Meet the Author: Anne by Zarina Macha

Today we welcome Zarina Macha as we travel to North London to learn how cats, swimming and empathy come together to form the beat of Zarina’s life. Grab your dancin’ shoes … Let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hey there! I am a musician, author and blogger born and raised in North London, UK. Studied Songwriting and Creative Artistry at uni and front a funk-rock trio band called ‘Zarina and The Elements’ with an EP titled ‘Fire’ out on digital music platforms. I’m currently focusing on my writing: have published two books and have a third just out yesterday – “Anne”!

In which genre do you write?

Contemporary YA and poetry.

My first book, ‘Every Last Psycho: A Collection of Two Novellas’ is dark upper-young-adult fiction.

My second, ‘Art is a Waste of Time’ is a collection of poems I published as a nice subsidiary to my fiction (turned out to be a good investment as I didn’t pay to get my poems edited unlike my fiction, and sell them a lot at poetry events!)

The third, ‘Anne’, is coming-of-age YA.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

God, I can’t remember. My parents say I always loved to write little notes and stories from when I could use a pen. My mum bought me a diary at the age of six, and my dad is a writer and columnist for a major newspaper in Tanzania, so it runs in the blood.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

Cats have always been my favourite animal, and I feel very similar to them: I love to sleep, tend to stare and drift off into space a lot, fuss a lot over grooming and personal hygiene, and I’m a natural ‘loner’, flitting in-and-out of social groups. So yeah, cats are now and always my spirit animal.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I love to swim. Try and go at least once a week in my local outdoor swimming pool; is very refreshing and always makes me feel great. I read a lot of course; I’m not a super-fast reader; my yearly average is 20-30 books per year. Also watch a lot of movies and TV shows, they give me inspiration. And playing my guitar and listening to music, naturally – great way to unwind.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Stephen King is a massive literary inspiration for me, and just seems like an overall cool and funny guy. Would be nice to just chat to him about the writing process and the overwhelming desire to push out loads of stories. He’s super prolific and very experienced so I think I would gain a lot from talking to him.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking?

Probably ‘Rock the Boat’ by Aaliyah; it’s very soothing and mellow and always takes me to a place of tranquillity. It’s a simple song but has a nice consistent beat; it’s not a ‘great’ song by any means, it’s not musically complex or even that interesting, which is exactly why it helps to calm me down.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Totally Spies was one of my favourite shows as a kid and I still love it now and occasionally watch episodes on YouTube. I would love to join Clover, Sam and Alexas a fourth spy and go have crazy adventures with them donning glamorous gadgets. I love that they’re badass but also pretty and girly at the same time; shows you can be feminine and powerful!

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Not a movie but THE LAST EPISODE OF GAME OF THRONES; you’ve probably seen the stuff circulating online about it. I loved it and it’s had an enormous impact on me as a writer and as a person, the way it’s shaped my worldview and strengthened my love for stories even more. I adored the episode and cried; thought it the perfect end to the series.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Yes. I think things happen as a way either to test us, challenge us or highlight the best of ourselves. I had a drinking problem a few years ago and having come out of it, I’ve gained lots of resilience and emotional strength since dealing with it and learned I’m a lot stronger and more level-headed than I give myself credit for. I’ve learned to handle myself better through my recovery program and accept that we’re all part of a greater sense of oneness and being, and that everything that happens in our lives teaches us something.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Regarding my creative work, the fact that I have a strong work ethic and determination has been very useful. When I’m passionate about a project I see it through and give it all my attention, which has helped me to achieve a lot in a short space of time.

Having a lot of empathy for others is also important; when I was at uni we were told that the most important trait in the music/arts business is to be a good person and get along well with people. No one does everything alone and how you treat those you work with does make a big difference. If you’re reliable, straightforward and polite, it makes doing business that much easier. I firmly believe in mutual support; you help me, I’ll help you.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

My coming-of-age novel ‘Anne’ came out on June 3rd .

It’s available in ebook and paperback format.

Thanks for stopping by Meeting the Authors Zarina! It was wonderful to learn more about you and your world.

Learn more about Zarina and where to purchase the book:

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Book Love: Lily and Dunkin

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

What a great story! I’m having a difficult time finding juvenile fiction books that cover mental health. This was a beautifully written story. I loved learning about each of these characters and feeling the strength and courage of Lily.

The hard parts were hard to feel; but once I got over half way into the book, I could not put it down. Much kindness, strength and love. Dunkin has bipolar disorder and at thirteen is the new kid in the neighborhood and at school. Lily is a girl born into a boys body and one who gets bullied at school.

Book Blurb: Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade.

Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse.

One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.

US Amazon Link:

UK Amazon Link: