February 2018 Update: Meet the Awesome Team of Beta Readers for The Oyster Thief!

True feedback is a gift, and I feel fortunate to receive it from an amazing team of beta readers for The Oyster Thief. (An underwater odyssey, the novel features the quest of a mermaid and a human man who confront numerous inner and outer obstacles to find a life-saving elixir.)

Here is a definition of a beta reader from the Oxford Dictionary: “A person who reads a work of fiction before it is published in order to mark errors and suggest improvements.”

As they read The Oyster Thief in installments, beta readers have been telling me what’s resonating with them and are suggesting creative ways to improve the story. Their comments are ultimately helping me make the novel more interesting and enjoyable for you, the final reader.

I am so excited about the team of beta readers that I would like to introduce them to you here (listed below in alphabetical order)!

AAMER HASHAM (my husband) lives in Toronto and leads a global team of project managers focusing on information technology projects. His interests include learning new web-development languages, self-development, and nature. Fun fact: He has visited the southern tip of the world! His thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “The book blends a fast-moving story with fascinating facts about the ocean.”

KRISTYN NANLAL KHETIA works as a consultant for an international organization in Washington DC. She is passionate about food and agricultural issues and first got in touch with me after reading Project Animal Farm. Her interests include reading and cooking. Fun fact: She is an avid fan of Formula One racing! Her thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “The underwater world feels very intriguing and imaginative, with an array of mysterious characters.”

LAUREN FRIEDWALD is a speech-language pathologist who lives in Manhattan. She loves writing, yoga, and matcha tea. Fun fact: She does background work for TV shows and movies during the summer! Her thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “The story is engaging and suspenseful. I can visualize the characters so well that I feel as though I am actually interacting with them while I read. I constantly want to know what they will do next!”

LUCAS MELBYE works at a research firm in Toronto, where he helps nonprofit organizations expand their audiences. In the summer, you can find him at the cottage and in the winter, he’s often snowboarding with his son. His thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “This is as imaginative, insightful and descriptive as anything I’ve read.”

SALMAN FARUQI (my brother) is a radiation oncologist who will soon be moving from Toronto to Calgary. There, he will continue to treat patients with cancer of the brain and spine. His interests include fantasy novels, fitness, and meditation. Fun fact: He is a natural on the dance floor! His thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “With engaging characters and a gripping plot, it’s a phenomenal read, with something for everyone.”

SARAH KREJCI is an assistant professor of biology and environmental science in Florida. She has been studying seahorses for sixteen years and is currently beginning a project to identify the genes that control seahorse color (they can be quite colorful). Fun fact: Besides her passion for the ocean, her life centers around her three little sons. Her thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “I love the detail and complexity in the development of the underwater world—it’s amazing!”

SOFIA FARUQI (my sister) lives in Washington DC and works at think tank World Resources Institute. She focuses on the economic and ecological benefits of forest restoration and was recently featured in a neat video on the topic. Her interests include travel and reading. Fun fact: She is a dedicated pet-sitter! Her thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “It transports me to a whole other world, an underwater realm brimming with intrigue and mystery.”

STACEY GORDON STERLING is a librarian and law professor in Montana who loves to talk and write about animal law. Fun fact: She is known to show up at family gatherings with a car full of puppies she is fostering! Her thoughts on The Oyster Thief: “The book weaves together the best elements of great fiction—compelling characters, clever storytelling, and arresting imagery.”

A big thank you again to the team of beta readers.