About Aliyyah :
Aliyyah Eniath was born in Trinidad and Tobago; her ancestors hailed from Uttar Pradesh, India. She’s a director at Safari Publications, a magazine publishing house, and founder/editor-in-chief of Belle Weddings (Caribbean) magazine.
Her debut novel The Yard (literary, romance) is published by Speaking Tiger Books in both paperback and ebook formats.
She explores the ideas of breaking free from imposed boundaries (familial or otherwise), understanding and feeling supported in who you are, overcoming self doubt, and finally being true to yourself. Her writing looks at strict religious ideologies and their potential consequences and begs for a softer approach and innate understanding and compassion towards every human being.
She writes from the perspective of East Indians whose forefathers were brought to Trinidad from India through the British colonial indentureship scheme in 1845.
MerryBrains is proud to feature this multi-talented Author here. ‘The Yard’ is her debut novel and is one of the must haves in your library this year.
1. Your debut novel ‘The Yard’ is a literary romance, which talks about strict religious practices. Tell us more about your book.
The Yard is firstly a love story. An abandoned boy is brought lo live with an extended and devout family, and becomes entangled with his guardian’s willful and rebellious daughter.
The characters live in one large familial compound, The Yard, and there’s a certain level of in fighting and jealousies. There is a sense of how family and religious obligations impact the lives of the two youngsters.
2. There are many books in the market which talks about eradicating strict religious practices which hampers individual freedom. What is so unique about your novel ‘The Yard’?
I don’t think The Yard talks about eradicating strict religious practices per se. It simply tells a tale of two young people in love, and dealing with religious and family obligations and that threatening cloud of Islamic extremism.
What makes the novel unique? Well, this tale of young love and family obligations manages not to be tragic. It’s also set in Trinidad, based on the lives of East Indians whose forefathers came from India in the 1900’s – and while the family keeps some links with Indian culture, they have adapted to this new land.
3. You have been ‘editor in chief’ for various magazines and also the director of ‘Safari Publications’. How do you multitask?
With a lots of help! I have great support from family and friends. I try to stay organized. Prioritizing the most important tasks to get done first thing on mornings.
4. What were your some of your biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
I thought my book was going to be an immediate success, and get signed with a great literary agent right away. I didn’t realize that every new novelist thinks the same. Then, there was the sobering reality of querying agents or publishers all around the world, without feedback. However, it was different in India. Most of the agents got back, and some read the book and were pleased.
The best thing I did for the book, early on, was to find another respected novelist to give feedback. I would suggest that at least two editors preview a script before it’s submitted to agents/publishers.
5. What was the timeframe for writing this book?
I started writing the first chapters in 2009, and finished in 2013. During this time I did a few revisions based on advice from editors.
6. What’s next in your writing plate?
I love writing literary romances. But right now, I’m focusing on getting The Yard out there, and awaiting my next big inspiration.
7. Do you watch Bollywood? Whom do you think would be the best suited for your main characters Behrooz and Maya?
Yes, I do watch Bollywood movies at times. However, we’re not as exposed to them here in the Caribbean, and would probably be offered select shows every so often at the cinemas.
Nonetheless, I’m a huge fan of Shah Rukh Khan, because he’s a great actor and a great human being – I admire his philanthropic works, the way he addresses social inequalities and human injustices on and off screen. He’s also spoken up for Islam in the Western media, as a religion of peace, despite the tyrannical groups in the world who portray differently.
My novel also examines such issues — the religious and cultural beliefs of the extended family it portrays, and how that impacts the two youngsters, Maya and Behrooz. Truth be told, I would love to see SRK play the father figure in The Yard, Khalid – the man who must ultimately decide whether he wants to take in Behrooz against the wishes of his family, and who eventually deals with the consequences of his actions as his children grow older.
8. I loved the cover of this book. It’s very impressive. Tell us more about the cover design and the inspiration behind?
My editor at Speaking Tiger shared some initial thoughts on the cover. She said, “I want Trinidad.” I immediately envisioned a young girl walking through the Bamboo Cathedral in Trinidad, where the cover was shot. This location in the north-west features a 300 metre stretch of roadway where the bamboo stalks bend towards each other above the road. Their tops form arcs reminiscent of those found in cathedrals. On the day we shot, the morning sunlight filtered through the bamboo creating a beautiful display. A friend’s daughter was the cover model, and the image was captured by one of Trinidad’s best photographers, Antony Scully.
We are currently reading the book ‘The Yard’ – The first look says it doesn’t look like a debut book at all. The writing style is truely unique. Watch this space for more.
If you want to purchase the book ‘The Yard’ :
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