Why did you start writing?
In 1990 while in 6th grade, I wrote: "Speedboat Race" for a school short story assignment. Later that year, my teacher submitted my manuscript to the school district for selections to participate at "Illinois Young Author's Conference. I recall a great experience at the conference and was inspired to continue writing. However, life played itself eventually. For my 40th Birthday, my parents gifted me this manuscript. This simple gift inspired me to retell the story and share it with the world.
How did NIU prepare you for a career as a writer?
At NIU I studied Computer Science and currently work in IT as a technical lead at a large healthcare provider. In addition, I am an adjunct instructor teaching Computer Science at community colleges in Southern California. I do aspire to continue writing children's books and also looking forward to writing a technical textbook in programming.
Describe the satisfaction of seeing your book published with your name on the cover?
This gives me great pride as a child of immigrant parents father (Pakistani) and mother (Mexican) to be the first author in the family. I also have the satisfaction of sharing the cover with my two wonderful daughter's Zoya (8th grade) and Zysha Khan (5th grade). I had both my daughters re-illustrate "Speedboat Race'. I had no cover for the book and tasked Zysha. She ran into what you see today. Zoya took my original drawings (noted in the appendix) and created digital images for the same and those not illustrated. It gives me great joy to share this experience with them and demonstrate the potential of taking hold of your dreams. I am also happy that I will be having a Spanish version of the book, in hopes that it will also inspire Latinx and Hispanic young authors.
Are you an NIU graduate with a published book? Please fill out this form and let us know.
College: Liberal Arts and Sciences
Degree: Bachelor of Science