Author Spot: Nabila Sharma

Author Nabila Sharma talks about how her book – based on her own true story – was picked up by the first literary agent she approached and she then went on to gain a deal with publishing giant, HarperCollins…


Name, age and area where you live in the UK

Nabila Sharma, 37 years old, Midlands.

Book name, publication date, who book is published by?

Brutal By Nabila Sharma Published By HarperCollins UK and Ireland 26th April 2012, Australia June 1st 2012, Canada June 25th 2012.

Is this your first book? If not, how many other books have you published?

This is my first book but I’m hoping to write a second follow up one.

What is the book about? If you have published other books, is this in a similar style or something different?

Brutal book
Brutal is also published on Kindle.

The book is about the sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of someone in a position of trust within Muslim community but I didn’t feel I could tell anyone what was happening. Muslims have to fear for their lives if they ever speak out like I have done here. I have had to do the book under a false name to protect myself and my family.

When did you start writing/what gave you the idea to write a book?

Over the past few years I have always read other abuse victim books to give me some hope that I was not alone out there. Each and every book gave me hope and courage that there was a happy ending to be found.
I searched for a long time to find a book that told a similar story to what I went through but never found anything.
I was encouraged to do this book so that I could tell others that they are not alone and to speak out.
It took me many years to to be able to speak about what had happened. I went to see a counsellor and then finally decided (after searching in vain for a similar story) to write my own story.

How long did it take to write?

It took a long 12 months from start to finish. It was extremely hard talking about it and I worked with a ghost writer to help my grammar. It was tough reliving everything that I had buried and put behind me but actually the book helped me come to terms with what had happened.

If it’s a personal book about you, how did you feel about that? Did you set out to write an personal book or did things just turn out that way? Were friends and family surprised or shocked to read it at first?

I have always thought about writing a book but didn’t have any idea of how to go about it. With the encouragement and support from my partner who got the ball rolling I finally did it and when HarperCollins wanted it I was thrilled that finally people will be able to get some help and see they are not alone if they are going through this.

I needed particularly to get the Asian community to know that these things go on and rather than hush things up, to acknowledge it and to do something about it. I have four brothers but even now only one of my brothers knows what happened to me.

How did you get published? Did you approach a literary agent first or go directly to a publisher?

I wrote to one literary agent and she accepted straight away and she contacted HarperCollins who again took it straight away. I was incredibly lucky.

Was it hard to get published?

No it was not difficult and I was fortunate that once HarperCollins took the book they took care of it all. It already has five foreign rights deals so Brutal will be translated into at least five languages. Currently it is contracted to go to Estonia, Czech Republic, Indonesia, Poland and France. I’m told there are more deals to come.

Where your book is on sale?

Amazon and all supermarkets such as Tesco online, Asda and Morrisons. It is also available at bookshops such as Waterstones.

Any advice for other book writers?

If you have a story to tell then just tell it. If no-one wants to publish it then just self publish it. Once it’s in book form, then you have something substantial to show people to get them to listen.
No one had written a book like mine before and I am very proud to have done this and to get the message out that this kind of abuse goes on in the Asian community and needs to stop.
I did the book to educate the Asian community that you must listen and do something. I hope it will make a difference to someone else’s life.

Abuse in the Muslim community is rarely, if ever, talked about and is hushed up. There is a story here about physical and sexual abuse but all the TV shows and the book shops have been so far been scared to talk about it as to not upset the UK Muslim community. It seems it’s okay for these things to happen so long as it’s not talked about. Well it should be talked about so that something can be done about it.
We came to live in the UK so we should abide by UK rules.

* Now an independent woman, Nabila currently works to bring similar hidden crimes to light and help others going through the same.

* Photo posed by model.

Are you an author who has published a book? Whether you have had your book published with a big mainstream company such as HarperCollins or you have self-published, if you would like contribute to author spot then contact us here: author spot request. We will then email you some questions.

Have you read Brutal? If you have let us know your thoughts below…

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

29 thoughts to “Author Spot: Nabila Sharma”

  1. Dear Lady Nabila,

    Asailam Wailekum,

    I would like to thank you for writing such a beautiful book, which took me 2 days to read.

