Self-described literary buff Azra Ali recently released her debut novel, and she is already working on more books.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the written word,” Ali said. “I knew that one day I would want to do my own book.”
Originally from Trinidad, Ali now lives in Jamaica. She has a background as an administrative assistant but said she has always loved plays, poetry and was interested in creative writing.
In February of 2009, Ali started writing Shadow of Men: Stories of the Real Women of NYC, which was released this past May. Ali said that she loves the “Sex and the City” series, but she said that “the women of New York are not all that kind of women.”
“I wanted to show that there’s a different side to women who live in New York,” she said.
Shadow of Men tells the story of different New York City women and the various problems they face, including abusive relationships and health problems. Queens plays a prominent role in the book, as the women travel along Queens Boulevard, go to Queens Center Mall and live in the borough.
“It’s a great feeling,” Ali said of having her first book published. “There’s no other feeling like it.”
Ali is already working on two more books. The first is a piece of fiction that draws on real life experiences. It is about someone “dealing with some horrible issues like divorce.”
“It’s really something that will kind of cover everything that a middle aged woman has to deal with in her life,” Ali said.
The other work is an autobiography that Ali describes as “an immigrant story” and hopes to finish this year. She said that her story has similarities to other immigrants who have been uprooted from their home countries.
“People come here from all over the world to make a better life for themselves,” Ali said. “I’d like to be able to tell that story.”
Ali’s literary future might also include a continuation of Shadow of Men. She said that it is supposed to be a series centered on the strength of the female spirit. Ali said that some friends and family have read the book and already want to know when part two will be out.
“They’ve been very, very excited,” she said of their reaction to the book.
Dealing with the strength of women will continue to be an important part of Ali’s writing. She said that the majority of women deal with whatever the world throws at them and have many things they have to deal with at the same time.
“The female spirit is such a resilient spirit. I think that’s what I want my work to show,” Ali said. “I would dedicate the rest of my life really to showing how strong the female spirit is.”
Shadow of Men: Stories of the Real Women of NYC is available through online booksellers and through Outskirts Press. Anyone wanting to purchase the book or share their comments with Ali can also contact her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.