would you be, and why?

Dicey, from Homecoming by Cynthia Voight, because I’d really like to know how things turned out for her as a grown-up.

7. If you could time travel, what year would you go to and why?

Any time before my mum died, to tell her how much I love her and could she please stick around to meet her granddaughters.

8. What would your 10-year-old self say to you now?

Glad things are ok for you now. 

9. Who is your greatest influence?

My mum. 

10. What/who made you start writing?

I have loved books since I was a child. They have been central to my life ever since I learned how to read. But I never really thought I could be a writer. That changed in my 30s thanks to the philosopher AC Grayling. We were having a chat after I had finished filming with him for a TV program I was making. He asked me if I had ever considered writing a book and told me that if I ever did, to let him know so that he could help me. He was true to his word and introduced me to the woman who is now my agent, Catherine Clarke. She was the first person to tell me I could write and I believed her because I knew she didn’t have any reason to say it unless she meant it. 

11. What is your favourite word and why?

At the moment, it is ‘luminous’ because in the run-up to the publication of How to Find a Rainbow, I have been thinking a lot about the nature of light and how the word also relates to people who we love. 

12. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Homecoming by Cynthia Voight.

Alom Shaha was born in Bangladesh but grew up in London. A parent, teacher, science writer, and filmmaker, he has spent most of his professional life sharing his passion for science and education with the public. For more information, see www.alomshaha.com.

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