By Manijeh Badiozamani
This is how it began.
Fascinated by my own childhood and upbringing in grandpa’s big house in Tehran, I started writing my memories of quirky relatives, family events, and the old house which was located near the Grand Bazaar. I wrote down the stories for years, and kept them in a file. I never shared them with anyone.
When I was teaching in Colorado, one of my colleagues, Dr. Josie Mills, developed and offered an interesting course titled “Publishing Your Work.” I signed up for her course – fourteen of us were in that class.
It was in this class that we were encouraged to send in our stories to various publications. I picked an online publication called “WeirdYear” and sent in one of my stories. It was about my childhood memory of a broken carousel I never got to ride. Lo and behold they published it right away. It was thirteen years ago.
Encouraged by this initial success, and equipped with basic knowledge of the publishing process, I kept sending in my stories to other online magazines – some owned by women. Again, the stories were published.
The second phase was when a few of my friends formed a critique group and we shared our writings. My stories were really intended for my grandchildren, should they become interested in my life and upbringing someday. My friends encouraged me to publish a book. They reasoned the stories were not just for my grandkids, but they had larger cultural implications. This idea was put on the backburner as we got busy and moved to Florida in 2017.
After settling in The Villages, I signed up for a writing class at the Academy, offered by John Prince. The knowledge of the publishing process I had learned eight years earlier came rushing back and I decided to act on it. Cover design, interior design, editing, getting ISBN and LCCN numbers, and a myriad of other details that go into publishing a book sent me looking for a publisher. Enter Hallard Press.
Since 2019 I’ve had three books published by them, and I always encourage my readers to read them in this order:
- Family Tales from Tehran. A Collection of short stories about my upbringing in Iran.
- A Year in Middle America. A book in epistolary format about my adventures as an exchange student in Ohio at the age of 17.
- One Summer in My Life. A chronicle, in short stories, of my life in the U.S. giving the readers a glimpse of life lived in two cultures, rich in friends, ventures, and love.
All three books are available on Amazon.