Q and A with Omar Imady about his novel ‘Catfishing Caitlyn.’
Today sees the launch of Omar’s new novel which is already garnering 5-star reviews across the board and had won a Literary Titan Award.
For anyone wanting to delve deeper into Omar’s inspiration for the book, we have a Q and A with Omar and a video. Do you have a question about the book that we haven’t answered? Let us know!
Omar on ‘Catfishing Caitlyn’:
Q and A with Omar Imady (originally for Literary Titan)
‘Catfishing Caitlyn’ explores the thrilling journey of a brilliant yet aimless Ph.D. graduate who, while unraveling enigmatic historical riddles, inadvertently uncovers the hidden traumas of her own past. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?
The simplest answer is that I’m not really sure! The story arrives, so to speak, as is the case with almost all the stories I write, and I find myself rushing to put it to paper before it leaves me.
If I were to dig a little deeper though, I would confess that the exploration of historical archives has always captivated me. As a historian by training, I spent most of my university years with my nose in dusty pages (long before there were digital archives!), and I was constantly astounded by the gems I found hidden deep in the lines that filled the library shelves. I wondered how much of ourselves we might find if we only looked closely.
Caitlyn is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?
I grew up around strong and powerful women. My mother, my grandmother, my two sisters, and my seven aunts were all fascinating to observe and listen to, and essentially incredibly inspiring. What I love most about them is how indifferent these women were to how they were perceived by others. I grew up at a time and in a culture when this type of indifference was predominantly a male privilege. But in my family, it was the women who were eccentric and lived life entirely on their terms. I think I am constantly recreating these women in many different manifestations in my novels.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?
I am possessed by the idea that something, which is at times referred to as ‘God’, though I would rather not describe it in such terms, appears to be interacting with us — pulling us and pushing us, and ultimately communicating with us. In this novel, something is communicating with Caitlyn, and is doing so through the very object of her desire, namely, her love for history and research. She is lured into what appears to be a game of academic skill only to find herself unexpectedly confronting her own childhood trauma. In a similar manner, I have often found myself pulled towards certain destinations only for them to unfold in a manner very different to that which I’d anticipated, perpetually leaving me with the question: who is playing this game?
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next novel, Erasures, is scheduled to be published in October. I actually completed this book some time ago, along with several others that will follow it. It’s a post-apocalyptic story that focuses on the life of a man who works at one of the last libraries on earth. He is shocked one day to witness the disappearance of words from texts, sacred texts it turns out, first from digital versions but eventually from paper copies as well. It’s both a thriller as well as an exploration of the complexities of humanity’s spiritual past and future.