Ahmad is from the Middle East, the world of 'to be or not to be,' where the third way, democracy, isn't for mankind—at least for now it isn't.
He is a graduate of the Art University in Tehran. He have worked for many newspapers in Iran.
Your book is very unique. How did you come up with the idea for the book's structure?
AA: First, thank you so much for the featuring me and Math City on this site...I really appreciate it. Well, I live in the Middle East where mathematics is as important as it was in ancient Greece. I have been interested in mathematics, too, and I have a diploma in Mathematics.
I have always enjoyed playing with numbers and mathematical symbols in my mind; I drowned in mathematics but, of course, I didn’t die. Instead, slowly numbers and mathematical symbols have come to life as characters in my mind such as Mr. Six, Lady Thirteen, the Lying Line (minus) and Mr. Broken Line (from my next book). With them and a little interest in writing I could write some short stories which have a mathematics structure.
What inspired you to write this book?
AA: Now, you know I live in the Middle East. Although mathematics is important in the Middle East, philosophy unfortunately isn’t. Instead, religion is very important and we know most religions were born in the Middle East. Unfortunately, after thousands of years, these religions have not yet reached a compromise. Now you can see this chaotic situation in the Middle East. Well, I have grown amid the commotion of the wars, too. I thought I could write about these wars and the culture of the Middle East’s people in fantasy style, like in Animal Farm by George Orwell, in the world of mathematical symbols like Poor Zero, Ms. Fifty Thousand, Mr. Upward Lying Line (plus). I think fantasy is a major influence on the people. In fantasy, you never have to point out or criticize anybody or any certain culture. I never like to point at a certain culture because all cultures have some strong points and some weak. Therefore, through fantasy, we can challenge cultures to reach peace.
What was the feedback like to Math City?
AA: I think the feedback to Math City is good. For example, Math City was reviewed by Mr. Grady Harp who belongs to the group of Amazon's, Top 50 Reviewervine. For example, he wrote, “In Math City he has introduced a significant and unique style that bodes well for his success on the international market. There are many who would begin this book and not have the patience to stay with it through to the end, but those readers would be missing a very well-crafted story that creates a fantasy with so many overtones of metaphor that reading it is like studying the policies of Middle Eastern culture in a most entertaining way.”
Akeith Walters wrote on Smashwords, “Math City is reminiscent of Jonathan Swift who wrote Gulliver's Travels. I think you've done well with the characters and the structure of the story line. In a way, it is enlightening, at least for me. It presents a new insight into a way of life and an area of the world that is not readily known to many people.”
V.Cano wrote on Amazon, “This was a completely original story that had surprised pretty much on every page. Although it might not be for everyone, people who like quirky books will enjoy it.
All the characters in this book were numbers. The smaller the number the less important the character was, and vice versa. I thought this was a clever way of showing us who was who. Although we don't really get to know the characters too much, we still get to know the Lying Line and a few others.
The story can be read on many different levels. You can be as literal as you want with it and it still reads as a fun story, but you can also dig into the meaning behind the archetypal numbers and see our real-world truths represented in Math City. We see many of our struggles in the trials the Lying Line has to go through, which endears it to us.
This is an amusing book, with light doses of humor and with a strong message behind its simple story. I recommend it to those of you who like allegorical and quirky stories.”
Of course, many people told me that they had liked Math City or that it's great via e-mail. I hope readers enjoy Math City.
What has been the most exciting part of your publishing experience?
AA: For me, a presence on the global publishing scene is so exciting where I am known by many friends and book lovers like Simone Da Costa. I enjoy this world.
Did you encounter any difficulty in publishing Math City?
AA: Yes. Although I have enjoyed being on the global publishing scene, it is so hard to find a publisher in the beginning. I say, it's too hard but super enjoyable.
Who are some of the people who have influenced your writing life?
AA: Indeed, many people have influenced my writing life. Like George Orwell, William Faulkner, Gabriel García Márquez, Albert Camus, Anton Chekhov and Friedrich Nietzsche. And of course my teacher, Farshad Walizadeh, in high school, who threw me into the world of literature.
Any words of wisdom for writers who want to pursue a career in writing?
AA: Only that you read and read and write. I hope you enjoy Math City.