Sonia Faruqi is the author of two books for adults: Project Animal Farm (2015), a work of investigative journalism about food and animal welfare, and The Oyster Thief (2018), a science fantasy novel featuring an underwater world. Her first book was a finalist for three awards and her second book was on The Globe and Mail’s list of best books of the year. Her work has been endorsed by Jodi Picoult and Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates. I had a good childhood, with loving parents and a brother and sister. My father was compassionate to animals, and that shaped my own compassion for animals. I started writing stories when I was nine; all of them featured animals.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I wish I would have realized that it is possible to multi-task effectively. I am continuing to work on that.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
In the field of writing, a bad recommendation is that it is about the idea. Yes, a good idea helps, but execution matters at least as much. This is true whether we are talking about a book or a movie or a business.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
In writing my first book Project Animal Farm, I visited animal farms in several countries to investigate the treatment of animals. I found that most farm animals are housed in long dark sheds called factory farms. Their conditions troubled me. I could have decided to stop visiting farms and go back to my regular life or to do something about what I was witnessing. I decided to do something—to write a book about and bring attention to farm animal conditions. As such, I came out of the dark period of visiting factory farms by creating action in the form of a book.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
I work hard and try my best! I also have a wonderful support network in the form of my husband, parents, siblings, and friends.
What is your morning routine?
Now that I have an infant, my morning routine has varied. Prior to my baby, I had more consistency. I would wake up at 6 am, shower, get dressed for the day, feed, and walk my dogs, have a light breakfast, then get to work by 9 am.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Journaling. I don’t journal regularly, but I do journal when there is something on my mind. Journaling helps me sort through my thoughts and make sense of them, as well as devise action steps.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
First things first. There are always more things to do than there is time to do. As such, it is important to prioritize and do what is most important first.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
I have been influenced by several books, including:
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, because the book includes profound truths about life and human existence.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, because the book merges philosophy and fiction beautifully.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie, because we can all benefit from less worrying and more living!
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
First things first, by Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Until thought is allied with purpose there can be no intelligent accomplishment, James Allen, in his essay As a Man Thinketh