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Interview with Khalid Muhammad

What genre do you write and why?
Thrillers, of the spy and espionage variety.

Tell us about your latest book.
Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office takes you behind the headlines into the events that created today’s Pakistan. It is a tough look at a nation in conflict from the eyes of a young man, Kamal Khan, who is looking for his own identity and place in society. Kamal is raised in privilege, but leaves it all behind as a man to serve his nation. Once in that environment, finds himself embroiled in a complex narrative that shifts with the fiery speeches of their anointed political and religious leaders.

Who are your favourite authors?
I read Fredrick Forsyth, Tom Clancy, John le Carre, Helen MacInnes and Alistair MacLean.

What advice do you have for other writers?
So my advice to aspiring authors is simple - Never give up. There are so many reasons that you may stop writing, there are hundreds of people that will demotivate you when you are writing, but you have to take them with a grain of salt. You can’t achieve something when you are worried about what the naysayers think.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
There are four places. The Agency Rules website at http://agencyrules.com. On Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7243288.Khalid_Muhammad. Or on social media at http://facebook.com/AgencyRulesPK or http://twitter.com/AgencyRulesPK.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book? 
Well, other than the genre and being a book about Pakistan and terrorism, Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office is a fast-paced, action packed story that will keep you guessing all the way to the end. I hope that, as a reader, you will experience that Pakistan that I fell in love with when I moved home from the United States after 25 years. You will feel your heart wrench with Kamal’s when he is stationed in Karachi, Peshawar and buried deep inside the terrorist camps. And, hopefully, you will cheer him on, because he is the Pakistani that you don’t see in the media – smart, driven and motivated to do good for his family, fellow citizens and country.

Where can a reader purchase your book? 
The book will be published on Amazon on 16 January and available in bookstores around the world (hopefully) in February.

How do you research your books? 
I read and read and read, then I watch movies. I think I spent 5 years researching for this series. I read books, read newspapers from around the world and read Internet websites so that I could get a clear understanding of what the discourse really was. Since I wanted to portray the real picture, along with a bit of fiction, I had to understand everything, positive or negative, before I started writing my first word.

I traveled a great deal to the areas that I have written about in my novel. I wanted to make sure that I got the feel, tempo and environment right so that the reader could visualize the locations in their imaginations. Writing is never an easy road when you want to do it right.

Khalid Muhammad
What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing? 
I think both are needed in today’s publishing world. The big traditional publishers are too busy looking for the next bestseller to see the emerging author with a great voice and story. The hoops that writers must jump through to get a publisher’s attention just make the whole process much harder and keeps great stories from coming into the market.

Having said that, I also don’t agree that everyone should self-publish. There is a level of work that must be put into crafting a great story for the reader. You need to have a great editor that disagrees with you. You need to have people that read your chapters and turn around to ask questions where they see holes. You need to put in the effort to get the story right, otherwise you make the self-publishing look inferior, which it is not.

Again, writing is never an easy road when you want to do it right. There are no shortcuts to a great story.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time? 
Working. Being that this is my first novel, I am not someone who has a stream of revenue from my writing, either in books or articles. For the past 10 years, I have owned and built a marketing company that has been able to grab a good market share and pay my bills, feed my family and allow me to enjoy the downtime in my life.

Other than that, I like to read, watch movies, play video games and experience the new tech gadgets.



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