Ripollsworkshop Reads

Author Interview with Urmi Hossain

Episode Summary

In today's episode, our host Courtney meets with Urmi Hossain, author of "Discovering Your Identity: A Rebirth From Interracial Struggle". Hear some advice from Urmi Hossain on reading and writing, what authors inspire her and more!

Episode Notes

Urmi Hossain, Born in Italy to immigrant Bengali Parents, struggling to fit in two contrasting worlds. Urmi Hossain Dives in with her book “Discovering Your Identity: A Rebirth from Interracial struggle”. Outside of publishing her book. Urmi also operates a Blog Empowering Women to take control of every aspect of their lives! Embracing who she really is!


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Episode Transcription

Courtney (00:18):

Hi Urmi. So great to see you. Thank you so much for being here. I would love if you would introduce yourself.


Urmi (00:24):

Yes. So my name Urmi and I am from I'm. I live in Montreal. I'm originally from Italy, from parents that are from Bangladesh. I have a background in finance and I've been working in the financial services industry for more than six years. I would say.


Courtney (00:44):

I love that. That's actually my I'm in finance as well in the bookkeeping.


Urmi (00:48):

Aw, look, look at us.


Courtney (00:52):

Yes. Nice. So I would love to hear about your book, what it's about, what inspired you to write it?


Urmi (01:01):

Okay. So I actually recently published my, my first book and the book of the, the title of the book is, uh, discovering your identity birth from international interracial struggle. And basically I was inspired by another oter from Canada who wrote a book called confessions of a brand role. And when I read that book, I just felt very, I just felt her story was very much relatable to, to mine because she was talking a lot about the struggle that she was going through as a brown, uh, woman in the brown community. And then, uh, I actually reached her out on LinkedIn. I was like, oh, thank you for writing this book. I felt very inspired. And then I actually asked her about the whole process of publishing a book. And she told me it's very easy. You can just, self-publish your own book. You don't need to find a publisher.


Urmi (01:57):

And that's where I was like, okay, you know what? I do wanna write my own book. And it has been always the thought that I had in mind for like long time. But I would say that I never went forward with it. Like, you know how everyone says, yeah, I wanna write a book, but then no one, no one ever does it. And then I was like, I don't wanna be that person. And I felt that I had the story to share. I felt like I had a lot of thoughts in my mind. And then after, um, I read this other book that says, oh, how can you write a book in 30 days? So I read that book and I was like, you know what, I'm gonna be serious about this. I'm gonna sit down and actually start writing, uh, my own book. And I felt that I had the, so a story to share, which was, uh, my own struggle at finding my identity.


Urmi (02:38):

Because as I said in the introduction, I am, um, Italian Mengali and it took me a while to say that out loud, cuz um, I went through a struggle where people would tell me, oh, but you're not Italian, but you're not Bengali. And I never felt like I was fitting a box. And I was like, you know what? I can just create my own box and I'm gonna embrace both cultures. And I'm talking about that struggle and how I find that path. And I go a little bit in detail in my book about everything that happened to me when I was a kid, how they felt like growing up, uh, you know, in a very, um, Italian culture. Uh, even though, you know, I am brown S Asian in a way. So I go in detail about that and I talk about different episodes that happened to me when I was growing up.


Courtney (03:24):

That's so amazing. I love that. When you were writing your book, who were you thinking of that it was for when it like that you want to read that book?


Urmi (03:34):

Uh, mainly for sat Asian woman because, um, since I've been on social media, since I've been, for instance on Instagram, I started to realize that there are more and more women like me who go through the same struggle as south Asian women. And when I look at their stuff and what they do, what they create, the content that they create, I feel like they are creating a sense of belonging, sort of like a sisterhood of south Asian women. And when I read their stuff, I feel less alone in this journey. So I'm like, you know what, it's not a problem. Unique to me, it's a problem that it's like, um, that touches other citation women. And I feel like, you know what? I also wanna do the same. I also wanna create a community where other people feel like they belong somewhere where they do not feel alone. So when I was writing this book, I was mainly thinking about sat Asian women. So did you know that you feel like you're part of a community? So that's, that has been my main target, but of course the book is, is for everyone. Cuz I think, um, it's important also for other people, uh, from other culture to learn a little bit about the struggle that we go through south Asian women.


Courtney (04:44):

I love that. That is so important. How long have you been writing and like what made you really start and when did you really start to dig into writing?


Urmi (04:55):

Um, I'm gonna say that, um, the plan of writing a book was always there, but then I knew that I had to like practice a little bit my writing skills. So this is how like I started my own blog. And then when I was working on my blog, one of my main goals was that I'm gonna write articles so that I can work on my writing skills. So I've been doing that for like two years and then, um, literally a thing around June, I read this book that says, how can you write a book in, in 30 days? And I was like, okay, I'm gonna read this. I'm gonna try to understand a little bit how this whole like writing pro process works. Um, I wouldn't say I learned something that I didn't know from this book. Like I know that one of the things that you need when you're writing the book is a commitment and a lot of self discipline.


Urmi (05:44):

And I felt like I had that. Um, and then after writing this book, I was like, I'm just gonna be serious about this. I'm gonna go ahead. And I just tried to create my own motivation. You know, I just felt like I had this purpose in life. I wanna make sure that I'm like getting this purpose achieved and that's how I got motivated. So every day, like I would try to like write a little bit and it literally took me like, I wanna say four weeks to write this book four weeks because I had every, all the ideas were there. I knew what I, what I wanted to write about. So it just, it just came easy. And I think when you have something that you wanna share to the world, it makes the process a little bit, much easier and much and much more enjoyable. I would say.


