From London to Hollywood: Unveiling!

Hey everyone I am Mili, the new addition to the team, today we have a special guest with us, Sheena Patel, a wonderful writer and assistant director for films and TV. She’s someone who was born and brought up in the vibrant neighborhoods of North West London. She’s not just about movies and TV shows, Sheena is also a part of the cool gang known as “4 BROWN GIRLS.” And guess what? We’re going to dive into a chat about her fantastic book, “I’m a Fan.

“I’m a Fan” received the British Book Award and was nominated for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. It was also a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Jhalak Prize. Sheena, the author, was selected as one of the Observer’s Top 10 best new novelists in 2022. Sheena lives in London, UK.

So, let’s get ready to hear all about her journey, experiences, and this intriguing book!

Mili: Congratulations on the remarkable recognition your debut novel “I’m a Fan” has received, including being longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2023 and shortlisted for several other prestigious awards. How does it feel to have your work acknowledged in such a significant way?

Also, if I may add in about this statement, ‘4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE’ I am seeing that you precisely mentioned a color, why Brown? would you like to share it with us?

Sheena: For your first question, It’s incredible and very unexpected. I’m extremely lucky for my work to have been received this way, it’s beyond my wildest dreams really.

And secondly, lol, because we have brown skin.

Mili: Could you provide insights into the inspiration behind “I’m a Fan,” its exploration of unequal romantic relationships, and how you responded to feedback about its dark themes?

Additionally, could you discuss your approach to interweaving power struggles in personal relationships and broader society, along with the intended takeaways for readers from these explorations?

Sheena: I think that says more about your friends than anything else. I wanted to write something scary and I wanted to frighten the reader, I thought books written by Brown authors felt too safe, I didn’t want it to be a place where the reader felt ‘seen’ or comforted, I wanted to scare the living daylights out of them. And as for the inspiration, it was watching the attacks on the Capitol in 2021 and seeing Trump command these hordes of fans to destroy something they supposedly loved. There was a video of one of them inside saying, this is an act of love, and I thought this is exactly what it’s like being in a one-sided relationship where one person makes all the effort and the other sits back.

I don’t have a message. It’s not for me to say that, I’m less articulate than the book in that sense. To be honest I don’t know how I did it, I threw a load of things together that seemingly didn’t go and wanted to see what would happen.

Mili: “I’m a Fan” raises thought-provoking questions about relationships, power, and societal norms. What conversations or discussions do you hope your readers engage in after experiencing your book?

Sheena: The shadow of ‘Fan’ is ‘fanatic’ so i hope that it is clear how it relates. For your second question It just came out that way, so I followed what came out.

Mili: Could you share some insights into your writing process? How did you approach crafting the characters and their dynamics, as well as building the intricate plot of the novel?

Sheena: I didn’t have a plan, I did a lot of thinking and watching of documentaries and I have read avidly all my life. It was a very intuitive writing process, almost like being in a dream state.

Mili: Honestly, I’ve met people similar to the narrator in real life. Is your character inspired by real events? It’s not really strange; it’s something common and usual in reality, right? But many say it’s not what they usually encounter. What’s your take on this? What do you say to those who are hesitant to read it because they find it too gloomy?

Sheena: They can do as they wish, no one has to read this book. I think the behaviour displayed in the book is a lot more prevalent than we like to admit.

Mili: I’ve been really curious to ask: If you had to pick your top two favorite books, which ones would you choose and why?

Sheena: It’s hard for me to select just two; there are so many I like.

Mili: Last question for today, your novel has been hailed as an Observer Best Debut Novel of 2022. How has this recognition impacted your journey as a writer, and what advice do you have for aspiring authors hoping to make a similar mark with their debut works?

Sheena: Getting on that Observer list really changed everything, I was on a wider lens suddenly from being with a very small publisher (Rough Trade Books) from that, Foyles gave me a window display for six weeks in the summer so I had this beautiful billboard – it was really magic. I was writing and performing and self-publishing with the collective so I was already making with my friends, I would definitely recommend that.