    As a seven year old girl, I would not have been able to cope with life if something like that would have happened to me.

    I feel blessed that I am part of your journey by reading and going through all the feelings of pain and despair.

    You made it!!!

    May God be with you and I wish you all the best in life and you are worth it.

    Thank you

    Take Care

    1. Hello Jasmin

      Im so sorry i have just read this message, thank you so much for taking the time to read Brutal and for your kind words and yes I MADE IT.

      You can contact be via FACEBOOK or TWITTER

      Thank you again.

      Nabila x

  2. Dear Nabila

    The courage and strength you have is utterly amazing….this book needs to be seen by everyone..everywhere. Your amazing… Not just because you survive something so awful… But because you still have your heart and soul.

    May I ask?
    Did you ever see justice with your abuser?

    Your an inspiration… A light, in this some how constantly dim world.
    Thank you for this book!

    1. Hello Demi

      Appoliges for the late replay i have only just seen your message.
      Thank you for taking the time to read Brutal.
      I agree it must be out there and read it will then encourage others to speak out.

      Demi the police are involved and the case is ongoing so justice will be done.

      You can contact me via Facebook or Twitter,

      Thank you again.

      Nabila x

  3. Hey Nabila ❤

    I’am so obssesd with your story that I read it many times ! Good Job ^^
    And I’am very sorry for what you suffered…
    Thankyou for your amazing book!
    I love you so much Nabila ❤

    Twitter: @Memox_Babe
    – Maryam xx

  4. Hi Nabila,

    its me again lol ..

    Me and Maryam are so obsessed with you and your story ” Brutal ”
    I really enjoyed the story and wanna know more about you and we also want to read your other books.

    we told the class about this book and we told the teacher too and she was so excited about the reply to Maryam.

    we all love you Nabila xx

    @Hindowh_ & @Memox_Babe

    and thank you xoxo

  5. Hey Nabila xx

    its me again..

    i’d like to thank you a lot for this wonderful story ” Brutal ”

    This book should be everywhere and everyone should read it its so fantastic.
    i really liked it and i really enjoyed reading it, And sharing it with my class and teacher.

    well done Nabila xoxo

    and ILOVEYOU<33

    my twitter:- @Hindowh_

    and thankyou<3

  6. Hello Hindi

    You are not annoying me , Thank you for sharing Brutal with your class and teacher please feel free for your teacher to contact me also.

    I will be writing some more books hopefully some childrens books in the new year other projects too will be out next year so keep watching.

    Thank you agian.

    Love Nabila x

  7. Hello Nabila

    I read alot of books and found yours to be one of the most profoundest books I’ve read for a long, long time. I didn’t want to read it at first, because I don’t like seeing people being harmed, but your book just kept drwaing me in and in. I just keep thinking about how horrible that Immam was and how he knew that he could take advantage of the situation with no comeback. I hope that your book will serve as a catalyst to enable others to speak out against these unspeakable crimes that people in positions of power seem to think they can participate in. How a religious person can justify their acts of abuse is beyond me. Thanks to your book, justice I hope will prevail.

    1. Hello Mike

      Thank you for taking the time to read Brutal ,im sory if in parts it upset you but i felt that it needed to be said.
      I do hope by doing Brutal more will follow and speak out.

      Thank you again


  8. Hey nabila
    I’ve just read the book and all I can say is the first 16 chapters were so hard to get through I just felt as though someones sharing my story…I have been through exactly the same thing but with a different member of the muslim community…all I can say is I am so emotionally touched its unbelievable but atleast I know I’m not the only person to feel the way I did!! And I can’t believe I have just shared what I did…all thanks to your book x

  9. Hello Abby

    Hope you are well, thank you for taking the time to read Brutal. Im so sorry that you have also gone through some pain.

    And im so pleased that you have been able to share and speak out a little.

    Brutal was written to reach out to people who would be encouraged to speak out. So im happy that it is doing that.

    If you wish to talk more to me you can contact me via facebook or twitter oe email me on hope to hear from you soon Abby.

