LZR: What is your favorite scene in the novel, and why?
MS: Without giving too much away, there’s a scene in which Almira is dealing with a girl named Shakira who’s been consistently catty towards her. Almira handles her enemy with honesty and maturity.
LZR: Other than your main character, who is your favorite character in the story, and why?
MS: Almira’s grandfather is my favorite, because he’s hilarious. He’s old-fashioned and judgmental, but in a lovable way. His mindset and beliefs are light years from Almira’s, so it’s interesting to see two very different people, old and modern, get along.
LZR: What gave you the idea for this story?
MS: I wanted to write a children’s book or middle grade about Ramadan. Initially I thought of a young boy celebrating the holiday. During the early planning stage I switched it to a teenage girl’s viewpoint, turning my idea into a YA novel. Almira came about. She became more real over time, and I had to write about her.
LZR: We’ve discussed that we miss our characters when we’re done with a novel. Which character from BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. do you miss the most?
MS: When I was done I really missed the main character Almira. But I no longer miss her since I’m attempting a sequel. I’m having great fun with it.
LZR:: How long have you been writing?
MS: I started when I was young. I began writing poems and short stories when I was twelve. When I was seventeen I started my first novel and finished it at eighteen. So, I’ve been at this for what seems like forever.
LZR: What is your advice for aspiring authors?
MS: Never be discouraged by your early failures. BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. is not my first novel. My current agent is not my first agent. Acknowledge that your first (or even second, third, and fourth) unpublished manuscript was a great experiment that shaped you as a writer. If a relationship with an agent or editor doesn’t work out, tell yourself that you’ll build more sensible relationships in the future with stronger work.
Be on the lookout for Medeia’s novel next summer, dear readers! In the meantime, you can keep up with her by visiting her website: http://www.sharifwrites.com/
Medeia also has a book trailer for BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER., which I think is fantastic. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-WVZ_GHTsc