Wow, what an amazing conversation we’ve had with Sheena Patel, a true gem from North West London! Her insights into the world of filmmaking and her passion for storytelling are truly inspiring. And let’s not forget about her fantastic book, “I am a Fan,” which promises to take us on a captivating journey. It’s been a pleasure delving into her experiences, and we can’t wait to grab a copy of her book and explore the world she’s crafted. Thank you, Sheena, for sharing your incredible stories with us!

Buy I’m a Fan Here

Related: Common Mistakes to Avoid When Interviewing Authors

46 thoughts on “From London to Hollywood: Unveiling!”

  1. Pingback: Author Corner: My First Interview With Award Winner Author – Sheena Patel – miliswritingdesk

  2. Thank you for sharing your interview with Sheena. There are certainly some eye opening topics – especially her inspiration stemming from January 6.

  3. Sheena Patel is truly a remarkable individual with a wealth of knowledge and experiences to share. Her passion for storytelling and filmmaking is infectious, and I’m so glad you had the opportunity to connect with her. And her book, “I Am a Fan,” sounds fascinating! I can’t wait to get a copy and immerse myself in the world she’s created. Thank you, Sheena, for sharing your incredible stories and inspiring us to pursue our passions.

  4. This interview definitely piqued my curiosity. I’m not a fan of books that frighten me – there’s enough of that in real life 😀 But I know plenty of book readers who do. Congrats on the success!

  5. great interview and always wonderful to understand more about the author for me.. I need to look for this book now.

  6. Great interview by Mili! I’ve added Sheena’s latest work to my read list as I am always looking for new diverse authors to support!

  7. Congratulations on her debut book and for the award nominations. The topics would surely divide readers. Great interview btw, it’s fascinating to see the thought process of a writer.

  8. I will have to get this book. This is such a great interview. I wouldn’t have been able to pick my favorite books either. I have so many!

  9. This is such an interesting interview. It is neat to read about writers, their inspiration, and writing process. She sounds very accomplished and I’ll have to check out some of her work.

  10. A captivating journey that promises to be an exciting unveiling. This post is a testament to the power of storytelling and the anticipation of new adventures.

  11. It was interesting to hear from Sheena about her debut novel “I’m a fan” and her inspiration behind the novel. It must be fun crafting all the different characters that appear in the book and interesting to hear how she prepared for this.

  12. It sounds like an interesting read and it must be exciting to have a book published! Great sit-down with the author and getting her thoughts behind her words.

  13. Sheena is awesome! Thank you so much for the interview and for introducing us to such an inspiring and awesome person.

  14. An Inspiring Journey! Welcome, Mili, and a warm hello to Sheena Patel! What a delightful introduction to a multifaceted talent. Congratulations to Sheena on the well-deserved accolades for ‘I’m a Fan.’ Your literary achievements are truly remarkable. And the mention of ‘4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE’ sparks curiosity – we’re eager to hear the story behind it. Looking forward to diving into the insights, experiences, and the captivating world of your book!

  15. What an impressive honor to be named as a best debut novel. I definitely want to read this book after learning so much in this post.

  16. I haven’t read this but it is something I would definitely enjoy. Thank you for bring this author in as I would have not known of them yet they wrote books I enjoy

  17. Your journey is seriously cool and reading about your ups and downs kept me hooked. Your story’s a boost for dream-chasers like me. Can’t wait for more of your adventures!

  18. Catherine Shane Cabuhat-Rojo

    It seems like an amazing interview and I’ll definitely check that book! Thanks for sharing this.

  19. Kudos on her first book release and the recognition through award nominations. Seeing insight into the writer’s thinking is intriguing and now I want to read the book!

  20. This is an interesting interview. I enjoyed reading about her perspective about January 6 events in the US, it shocked so many of us around the world. She is doing so well, I’m keen to read I’m a fan.

  21. It’s wonderful to meet Mili and Sheena Patel, and I’m thrilled to learn about Sheena’s impressive achievements in both the writing and film industry. Her book “I’m a Fan” sounds like a remarkable piece of work, having received such prestigious awards and nominations. It’s great to see authors like Sheena getting the recognition they deserve.

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