We love to feature debut authors here on the blog. This interview is with Jenny Ahmed, author of the Tough Mama’s Guide to Survival, published in January 2018.
What were your goals and intentions with this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
I’ve been a prepper for a very long time and what I’ve noticed when it came to the books, a large segment of the population was overlooked! Women and people who were not hands on people were totally forgotten. In addition to speaking to the women, I’m speaking to the men who are not outdoorsmen. I’ve noticed there was a lack of depth in some of the books. Seriously, how many times does a person need to read a book on how many drops of bleach to add to water? They never solved any real problems! I wanted to walk someone through the very beginning, such as how to buy your “Safe Spot” with pennies on the dollar. I did it for myself many, many times and it could be done very easily. These are the things I wanted to show my reader. It was important to me to have my reader keep building their skills. I’ve listed many places my readers can increase their education for FREE. I’ve become a master gardener and everything I show my reader, I’ve already done myself. I feel I’ve achieved my goals. I didn’t want this to be just a book you read and put down. I wanted it to be one you read and then go on to the next project you can learn.
How did you first become involved with prepping?
I first became involved in prepping after surviving a very traumatic hurricane experience many years ago. The Atlantic was coming in the back door, going out the front. I was stranded on my kitchen counter imagining Jaws swimming around my living room and kitchen. Where I live requires some extreme living skills. I live in one of the coldest climates in the country. We often have -30 degrees or colder in the winter. I live at the top of a mountain and our snow falls in feet, not inches. In my book, I talked about being in Superstorm Sandy. Right before the storm hit shelves were being wiped out in the store. I didn’t even make a trip out to the store. My home had everything we needed and more. I was really making my husband banana pineapple pancakes for breakfast during the storm. It was very sad. A lot of people in the city did not have enough food stores in their home to survive. I was sending over banana pineapple pancakes to my neighbors. Surviving is not just making it through the event, real survival comes after the event. After Sandy, mass transportation was down and there was no gasoline; therefore, no help.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
What I enjoyed most was passing knowledge about how to not only survive but thrive. Mom’s are nurturers by nature. This book shows how to feed the family and keep them cozy at the same time. I want to see an emotionally strong survivor in every house!
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The hardest part of writing this book is the thought of something really bad happening in the world. While no one wants anything to happen, this is also why we have insurance. Think of prepping as an insurance policy. One thing that keeps echoing to me is what happened recently in Hawaii. I heard about people throwing their children into the sewers for protection, huddling in the bathroom and other stories. I felt really bad because I had this knowledge, this knowledge is also readily available to anyone for free. Something like that should have been viewed as a drill. Having the government tell any citizen to lay down and make their body flat outside is an unacceptable solution for any family. People tend to get in their comfort zone and not want to think about bad things happening, but in the world today, a family has to have that unpleasant conversation.
Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
Hmmm….. Moi? I don’t sleep much, maybe two or three hours a day. I must have ten projects going on at the same time or I don’t get anything done. I’m disorganized in an organized way. Things that shock people when they meet me is I am an expert skier, a pilot, a former nurse, former attorney, teacher, and a hunter. I balance that out with making quilts by hand, painting, and getting ready to hunt moose in the fall. I have a city girl and country girl battling inside me for control. I’m married to my husband, Iftikhar, who somehow manages my quirkiness. We have seven children and two grandchildren. We have a very big, big family!!!!
What do you like to read in your free time?
I love to read! I grew up on a farm in the south, an only child, miles away from the nearest neighbor. My favorite toy was my imagination! There is not a genre I don’t like. Laughter is important to me and I love John Irving! His books are amazingly funny! I like to read Steve Berry. I love how he integrates a good mystery with a historical mystery. I’m a history buff. I also read Jacqueline Druga too. She’s got a great imagination!
Million dollar question, are you working on another book?
Am I working on another book? Yes! I am actually working on two right now and a third outlined. The next one will hit Amazon in a couple of weeks, “Tough Mama’s Mean Business!” It’s a book geared to the first-time woman entrepreneur. This book makes my goal of seeing women become more independent, both in the home and the business world. After that, it is all fiction and novels from there! The first fiction will be, “By Dawn’s Early Light,” and that will be non-stop action. I haven’t come up with a working title with the third as of yet.
What gives you inspiration for your books?
I use my little pieces of myself or my surroundings in my books. There is a kernel of truth in every story! It’s always easier to write what you know.