Farah Naz Rishi: “I really wanted to write a book about finding hope when all feels lost”

5 Questions With...

Farah Naz Rishi
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[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Farah Naz Rishi and ask her five(ish) questions. Farah’s novel I Hope You Get This Message is out now!]

Aurora: What was your inspiration behind I Hope You Get This Message?

Farah: Simply put, I really wanted to write a book about finding hope when all feels lost. How does one find the strength or will to keep moving forward when it feels like the world is falling apart around you? I don’t know anyone who hasn’t felt that level of helplessness at one point in their life–and given the state of the world right now, I think there’s this awful, general feeling of helplessness that has completely permeated the zeitgeist. But what exactly do you say to someone who’s lost hope, or worse, lost the point of…anything? And what do you tell yourself? This book is my attempt to find an answer.

What character do you most relate to and why?

Definitely Adeem. He just really wants to hide from the world and play video games to drown out all his fears, and I get that on a spiritual level. Life would be easier that way, wouldn’t it? If only. 

Why do you feel books with powerful and relatable characters are so popular and have such a voice right now?

In the U.S., depression is on the rise, especially among teens, and a lot of teens don’t have access to medical help. Sometimes books are the easiest way to not, at the very least, feel so alone, and to explore darker emotions in a safe space through characters that can act as a proxy. So now, maybe more than ever, we need loud and powerful voices to scream at us above all the noise. We need characters that feel like they’re shouting to get your attention from across a crowded room, to tell you that they’re there and that they see you. I think that’s why teens gravitate to these kinds of characters, and why adults keep coming back to them. 

Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.

In I Hope You Get This Message, Earth is deemed a failed experiment by its hyper-intelligent alien creators, who are now deliberating whether or not to terminate the planet’s inhabitants. But scientists back on Earth catch wind of these deliberations, and realize that humanity may only have seven more days of existence. The story follows three very different teenagers–Jesse, Cate, and Adeem–as they face what could be their final days. days. My sincere hope is that this book will force readers to confront feelings of helplessness, of abandonment, and of loss through Jesse, Cate, and Adeem. It might hurt, but I also hope, by the end, the book will put them back together again.

What’s next for you in the book world?

I’m grateful to say that I’m writing more books, and across various genres. All I can say about my next one right now is that there will be more romance. 🙂

Who is your favorite writer right now and why?

R.F. Kuang! Her stories always emotionally resonate with me, and she knows exactly how to wreck her readers in the worst–and best–of ways. That’s Writer Goals right there. 

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