So I’ve been in a writing rut lately, but just because I’ve been in a rut doesn’t mean I’m short of ideas. And there’s one idea in particular that’s been running through my head and distracting me from daily life because I’m constantly thinking about how this story can go so I decided to share it with you all. So without further ado, I’d like everyone to meet Hadiyya. Well, if you’ve read or plan to meet Confessions of a Fat Girl you’ve already met her or are going to meet her, but I plan for her to be the star of her own novel.
Hadiyya always stood out to me as a character. For one, her prompting is the catalyst that leads to Season meeting her love interest for the first time in Confessions of a Fat Girl, and she’s also Muslim and I decided she was Muslim very early on in the writing of Confessions of a Fat Girl, like in the first chapter. Her relationship with Season is loosely based off me and my best friend from college with a few differences. Like Season and Hadiyya, we both have different philosophies when it comes to faith, namely that I’m Muslim and she’s atheist (Sort of. At the very least, she is very skeptical about the existence of a Supreme Being or power). But while Season and Hadiyya are the same race (or identify as the same race since Season is biracial), I’m black and she’s white. So we were definitely like the odd couple on campus and everyone in the administrative staff (and I do mean everyone) knew who we were. Again, Season and Hadiyya are only loosely based on my real life friendship. Still I was really apprehensive about making Hadiyya Muslim despite my good experiences so far.
There’s some really awful propaganda going out about Muslims. I mean, as far as media is concerned, everyone who ever did anything wrong is Muslim, and that’s just not true. It’s like any other group of people. A select few are really bad people, but many more aren’t. And when people said dumb shit like all Muslims are terrorists, my debate is as follows: Some men rape women, but not all men are rapists; In America, Christian Caucasian people enslaved, tortured, and raped black people and use Christianity as justification, but many more Christians are really good people; Some parents abuse their children, but that doesn’t mean that all parents are child abusers. You get where I’m going here? So how is it that an entire group of people can be demonized for their faith based on the actions of a few comparatively? And because no one seems to want to answer this question or deal with this question, I think it’s important to show another side of the Muslim faith and who better to write it than someone who is Muslim.
My religion isn’t something I’ve really broadcasted in the past, but I feel like if everyone else can get on social media and proclaim proudly what they are, then I should to. And I should be able to write about it just like everyone else can write about things that are important to them. That’s not to say Hadiyya is me because she’s Muslim. She’s going to do things and get involved in things that I never would. Not bad things mind you (or maybe it will be bad depending on your moral compass), just things I would never do. But I do think that there’s this unspoken agreement that in mainstream and commercial publishing, you shouldn’t necessarily mention religion or else your book is categorized as a book about faith or religious fiction, and it was something I had to grapple with as I wrote all the books in the Confessions Universe. But the fact of the matter is faith or lack of faith is a big part of people’s lives. It’s especially a big part of the black community, which the characters I write about are part of.
Now I have no intentions for this book to be a preachy book on Islam and Islamophobia and being Muslim because being Muslim does not define Hadiyya, but it is a part of who she is, as is her martial arts training, her skills in cosmetology, her love for movies from the seventies and eighties, her like for neon pink nail polish (lol), and her strong dislike for bullying, oppression, and sexism. And just like any other person, she has hurts and pains and desires and relationship problems, which brings me to what this book is about.
It’s in the Confessions Universe of course, and it’s New Adult but what it will be a confession of… I haven’t decided yet because while being Muslim is one of the things that defines Hadiyya, it’s not going to be the defining focus of this book. It’s about… something else that I can’t really give away without spoiling the book. Not yet anyway. But I can say this book will deal with a platonic romantic relationship between Hadiyya and a man she meets. A more than friends, less than lovers type of thing, but a little too close to be brother and sister that will really question socially accepted definitions of love, friendship, and romance. Because contrary to popular belief, love and romance is more than just being involved in a monogamous, sexual, touch-feely relationship with someone. You can have love for and romance with (and when I say romance, I mean a strong emotional connection) someone without being in love and wanting to spend the rest of your live with them, and many of the problems Hadiyya faces in her book will deal with the assumptions people make because of how mainstream media has defined friendship, love, and romance as these three separate entities where only two can be companions without raising eyebrows.
And I know some people are going to read this book, particularly other Muslims, and say that something Hadiyya does or says isn’t a total picture or reflection of the Muslim faith. I know, okay? But no matter what your religion, philosophical beliefs, or professions, we all have a different way of expressing it and this book isn’t about Hadiyya expressing being Muslim hence why this book is not—I repeat, IS NOT!—going to be titled “Confessions of a Muslim Girl” (again, that’s NOT the title). It’s about Hadiyya expressing herself and being Muslim is just a part of that expression, and like all my books, I’ll try to leave it up to everyone who reads it what to make of that.
This post was brought to you by:
Respect for Muslims Productions
I Can Love You But Not Be In Love With You Productions
Platonic Romance Productions
Friendship, Love, and Romance Productions
*Pictures Courtesy of Google Images*