Ayser Salman is a writer and producer/editor who has now turned her talents to her new book, The Wrong End of the Table: A Mostly Comic Memoir of a Muslim Woman Just Trying to Fit In. We were lucky enough to get our hands on a copy! Check out what we thought of it:
Review of The Wrong End of the Table by Ayser Salman
Ayser Salman’s The Wrong End of the Table is a funny and honest take on her life, specifically on what it’s like to be a Muslim Arab woman in America. She tells the tales of her life, from when she first came to the United States at the age of three, all the way to adulthood in Hollywood.
This book is a memoir, but it’s also a different type of guide to life. It’s filled with advice about identity, shows you what it was like to be a Muslim-American after 9/11, and details the importance of finding home, whatever that might mean for you.
A memoir that will have you laughing and feeling completely involved, The Wrong End of the Table by Ayser Salman is a wonderful memoir that will have you wanting to read more and more. It’s comforting, insightful, and an all around must-read.
Q&A With Ayser Salman
After reading The Wrong End of the Table by Ayser Salman, we had the opportunity to sit down and talk to the author herself!
Tell us a bit about yourself! What do you do?
I’m a comedy writer who pays the bills as a producer/editor of promos and BTS content for networks and studios.
You wrote a book called The Wrong End of the Table. What is it about and why were you inspired to write it?
It’s a (mostly) comic memoir about my life growing up as a Muslim Iraqi immigrant in Kentucky and briefly in Saudi Arabia, navigating two cultures & always feeling like a fish out of water. With all that’s happening in the country right now, it seemed like the best time to put my personal authentic story out there in hopes that it might resonate with other people. I soon discovered we all have felt like ‘outsiders’ in some form or other. So this is for anyone who ever felt like they’ve been at the wrong end of the proverbial table.
Do you have any plans for future books?
Writing this book was such a freeing experience that, yes, I think there will be future ones.
You have worked in the entertainment space for a while. How did you transition from that to writing a book?
I’m an editor who sits in front of a TV monitor moving around bits of video and audio to create a story. This aspect of my job helped the writing part as I soon discovered when I began writing. It’s all about storytelling – whether you’re creating it completely from nothing or using existing video to help you shape it.
Other than that, I would say sitting at home writing was always a nice break from the day job.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing process and how you create?
Well this is my first book and it came about rather organically. I used to write a blog based on little comic bits in my life and a book was the natural progression. The narrative took shape as I began writing the book since it was my life and I essentially wrote it chronologically.
When I began writing, my favorite professor told me to “come from character and let the character guide the narrative.” This has never led me astray when I’ve written fiction pieces such as my scripts. Finding the character’s weakness and putting them in situations which challenge that is always fun to see how they react.
What has been the biggest struggle for you as a writer?
Beginning any project. Before I have the groove down and before I’m immersed in that world. Inevitably, I always spend a few days just staring at the page before I get into it.
Is there a fun fact about yourself that might surprise our readers if you were to share it with them?
I cry during really good movie trailers. Kinda like when people hear a really moving opera. Something about the music and images and epicness gets me – is that fun?
What advice would you give to struggling writers out there who are trying to accomplish their dreams?
Take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt. Everyone has their own squiggly path to get to their goals. Mine certainly has been the squiggliest. With stops and starts and ups and downs. At some point, you amass enough advice that you’re able to let your own instinct and voice push through it. That’s when you know you’re really on track. Of course that was my path, so take it with a grain of salt…
What do you want readers to gain the most from your book?
That it’s important to be authentic, above anything else because then can you properly navigate your world.
Where do you see yourself going from here?
…Disneyland? Sorry old joke from the 80s… I’m working on developing this book into a TV show, and then I want to write a rom-com script. My reps advise me not to, but don’t you think we need more rom-coms?
Do you have any final words of wisdom that you would like to share with our readers?
Be authentic and true to yourself. People will tell you what you should and shouldn’t be writing. People will tell you what sells and what doesn’t, and that’s fair and it’s good to listen, but ultimately you know what’s what. The moment you’re able to tune out all the noise and find your own voice – that’s the moment you want to chase. At least that’s what happened with me.
The Wrong End of the Table by Ayser Salman is now available wherever books are sold.