    Nabila x

  10. i have not read this book yet but i know that i will love it and that it will be an inspirational story and will encourage many people like you to be able to express how they were treated in the past and to show them that there are some people out there who an help them (p.s are you still a Muslim and are you very still religious because i am a Muslim and also when did you write this book)

    Love Sundus 😀

  11. Hello Sundus

    Yes i am still a muslim, the book came out this April. Please do let me know your thoughts on Brutal if you do get to read it, thank you for contacting me you can also follow me on facebook/twitter.

    Take care
    Nabila x

  12. Asselamu ‘alaykum

    Dear Sister Nabila

    I just read your book and i am so sorry about what hapened to you as a little girl – things happened at that stage leaves terrible scars. I think you were amazing, coming home everyday after being tormented and getting on with life. Thats takes enormous courage esp at such a tender age. I can understand how maybe your undesrtanding of Islam has darkened coz of your experiences and maybe you even question Allah’s Will – but Allah is most Wise and i think He is using you to be a solace and hope for many in your situation and i hope it is a means of liberation and healing for you. My worry is taht you will not give Islam another chance – True Islam is beautiful and full of light and what you expereinced was not true Islam – you suffered at the hands of a man who abused his position using Islam to get what he wanted. Please do not carry a bias within you because of what one person did under the name of Islam. Allah is most Just, Nabila and if you pray for jsutice Allah will come through for you in the best way He sees fit.
    In the meantime, i hope there will be a part 2, keep smiling and may you be healed completly.
    Lots of love and hugs


    1. Hello Reem thank you for taking the time to read Brutal and i agree with you my faith was lost formany year because of this evil man, but after many years of healing i now know that it was this man who did wrong to me not the mosque and not islam.
      Thank you for your support im in a very happy place now.

      Thank you again.

      Nabila x

  13. hi nabila.
    reading your book, actually hard for me,i need a week to finish this book.
    but i’m so curious when i read every sheet of your story. “how it ends?” it’s always like that. i share about your story to my friend. and all of them said “hah? seriously?”. this is not my first time reading book about victims. but your story is the only one that makes me so shock. because it was caused by ustadz. as what you want, your book become the aspiration for the out there to speak up. i hope now you could live your life happily. may Allah always bless you.

    1. Hi Indah

      Thank you for taking the time to read Bruatl and im sorry if it upset you in parts but i needed the reader to know what really happpend.
      I do hope Brutal encourages others to speak out.
      Thank you again you can also follow me on facebook and twitter.

      Nabila x

  14. Hiya Nabila,
    Like you I am also from the Midlands (West). I have just finished reading your story,which my mum read and my friend also looked at, and were very interested as she has children of her own and makes sure they know what the world is capapable of and being aware of such bad people.
    The world we live in regardless of religion is made up of bad and good people,I too have seen too many bad people in my life who make me feel worthless,knocked my self-esteem and confidence. Good people are rare in society,it saddens. Your story made me see some hope that my life may get better too. Trusting people when you have been hurt so many times by your own family, friends, guys and community hurts, I have seen this too. The cuture and religion are 2 very seperate identities.
    As humans we should help support one another through such times and stand united.
    I would love to hear from you.
    Kind regards x Shabena

    P.S Looking forward to any new books you may have yet to publish.

  15. dear nabila,
    i am muslim too and when i read your book i was so upset, your book is so sad, it left me speechless. i cant believe that the iman could do such horriable stuff to a young girl your age, i am proud of you for writing this book, you are a true hero nabila and a great inspiration. i wanted to ask you if you ever went to mosque after what had happened to you in the past?

    hope you all the best for the future,
    love from zaibixxx

  16. Hello Zabia

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read Bruatl, Where did you hear of it?

    Im in a much happier place thank you now and no ive never been back to a mosque again.

    Thank you agin for your support, if you would like to know more you can add or follow me on facebook and twitter.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Nabila x

  17. hi
    i just read your book, cause a friend suggested it
    and i loved it so much but it was so sad, every time i read each page i wondered how a 8 year old girl could take this in. and i cried so much like so much after i read your book special when the part when your father god bless him past away my heart felt so sorry for you and your family. im amazed from your story and i just wanted to know if your brothers and other family members still treat different? and ur so brave witting a book like this i would be to scared wat if the community killed me or if i had 4 brothers wat would they say?
    may god be with you always!

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