Javid – call him Jay – is a dope dealer living in West London. He goes to mosque on Friday, and he’s just bought his pride and joy – a BMW. He lives with his mum, and life seems sweet.
But his world is about to turn upside-down. Because MI5 have been watching him, and they think he’s just the man they need for a delicate mission.
One thing’s for sure: now he’s a long way East of Hounslow, Jay’s life will never be the same again.
With the edgy humour of Four Lions and the pulse-racing tension of Nomad, East of Hounslow is the first in a series of thriller starring Jay Qasim.
Born in Karachi and raised in West London, Khurrum Rahman now lives in Berkshire with his wife and two sons. His love for films and books influenced him to start writing. A hobby at first quickly became a passion. He spent any spare time in between a full-time job and being a hands-on parent to write stories inspired by his favourite screenwriters and authors.
Khurrum has written a movie screenplay which was acquired by a Danish Film Producer, but he is now concentrating on writing novels. He is currently working on his second book which will be a direct sequel to East of Hounslow, and hopes to complete the trilogy.
- What book first ignited your love of reading?
From an early age I’ve always loved reading, I remember fondly the adventures of Bobby Brewster by H.E. Todd. But as soon as I hit 13 or 14 and discovered all the crazy and curiosity that comes with being a teenager, books seemed to take a back seat, in another car, heading in the opposite direction. My reading material then comprised solely of magazines, from Shoot to Empire Magazine and a couple I won’t mention. It stayed that way until I got into my late twenties where a friend slapped a book into my hand and exclaimed, ‘You have to read this!’ It wasn’t that great to entice such enthusiasm, but just having a book in my hand again and getting lost in story reignited my love for reading. I was bitten. Soon after I bought a second hand wooden carved book-shelf and then I started to fill it up.
- If your current book had a theme song, what would it be and why?
Picture me Rollin’ – 2Pac
My book is set in Hounslow and you cannot walk through Hounslow without somebody pumping out either 2pac or The Notorious B.I.G from their car, or their Mum’s car! Twenty years or so after their death, the music is still relevant. Hounslow doesn’t forget.
My protagonist, Javid Qasim is in that mould. He embodies the attitude of the Hip Hop movement in that era. Throughout my writing process I had on heavy rotation that very music, which I hadn’t heard in a long time and it helped me greatly to write and develop Jay’s voice.
- Which book have you read more than once?
‘The Farm’ by Tom Rob Smith. A psychological thriller set partly in London and partly in rural Sweden. It wasn’t my intention to read it again, but I’m not great at remembering names of books and I ended up loaning it from the library for a second time. I knew immediately after reading the first few pages that I’d previously read it, but I just could not put it down. In-fact, it was better the second time around. Apart from ‘The Farm,’ which was a happy accident, I don’t tend to read books more than once. The only other I would say is the brilliant ‘Catcher in the Rye’ by JD Salinger which I pick up every five years or so and each time it means something different to me.
- Do you plan your writing or go with the flow?
I should really work harder on plot and structure before I start. I do to an extent, I have a concrete start and end and rarely veer away from that, but the middle I have fun discovering and developing. I tend to put in a lot more effort on the character and seeing where it takes me.
- Do you enjoy the editing process?
I hope my editor is not reading this… The first time that I received editorial notes I may have kicked the nearest plant pot. But a second and third read of the notes I quickly realised that each point made was valid and as a result, I have a book that I am proud of. A book that I would want to read.
- If you could what advice would you give your sixteen year old self?
Oh, lots. I’d sit myself down and give myself a proper lecture, to the extent of patronising. – You’re not nearly as cool as you think you are – Never tuck your sweater into your jeans. It’s really not a good look. – Exams, as important as they are, are not the be all and end all. Things work out. There are always other options. – Being socially awkward is not necessarily a bad thing. – And finally, be more creative with your hair while you still have it.
- Do you read your book reviews?
Yes. I mean… Yes! I’m a writer, I need constant recognition and validation. With my debut novel, East of Hounslow, the reviews have been very good so far. I’ve had one bad review. The reviewer is currently being tracked down.
- What is your opinion on social media and it’s unique gift of connecting writer and reader instantly?
I add/follow all my favourite writers across social media. It’s really how I got my break. I managed to convince Stephen Leather, on Facebook, to read a very early piece of writing, hoping, at best, that he would give me some advice. As it turned out, it impressed him enough to forward it to his Agent. Who then became my Agent! And now I’m here, talking with the lovely readers of Love Books Group. It’s weird how things turn out. But, no question, Social Media had a huge part to play.
- If you could give one literary villain a happier ending, who would you pick and why?
Professor P from the Captain Underpants series, by Dav Pilkey. The Professor just about had enough of everyone laughing at him and he wanted to rid the world of laughter. I was rooting for him throughout. I hope he makes another appearance.
It’s a children’s book, as you may have guessed from the title, but a very enjoyable read for grown-ups, too. If I can I just add, I read this to my son, in case you’re wondering my choice of reading material.
- If your book could come with a preemptive message for the reader, what would yours say?
Parental guidance. Explicit Lyrics.
- What are you currently reading?
A full time job, two young kids wanting a piece of me, and a book to write, I am struggling to fit in a shower let alone a book. The last book that I read was the excellent ‘The Couple Next Door’ by Shari Lapena. I’ve just ordered ‘Behind Closed Doors’ by B A Paris. Very much looking forward to reading that. Just have to find time!
- Where did you get the inspiration for your current novel?
I’m a big film lover, especially from the 90’s, which I think was by far the greatest decade of cinema. I wanted to write a book that moves like a film, quick and visual, with a great character that the reader would not forget. I think I have achieved that with East of Hounslow and its anti-hero, Jay Qasim.
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Merry Christmas from Kelly & The Team, thank you for all your support and love in 2017.