What is the story behind the title of your book?
Originally, Goodbye Freddie Mercury was a short story idea about a girl from a village in Pakistan writing a fan letter to Freddie Mercury, her connection to this star byond place, time, and culture. But once I started writing Bugsy and Nida, I realized that the title was really meant for them. It just made sense. Bugsy understood Freddie Mercury, he understood all that Freddie means and stands for as a celebrity and as a desi.
Name your all-time favorite song by Freddie Mercury.
Oh that’s difficult, there are so many amazing Queen songs. I think the one that I love best, though, the one that transcends, is You Don’t Fool Me. I made sure to incorporate it into the novel. It’s in the chapter where Bugsy drives Nida in his car. It’s a great metaphor for the politics of Pakistan. It’s a later song, constructed when he was sick, but it has all the classic elements and some new ones. It is a promise of what could have been.
Who is your favorite character from your book?
All of them are my favourites for their own reasons, it’s impossible to choose. I created them based on people that interest me—even Omer, if you can believe it. So I think I don’t have a favorite, but rather characters with diverse personalities who offer different things at different times.
If we have 2 hours to spend in Lahore- what is the ONE thing we have to do?
Lahore Fort in the Old City. It’s incredible. Along with that you’ll see the Badshahi Mosque, and eat the best food in the world.
Name the one person you would want as your neighbor?
Freddie Mercury (isn’t it obvious). I think he’d be tons of fun. And I could cuss at him in Urdu and he’d understand. I also love his vulnerability and his heart. I think he would have been a doll. In a lot of ways the novel is for him. Thanks Freddie.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
An eyeshadow palette. Urban Decay’s Naked2.
Coffee or tea? And how do you like to take it?
I like coffee in my ice cream and Bubbles in my tea.
Words you live by…
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” –Toni Morrison
The one destination you are currently crushing about?
Describe your book, Goodbye Freddie Mercury in one word.