Tell us about your foray into writing. How did it begin for you? I have around 5+ years of professional experience in writing, a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a Master’s degree in Strategic Communications. I was also a freelance op-ed columnist for a Pakistani newspaper. This is the first children’s book I’ve worked on. I already enjoy writing, but wanted to do something different this time. I wanted to create a story from scratch and write something fun for kids. Why did you choose to write a children’s book to start off?Writing a children’s book has been on my bucket list for a while. I like the idea of trying to teach children important lessons in words they understand. It’s also exciting for children to watch a story come to life through colourful illustrations. As a child, I was fascinated with colourful picture books. Tehreem Iqbal illustrated the book, and she successfully managed the whirlpool of ideas I had in my head. I sent her a tonne of samples of what I had in mind for the book’s illustrations. For example, I wanted to use Vincent Van Gogh’s swirly skies as a reference for the clouds in the book, because I’m a big fan of his paintings. She did a fantastic job incorporating the whimsical and colourful imagery I was aiming for. What are you currently working on? Are you taking your passion for writing forward by working on another book?Don’t have any books in the pipeline yet, just working on growing my news start-up. I might turn Leena’s Pouncy Puppy into a series, but that won’t be in the near future. The book is available on Amazon, but not being sold in Pakistan yet. People can go to @leenaspouncypuppy on Instagram to learn more and place orders. I’m looking for ways to make the book available online in Pakistan. Also, I can only take orders in Lahore at this stage. ‘Tehreem Iqbal illustrated the book and she successfully managed the whirlpool of ideas I had in my head. I sent her a tonne of samples of what I had in mind for the book’s illustrations. For example, I wanted to use Vincent Van Gogh’s swirly skies as a reference for the clouds in the book, because I’m a big fan of his paintings. She did a fantastic job incorporating the whimsical and colourful imagery I was aiming for’Growing up, who were some of the authors whose books you loved reading both as a child and later as an adult?According to my mom, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown was my favourite bedtime story when I was a toddler. That book actually inspired me to write Leena’s Pouncy Puppy in rhyming verse. Rhymes are not only fun to read, but also soothing to hear while falling asleep. Honestly, I could still read Goodnight Moon to myself and fall asleep. Other favourite childhood authors include, Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Ann M Martin Gertrude Chandler Warner, RL Stine, Carolyn Keene and JK Rowling. As an adult, some favourite authors who come to mind are Dan Brown, James Patterson, Paula Hawkins, Khaled Hosseini, Ayn Rand, Harper Lee, Amor Towles, Mohsin Hamid, Paulo Coelho, Mitch Albom, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.How impactful do you think books can be in the growth and mental development of a child?I think reading plays an important role in broadening a child’s vocabulary, spelling, speaking abilities and imagination.What messages does Leena’s Pouncy Puppy convey to children who read it? Do you believe in writing only message-oriented books?I do believe in writing message-oriented books. The main character, Leena, captures the spirit of a hard-working and creative girl with big dreams. Leena’s Pouncy Puppy encourages children to view school and learning as fun activities. The book also aims to teach children about responsibility. Leena represents the importance of responsibility, because she is committed to taking care of her puppy, Leo. I also wanted Leena to be Pakistani, because I haven’t come across enough children’s books that highlight Pakistani girls who are eager to learn, read and pursue careers.What have been some messages you derived from books you grew up reading as a child?Help others. Be Kind. Work hard. Don’t give up. Be brave.