Naz Meknat's upcoming debut memoir, 7000 Miles to Freedom, details her journey growing up amidst a political revolution in Iran; how she survived her abusive marriage, and ultimately fled her home country to build a better life in the United States as a Hollywood stylist.
Thank you for taking this interview with us Naz! Could you tell our audience about the author behind the book 7000 Miles to Freedom?
I am a Celebrity Wardrobe Stylist and now an Author, based in Los Angeles. I immigrated to the United States 24 years ago to be with my family and battled many obstacles to get to where I am. In this book, I share with the readers the hardships and the triumphs of my journey and what it took for me to flee my country overnight. Could you talk about the team that helped you along the way to finally getting the book published?
While I had the support and encouragement of my friends and family during the writing process, there was no team behind me. I mostly did all the writing and when I was done I hired an editor to help me clean it up a bit more. I found the publisher on my own and had a clear idea of what I wanted the cover art to look like. With all that being said, the most important thing is having the love and support of those close to you that keep you going. What does it mean to be an author?
Being an Author means being a storyteller. It means giving life to something that lives inside of you, it means finding the right words to communicate your message to your audience. I am a visual artist by trade. So I have always used visual elements to convey my message. With writing, I had to find the exact right words to transfer to the paper in a way that it could be translated to the reader clearly. There is a responsibility that comes with being an author, in my case as a non-fiction author that responsibility was to be completely honest and authentic and to share even the most painful details of my story. How long has this book been in the works?
It took about 4 years from the day I decided to write a book to the day it was released.
How did you come up with the title of the book?
I was thinking about my journey and how far I had to literally travel from my homeland Iran to the United States and although from Tehran to Los Angeles is just a little over 7000 miles, I decided to name the book 7000 Miles to Freedom to show how far I had to travel to find safety and freedom. Were there any challenges to starting to write?
Yes, Absolutely. There were many challenges writing the book. Even though I loved to write poems and essays in my teenage years, I have never done any professional writing, So this was a completely new territory for me. Also, English is my second language. I finished high school back in Iran before I moved here and yes I speak the English language fluently but writing a book is very different than speaking the language. And last, re-living all the trauma and all the horrible experiences you are trying to put behind you is no easy task. I am also a very private person, so to share your Entire life story with the world is extremely intimidating.
Were there any challenges to publishing the book?
Yes of course. Getting a publishing deal is not easy. Most publishers don’t even consider a writer without a book agent, And book agents are not easy to get, but I was lucky enough that my publishing house, Black Rose Writing, was intrigued by my book synopsis and proposal and wanted to publish my Memoir without me being represented by an agent.
Was there anyone or anything that inspired you to start this project? What about finishing it?
When the "ME TOO" movement happened, I was in awe of the victims' bravery and courage. It was very inspiring to me. So when I got asked to write about my life story, after initially declining it, I reconsidered and felt that it was the responsible thing to do, to share my own struggles and hurdles in life in hopes of inspiring anyone who needs a little encouragement, and I finally finished the book, in spite of some difficulties getting the words out, because I felt an obligation of getting my message out because there was a possibility it could help some one out there looking for a sign.
What has been your favorite part of being an author?
The healing process. For me, the writing was very therapeutic. Yes, I had many tearful days remembering all the events that had happened but it helped me process it all and it gave Me a new appreciation for my life at the present moment.
What does a day-to-day look like for you?
My days differ from day to day. I start my day with a quick meditation, then answering e-mails while having breakfast. If I have a client, or a project I am working on, I am usually running around town all day, pulling clothes from Fashion Houses and showrooms, going to my clients for fittings or running to the tailor to get things fixed. Some days I only work from home, reaching out to PR offices and fashion Houses for my clients' red carpet wardrobe needs and setting up appointments. These days however, I am doing a lot of interviews and podcasts for my book, so it’s busy around here.
Could you describe your writing style?
You have days that you’re full of words to put on paper and there are days and days that you can’t even get a simple word out. So for me, there was never really a style. I opened my laptop when I felt like I was ready to write and I would type until I had nothing more coming to me. Some days I didn’t write a single sentence because I didn’t know what to say or where to start. I finished all the chapters for the first draft before I did any editing. I like to pour it all on the paper and then go back and make changes. I did that at least 5 times.
What is the motto to your success?
Persistence. You have to be stubborn about your goals and dreams. Giving up is easy and we are all tempted at times to just let it all go. But if you are persistent and consistent in your effort, who's to say it won’t happen. What is the most important takeaway you want to give people about your book?
No matter where you are in life, if you just ask for help there is always someone out there willing to lend a helping hand. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Your current situation is not your life sentence. Life can change in a matter of minutes as it did for me, luck has nothing to do with it, courage and determination does. What is the most important takeaway you want to give people about yourself?
I was just a young girl with limited resources living in a country run by religious extremists. All I had was my dreams. I just wanted more for myself, I wanted to experience the life I dreamed about, I didn’t want to just dream, I wanted to have it, to live it. It doesn’t happen overnight but every day is another chance to keep at it and to work towards that goal. If I could get out of an unthinkable situation in a country with no rights for women, you can do it faster and easier with all the help and resources you have here.
How can our audience go support your book and learn more about YOU!
You can find me on:
Twitter @NazMeknat Or my website www.nazmeknat.com