Let me begin by saying that first I did an interview with Saima on her website which you can read at here. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with the interview but wasn’t surprised to see her wit, charm and talent resonate here. I had a blast and decided to return the favor. My questions are in a similar vein to hers and I was pleased with the result.
A couple of things: There is NO way, NO way, that epic battle would go down the way Saima describes. Street Fighter is such a superior game. (It’s my blog and what I say goes…here.)
You can find Saima at http://www.sksophia.com/. It’s a cool site. Her twitter handle is @sk_sophia. Follow her. Saima is already doing great things balancing her school life and writing ways, and I can only expect more things from her in the future.
That said, and I may be imagining things, but I think I earned Saima’s scorn demanding a picture…well…see for yourself…
(I don’t think she’s amused at me. She’s got that whatever look on her face for asking for a picture.)
Onto the questions!
Joshua Pantalleresco: If you were a crime fighter, how would the world know you? Give me a secret origin story.
Saima Sophia: I’m known as Katana, ‘cause when I strike I’m like a sword in the gut. I free run around the city, punishing people who deserve it because I had to watch my brother’s killer walk free. I also punch random people and pickpocket for fun. I’m a wanted criminal for many reasons. (I’m basically a character from Assassin’s Creed.)
JP: Describe for me the work(s) that inspired you to become a writer. Bonus points if you manage to do it in haiku form.
SS: Bonus points, eh? I am the shittiest at poetry, so I’ll pass the haiku. I grew up reading a lot of Goosebumps, but my favourite book was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I read books that made you face the scary stuff, followed up by books that let you escape the scary stuff. I wanted to make people feel the way these books made me feel. That’s what made me decide to turn my writing hobby into a career, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
JP: Give me one fact you haven’t told anybody. It could be anything about how you accidentally tried to kill that go kart operator when you were eight years old, or it could be something personal. Your call.
SS: How can you accidently try to kill someone? You were a little psychopath, weren’t you? I’m onto you, Josh. I have a hilarious fact but I’ve pretty much told everyone because of how hilarious it is. I’ll tell it to you. It’s bloody brilliant.
When I was eight I wanted a fringe, but my mum said no. So, I went into the bathroom, grabbed a pair of scissors and attempted to do it myself. I cut a little bit at a time to see how short I could make it without it being noticeable. I ended up cutting it too short, so I freaked the fuck out and cut off the whole fringe to make my hair flat again. I ended up having a patch of buzzed hair at the front. When my mum noticed the next day, she asked what happened. I told her I accidentally washed it with shower cream instead of shampoo and my hair had a chemical reaction and – wait for it – it fell off. She didn’t believe me. Obviously.
JP: What’s your favourite stuff to write?
SS: I like to write about stuff that’s screwed up and make it relatable. Instead of just telling you what the killer does, I’ll explore why they did it and what drove them to that point. What happened in their childhood? What mental illnesses do they suffer from? Are they a psychopath? If yes, then I’ll delve into the neuroscience of it. I’ve always been curious about how an adorable baby could grow up to become a killer. Everyone is capable, but not everyone is evil.
I’ve always been more empathetic than others. I understand things I’ve never been through. People tell me what happened to them and I tell them exactly what they felt. It’s useful for my stories because I can make the most fucked up things make sense. That’s my favourite stuff to write.
JP: I’m Vega from Street Fighter IV and I’m challenging you puny mortal kombatants for being an inferior fighting game. Give me his opponent and describe the epic rap battle (or regular battle).
SS: Vega? Pft. No problem. I choose Scorpion.
“Vengenace will be mine!” Scorpion taunts.
He teleports behind Vega and uses hellfire punch, sending him eight feet forward. He then throws out a rope with a tipped Kunai at the end, which impales itself into Vega’s back.
“Get over here!” he shouts, pulling the rope with Vega attached at the end.
He takes out his Ninjato with the other hand and stabs his opponent in the back. Then, he lets go of the rope, plunges his hand into Vega’s neck and rips his head off with the spine still attached.
Fade to black.
I totally didn’t steal that ending.
JP: Write about a tight ropewalk from the perspective of an elephant in three sentences.
SS: *elephant noises*
*louder elephant noises*
*even louder elephant noises*
You didn’t say it could talk. *Puts on sunglasses* *brushes dirt off shoulder*
JP: Tell me one outrageous thing you believe in. No justification required.
You did say outrageous, right?
JP: Which is better, Doctor Horrible or the Buffy Episode “Once More With Feeling?”
SS: This question is evil. Not cool, Joshua. Not cool. I choose Once More With Feeling, because I’ve seen that more times and it never gets old. Great, now Doctor Horrible is looking at me with puppy eyes.
JP: Consequently, how would you fix the SHIELD television series?
SS: How long do you have? Ha… On a serious note, AoS isn’t a bad show, it’s just not written specifically for older fans. I look at it as a family show. Actually, I look at everything that Marvel does recently as family focused, because that’s the target audience now. Kids are superhero fans as much as adults are, plus the whole Disney affiliation means there are a lot of things Marvel can’t do because of suitability.
I would fix the show by making it darker (much, much darker). I would definitely add more superheroes, fighting sequences, and classic Whedon black humour. The show has a long way to go, but I feel like it’s getting there. Slowly.
JP: What is the one thing you are most proud to have accomplished so far in life?
SS: Love of Mankind, my social enterprise. When I was eighteen, I had an epiphany. The world isn’t going to change itself. I started to promote voluntary work to young people, and I designed and ran skill development workshops in schools. The education system teaches us that English, Mathematics and Science are more respectable and important than creative subjects. So, I started going into schools to do arts and crafts, writing and confidence workshops. You know why? Because, fuck the norm. These children should be encouraged to be writers, artists and actors if they want to. Also, I was in the Financial Times in 2011. That was pretty epic.
JP: Any serial killers in that encyclopaedia of yours actually terrify you?
SS: Hell no, I’m fascinated by all of it. You’re talking to the girl who ran a horror & gore blog for two years, dedicated to everything terrifying!
JP: What’s more important to you, passion or security?
SS: Passion. If you asked me this two years ago I would’ve said security, but passion is everything. I’d choose short-term things that are epic, over long-term things that are nice.
JP: Have you lived where you are at your whole life? Regardless of the answer, tell me about your favourite place to go when you are not at university.
SS: I love coffee shops. I like sitting at a corner table with my laptop. If I’m not writing, I have a book. If I don’t have a book, I have a notepad and pen for doodling. I like watching people pass by the window and pretending to be a serial killer (just kidding, I don’t do that all the time).
JP: Describe your work.
SS: Fireworks. You light it and step back. Nothing happens. You go forward to check. Boom. It explodes in your face. I describe my work the same way I describe my personality.
JP: Anything else you want to add? This is your blank slate. Or it can be a song about your love of drunken horses. Your call.
SS: Not everyone is going to like you, and not everyone is going to like your work. Do it anyway. Don’t keep stopping. Your first draft is a brain dump. It’s always shit, even when it’s not. Keep working on it. Edit until it makes you feel something. If it affects you, it will affect your readers. Also, be yourself. I know that’s a boring quote, but it’s the best advice anyone can ever give you. Who cares if you’re weird or awkward? I’m weird and awkward, and you know what? Being openly weird and awkward has allowed me to attract other weird and awkward people. Now, I have weird and awkward friends. I can be myself with other people. That’s badass.