Jamila Mikhail, or simply Mila for short, is an award-winning author based out of Ottawa, the capital of Canada. In 2018 she was one of the people who received the title of Top Writer on Quora and over the years she has also received several awards for her poetry and short stories ever since she started writing on a serious basis in 2011. Mila is currently working towards a degree in human rights and is passionate about social justice. In her spare time Mila also enjoys various hobbies including photography, gastronomy, building toy models of various sizes and studying a variety of things including history, philosophy and foreign languages. Most of all though, she enjoys being the company of her cats Squeaker and Carling. She thinks that writing about herself in the third person is strange.
What inspires you to write?
Real life! Plain and simple. Writing has always been the only socially acceptable way I've had to express myself and over time these little stories I'd written here and there turned into full length novels. Writing fiction inspired by real things I've lived or witness (or that has otherwise affected me in some way) is also my way of taking back control of a situation where I had no actual control. In short, I write to take back control.
Tell us about your writing process.
When something inspires me, the whole book literally comes to me all at once. I'm not kidding! The only thing left to do is write it! I call this process "the strike" because the inspiration just strikes all at once, often out of the blue, and the whole story hits me all at once like a wrecking ball. I have author friends who tell me they'd wish this would happen to them, especially when they struggle with writer's block (which has never actually happened to me) but they don't realize how frustrating it can also be for me. It's especially frustrating to me because I can't be creative on a daily basis this way. I can't brainstorm something or say 'well how about I write a book?' because it's really the book that decides for me, not me that decides the book. I've also been left without inspiration for literally years because I hadn't been struck by the inspiration, but when it happens I always love watching the story I have in my head come alive on paper.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I don't actually! I don't personally interact with them, but as I'm writing along dialogue for example I hear their voices in my mind. During the editing phase I also hear their voices reading the parts of the book that are about them. It's quite entertaining honestly, and I'd like to know if it's the same for my readers!
Who are your favorite authors?
I don't think I have a single favorite author per se whom I've read all of their books, but I must say that I really like Eric Emmanuel Schmidtt quite a lot. I first read his book 'Oscar et la dame rose' in high school and it was the most beautiful (albeit tragic) I've ever read in my entire life and I've bought a couple more of his books over the years. All have been wonderful.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My friends who were published before me were my main guides on what to do (and not do) in the publishing industry. I dipped my toes into the water first with self-publishing just to see how things would go without the worry of contracts or anything like that and I ultimately decided to create my own publishing imprint on the side of my local book selling business that I've had for years, but aside from using it to put together my own books I have yet to expand it due to a major lack of time and too many other responsibilities on my hand. Being a university student and running a marketplace on the side is big work as is but I'd like to see where it goes in the future.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the future is bright for storytellers. New and dynamic publishing models are emerging all the time that offer distribution to a wide audience without many of the traditional drawbacks that put off so many authors who want to retain the rights to their work and distribute as they see fit instead of having someone else decide for them. That was a certainly a big factor in my own decisions involving publishing my stories. I look forward to seeing what the industry will look like in a couple of years because it's changed a lot since I wrote my first book in 2011 (but didn't publish it until almost a decade later) so I can anticipate even more changes.
What genres do you write?
fiction, young adult, poetry
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Audiobook
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.