Author Interview: Elika Ansari

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  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi, I’m Elika; writer, social scientist and humanitarian worker.  In recent years, I have been working in refugee camps across Greece, and trying to get my debut children’s fantasy book, ‘Seacity Rising: A Tale of Unwatery Adventures’ published (which I did, hurrah!).

I am of Iranian origin, and I have lived in over 10 countries worldwide, so I have a bit of a hard time telling you where my base or home is. Currently, (at this very moment) I am staying with my family in Dubai.


  1. What makes ‘Seacity Rising’ unique for readers?

It is a humorous adventure story for kids with talking animals, but at the same time it touches on globally relevant issues that future generations should be familiar with, including environmental degradation and displacement of populations.


  1. How did you choose the genre you write in?

I have basically been fascinated by children’s books, since I was, well, a child. But my fascination never died; even as an adult, I am always more drawn to children’s literature as I find them to be more imaginative in a way. Also, I love personifying animals. I do this on a daily basis – something I am not sure I should be admitting, actually-  so writing children’s fantasy comes more naturally to me.


  1. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

I don’t believe that even the highest of high fantasies is ‘pure’ imagination. Everything is based on something, even a book about a talking frog, turtles and goldfish.

One example is the character of Babak the frog, who is the only frog in Seacity pond. That sort of resonates with me being one of the only Iranian kids I knew when I was growing up in Spain.


  1. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Hmm that’s a tough one. I guess it would have to be Chapter 6, ‘Lights, Cameras,…Mice!’ In this chapter, the Seacitians are stopped mid-track when walking through fields of tall weeds by an invisible force, sticking a small sword out at Babak’s neck, uttering the words, “You may go no further, traveller.” But what initially seems like a threat turns out to be a group of endearing travelling mice actors, who then invite the gang to watch their debut performance, ‘The Tale of Anoki and Anaba’. I loved writing this chapter because it described the Seacitians’ first ever encounter with the concept of the dramatic arts, something new and strange, but something they all came to love instantly. Basically, it is a chapter about first-time cultural experiences, and one that I’d had in my mind for the longest time, so it felt good to type it out at last.


  1. What did you edit out of this book?”

There used to be a wise and loony toad in Seacity, called Toad Olaf, who Babak the frog would often go to for advice. I edited him out to add a bit more mystery to the story when Babak discovers the hidden prophecy. I felt that with Toad Olaf in it, he could just try to get most of his answers from him and where would be the fun in that?


  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

It was very hard to come up with a way to personify climate change, because in a sense, climate change is often referred to as a gradual, long-term process. But I wanted to capture the urgency of it, so I needed to come up with a destructive force that would suddenly hit wherever it wanted, whenever it wanted to. In a way, I believe this description of climate change is more useful for policy makers than the definition we use currently, which just basically invites them to gloss it over.


  1. What is your favorite childhood book?

Lewis Caroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is one of my all-time favourites, but I came upon the book as an adult, so I am not sure that counts, because I was better equipped to properly appreciate its quirks and depth.

One of my favourite books as a kid though was Wilma’s Wicked Revenge by Kaye Umansky. It is about a girl who is training to be a wicked queen like her mother and sisters, but she is not very good at it. I remember reaching the last 10 pages of the book and basically refusing to read on because I didn’t want the story to end!


  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Too many to count. All of them are in the Middle Grade and Young Adult genres, and a vast majority of them include talking animals, in one way or another.


  1. Does your family support your career as a writer?

My family has been nothing but supportive of my writing, ever since I was young. And I couldn’t be more grateful for their help, especially now after the publication of my debut book.


  1. Links to social media accounts?

Link to book:


Facebook page:


Instagram page:


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