This is an excerpt of an interview with an international publication that will be published in November 2013. We got special permission to share this part of the interview with you here.
Khalid Muhammad is an entrepreneur and teacher, who, in 1997, moved to Pakistan after 27 years in the United States – an anomaly in this world, as migration tends to be the other way around. In Pakistan, he worked for some of the technology companies before establishing a business and teaching interactive marketing and entrepreneurship at a local university in Karachi.
Many of his students are loyally devoted to him, even though they have long since graduated and moved on with their lives. This is simply because Khalid manages to absorb information like a sponge, and is able to assess the knowledge and apply it, in context, to a goal or situation. He has used this ability to gain moderate success with his company, emagine, though it is clear that he is equally capable of writing a strong story as he is creating brands!
How or why did you decide to become a writer?
I don’t think I decided to become a writer. I mean there was no real conscious decision to become a writer. I have been struggling with a number of story ideas for a few years and they never really matured into a strong story line. Until this one…all of a sudden, the story just flowed out of me. It was like I was telling my own story at times. Don’t they say that an author’s first book tends to be autobiographical?
What is the working title of your book?
The working title of the book is Agency Rules, but it will expand a bit since the book is turning into a series. Who or What inspired you to write this book? The book is more inspired by a series of events in Pakistan. When we go backwards to the 1980s and the Afghan conflict, or the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a series of events was started in Pakistan that the country still suffers with today. The Taliban, terrorism, and the drug culture are all remnants of that time and we have not been able to escape it because of the US invasion bringing it to our doorstep again.
Do you have other published works?
I have been published in my professional career, but this is my first fictional work.
What genre does your book fall under?
Spy thriller, without a doubt.
What is the one or two-sentence synopsis of your book?
The cold adrenaline, the fear of the unknown, the shadowy hands, and the cunning that surpasses a Sicilian mind…the game of espionage in South Asia.
Is your book self-published, or published and/or represented by an agency?
It is going to be published in December 2013 with a publisher. I just can’t reveal the name because we are finalizing the contract right now.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
First draft – 2 months, research – 5 years. Like I said, the story flowed out of me, like it was my own. I have spent a number of months reading, reviewing and revising since then based on some focus groups and people who read the initial manuscript.
What other books or authors would you compare this story to within your genre?
Wow, that is a tough one without seeming arrogant. I think you have to take into account that the whole story is set in Pakistan and the Middle East, you really would be pressed to find something similar. If we are talking about the genre, then Fredrick Forsyth’s The Afghan is a great comparison work. Tom Clancy’s Patriot Games is another that looks at a similar topic, substituting the Taliban for the IRA. I also personally like Matthew Reilly’s Scarecrow series and Tom Rob Smith’s trilogy. Some great new voices in the the genre.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It dispels some of the myths about Pakistan and its military. I like to give people the reference of 9/11 and how security-focused the United States became. It was a mini-military, intelligence state that went all over the world looking for enemies and eliminating them. I also look at the Israeli security situation and their regular skirmishes with Hamas and Hezbollah. When the IDF or Mossad snatch people that are considered enemies, people are not up in arms, because they see the news. Yet, when Pakistan’s military or intelligence services do the same thing, the world calls us terrorists. We deal with more terrorist attacks in a month than any other country of the world. We have insurgents that fight our military as if they were an invading force. We have gangs in metropolitan cities that are controlled by political parties for their own greedy purposes. Should we not protect our citizens through every means available to us as well?
Where can we find your work? (Ex: Website links, blog links, publishers links)
The pre-launch website with excerpts for the novel is at http://agencyrules.com. It is a really cool site because I not only talk about the book itself, I tell you about the journey that took to write it. We are also on Facebook and twitter. Once the book is published, I would hope that you would be able to find it at your local bookstore and Amazon for sure.