Creating an Islamic-American Culture
American Muslim authors must constantly navigate issues of content when developing plots for their novels. Prolific Muslim author Papatia Feauxzar includes a variety of explicit content in her novels, which generated a spectrum of responses from Muslim readers. While some Muslim readers take exception to the intimate scenes in Feauxzar’s novels, others embrace the love stories, and the author is gaining a following. Feauxar shared her motivations for writing steamy Muslim romance, her new book The Ducktrinors: Hanifa (Jihad Series Book 1) , and her experiences as an indie author with NbA Muslims.
What are the major themes of your novels?
The main theme in my novels is romance (love) and Islam. I also write contemporary women and young adult alhamdullilah.
Some of your novels contain erotica; why do you choose to include sexual love scenes?
I include sexual love scenes in my novels to entertain readers that enjoy sultry reads and agree that Muslim fiction in all genres is underrepresented. I also write about them because they can help novices know some moves behind closed doors. Sex is divine people! It elevates the soul. I came across a woman from Medinah in my readings called Hubayy. She was known to give tips to men and women alike about sexual positions and ethics. Even her own son sought her advice, and she gladly and expertly answered him!
What types of responses have you received from Muslim readers?
Many of my readers are closeted, but the ones who speak up appreciate it because either they are shy to discuss these things with other people or they are uncomfortable at the erotic edge that is very unfamiliar to them. Muslims are not above carnal love; though it baffles me at times, I respect their positions. Some people also will tell me, “Oh I know what you write and we’re grown folks,” but when they start reading, they can’t finish because I shocked them even if, in my opinion, I think I’m very subtle.
How important do you think having healthy sexual dialogue is to a marriage? What are some of the things a wife and husband should discuss?
Oh, having a healthy sexual dialogue is everything in a marriage. A sexless marriage stresses and strains a couple in ways unimaginable. Depression, anger, divorce, and/ or different haram outlets to satisfy the itch will start to flood the minds of such a couple. Every couple should discuss their fantasies and what they yearn for to make sex enjoyable. They should be opened about their needs and wants; otherwise, they will seek the help of those who will satisfy these needs outside the halal boundaries because sex can become a madness if not given proper care and attention.
What role do you think fiction may have in relating societal issues?
Fiction addresses societal issues without revealing actual secrets or putting anybody on the spot. It’s the truth in a lie like they say.
Do you think Muslim fiction writers are important to conveying Muslim culture to non-Muslims? Why?
Yes, we as Muslim writers are very important in conveying Muslim culture. A non-Muslim cannot write our stories 100% accurately because they will lack the emotions we experience. Their bias will also show somehow. It’s inevitable.
What has been your experience in having your novels published? Do you think the publishing world is receptive to Muslim writers?
My experience with publishing my novels has been challenging. Editing is costly and time-consuming. Print houses can be annoying as they delay and reject your files on a whim. The publishing business is also a little rigged, to be honest. Many people buy their way to best seller status (book read or not). I want an educated ummah and I want people to really and actually read my stories. The publishing world has started to be receptive to Muslim writers because we bring a fresh angle to the status quo. Our stories are different and need to be told. Moreover, I see many independent publishers accepting Muslim writers. We’re a hot flavor right now alhamdullilah.
Can readers expect more SVP erotica in the future?
Most definitely. I feel like the stories of Nilüfer, Nellie and Lindsay are begging to be told in great details insha’Allah.
Can you tell us a little about your latest novel?
The Ducktrinors is a young adult book that came to me in a dream actually. I dreamt a sadistic bully and party animal wanted me to kneel to him like he was a god while I was out with friends I have never met. I stood up to him and the crowd was impressed. And this is how Hanifa and Sylas, the protagonist and antagonist, in this story were born.
What advice would you like to give to new writers?
Don’t be discouraged when editors and other writers tear and pick your story apart. See it as one less bad review when your story goes live. Always believe you can do better and continue honing your craft. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just be glad you’re learning from those mistakes. Aim for entertaining stories. Don’t just focus on penning the perfect manuscript. If it’s boring, people will point it out. Humour people while aiming to write better because let’s face it, writing is always a different beast every time you try your hand at it.
Jazakallah for sharing Papatia!
Feauxzar is a wife and a mother of one energetic boy. She’s a flower lover and a hopeless romantic basking under her blessings in Dallas, Texas alhamdullilah.
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