Untold Story #9 Talia Basma

The launch of (Her)oics grows near! Please consider coming to one of our events, starting with launch day, March 11 at Bookspiel, hosted by Regal House Publishing and West Coast Launch, March 13 in conjunction with indie bookstore, Book Passage. All events are on Zoom and free, but please register to receive the link. Talia herself will be reading March 26 at Pandemic Tales from around the table. We will share recipes from the contributors with all who “attend” the reading on Zoom!

Please pre-order you copy of (Her)oics here, to read Talia’s essay and 50 other diverse stories that are truthful, funny, poignant, and inspiring.

Talia Basma graduated from the University of California, Davis studying English with a concentration in both Creative Writing and Literature. She enjoys writing poetry and fiction influenced by society and personal realities. She has been published in the Huffington Post and self-published a small collection of poetry called Being.

Hi Talia, I loved reading and working with you on your piece, but I never asked you: what made you decide to write this piece?

I was part of a call about Muslims in creative spaces and one of the speakers mentioned that so many people miss out on the regular, day to day stories of Muslims. Western media loves focusing on our traumatic experiences, but I am obsessed with happy endings. This story wasn’t particularly happy, but I’m proud I made a relatable story about something a lot of Muslims probably experienced, but also something non-Muslims can relate to in some form. 

Can you share more about how that cultural or identity experience has changed or been a part of your pandemic experience?

Absolutely. I am a biracial Muslim woman and everything I write centers around this. My whole life has been about self discovery but also this respect for family dynamics. With that in mind, the pandemic became both easier and harder. Easier because I accepted that there were things in my control and those are the things I needed to focus on. Harder because I felt this responsibility to be the perfect daughter, sister, and Muslim when all I wanted to do some days was scream into a pillow from how inane people were about COVID.  

What do you miss most about pre-pandemic life?

The house being empty. I am a homebody. Sitting at home, reading or baking or literally just sitting with my thoughts are totally sufficient ways to pass time. With my younger brothers not at school and none of us being allowed out, I’m going a little stir-crazy without my scheduled alone time.   

I think we all are! Tell us, where do you see your writing going next? Any firm plans or upcoming publications?

As I mentioned, I really want more stories in the world that show happy, diverse characters. I have loved contemporary romance novels since forever, but its only recently that there have been romances with diverse characters and so my goal is to become an author that puts Muslim main characters in the forefront of romance and celebrates all our different stories.   

What would you say is the theme in your piece and how does it come through? Is that an ongoing theme in your work?

The theme in this particular short is loving life even in the mundane moments. I think it also has this idea of hope and just knowing that no matter how down one might feel in the moment, there are always ups just around the corner too. I guess those are ongoing themes in my work because I’m a romantic and I love a good happy ending. I always say that real life is sad and messy enough, so why shouldn’t books end on a happy note? 

Yes! I once heard on a podcast that just giving a person of color a happily ever after ending in our novels is radical. It really changed my perspective and made me proud to have done so in my own novels. Thanks for telling us a bit more about you, and for your essay.

Ways to reach Talia:

@taliibee IG & Twitter