Courtney (06:27):

I really love that. That's amazing. Mm-hmm and it's so amazing that you were able to do it in such a short period of time and it shows that, you know, you can really do it if you put your mind to it. Mm-hmm


Urmi (06:38):



Courtney (06:40):

When you're writing your, when you were writing your book, what was your schedule like?


Urmi (06:45):

So basically, um, I would usually write after work cause it was the moment where I was like, I have a quiet moment, so I would come back from work and then let's around seventh to eight o'clock day. I would just focus on writing like each chapter. And my main goal was just to getting my ideas out. Like I didn't care about the editing. I didn't care about the grammar. I didn't care about how sentences were phrased. I didn't, it was just more about getting the, the ideas out there. So I would like write every day from seven to eight o'clock and the days where I couldn't write, I would just sit down for like 30 minutes or just go over what I wrote. And then on the weekend I would actually put a little bit more hours, maybe like three to four hours just to go over what I I've written.


Urmi (07:33):

And I think that's how I was able to complete it within like 30 days, because it was, um, it was a habit, it was something that was doing recurringly. It was something that I was doing every day is of just saying, okay, I'm gonna write one chapter and who cares for the next, you know, 2, 3, 3 weeks. Uh, and I think the hardest part for me was to getting started. I think it's never about getting the, the job finished. It's about initially getting started and I told myself I really wanna start with one chapter and see where it goes. And I told myself, I'm gonna make sure that I write a little bit every day and that's how you build up. So that's what I've been doing.


Courtney (08:09):

I love that. I love how you talk about building out. Cause if you start, even if it's 15 minutes, then go to 30, 45, building that out is amazing. Yeah. For your writing space, I would love for you to explain it. Do you write at the kitchen table, the couch? We have some people who go to coffee shops. Um, or is there any must haves you have when you pick your writing space?


Urmi (08:35):

Uh, yes. So I actually used to write in two places. Uh, the first one was my balcony, uh, cuz I liked having, you know, the, that kind of atmosphere, you know, the balcony it's like quiet and it's like outside of your, of your house. Um, so I would write sometimes in my balcony or in my office room and that's because the office room is just my own room and I would always make sure that it was clean, cuz for me it's so important to like decla all your stuff. So I would always make sure my table was clean and my, my floor was clean and that's how I felt like I was motivated. Cuz I think it's very, very important that you have a very clean space that motivates you. And, and I feel my room is very, very energizing and I also have like bunch of books next to me. And every time when I was like, I need some motivation, I would look at this book and be like, okay, this is what I want to do. And I feel like when you see stuff, when you, you know, envision yourself doing, achieving some stuff and seeing the book on it's only just really helped me to get through my, my book. So I would make sure that I was like either in my office or in the balcony.


Courtney (09:42):

That's so amazing. That's those are both great places. Okay. Um, when you're writing, do you have a favorite snack or drink that you like to have?


Urmi (09:50):

Yes. So I'm a big, big, big coffee drinker. And so, but it's not like regular coffee. Like I like my like espresso cappuccino and stuff like that. So I would always make sure that I had a good cup of cappuccino, like a foamy cappuccino. So I would always make sure I had that. And um, or even matcha, I really also like matcha and I would always make sure to have like some cookies and it was like more like Italian style cookies, you know? So those are like always motivating me. So


Courtney (10:26):

, that's amazing. I love it. When you're, what books do you enjoy reading?


Urmi (10:37):

Um, so nowadays I actually like reading books about, let's say like more fiction. So mystery trigger because there is a type of, there is that sense of, I don't know how to say, like you're just, um, they, they keep you guessing, you know, when you're reading like a mystery book, they, they keep you guessing and you're like, they know how to do a good job to get you hooked to the book. And I really enjoy reading those type of books because I think as a person I'm very curious and I'm always like curious about finding out, okay, who kill? Who, where did this person disappear? So for instance, I read, um, uh, the girl on the train and which I really liked. I read the silent patient and I also read another one which is called the guest list. So the guest list I would say was like probably one of my favorite books because I was like, oh my gosh, it was like, what happened?


Urmi (11:34):

And, and when I was reading that book, I just felt like they author did a great job at like, you know, uh, having plot trees. And you were like trying to figure out what happened. And I think I really like those types of those types of books. And I also read a lot of books about finance, personal finance investing. And I also read a lot of book about, um, self development, like personal development, uh, cuz I think that's one way that you can learn. You cannot always learn by going to school. You have to also learn by reading books.


Courtney (12:05):

I love that. Cuz I've had a couple people surprised that I read across the board different areas and I'm like, I love reading new books and experiencing 'em. That's why when we started the podcast, I said, I don't care what the author writes about. I'd wanna be able to share it out because it might one, one little bit that they share might resonate with you. Mm-hmm they might have a tip or a book, like all those amazing books that you've talked about already. Mm-hmm um, so are there, I know you talked a little bit about, um, an author that inspired you to become a writer. Are there any other books or authors that really inspired you


Urmi (12:45):

To be honest? Not really. Uh, besides the one that I mentioned earlier, she was the only person that inspired me to write my book because before reading her book, I did not read anything similar. And so that was the thing that I felt like she was pre probably the main reason why I wrote this book and I actually went back to her after publishing my book. And I said, you were my true inspiration cuz I read a lot of books, but no one ever did. Uh, I wanna say great job of inspiring me, inspiring me because I just felt like I was not able to relate to their story, but not because their story story were not good. I think every book has a great story, but you also wanna see if you can see yourself in the story. So when I read that book called confessions of a brown girl, when I was reading her book, I just felt like she's just writing about me literally. That's how I felt. So that's how I was like, no, she's the one, she's the only reason why I wrote this book and I, and it's the only reason why I went through this book. So, so yeah.


Courtney (13:49):

That's amazing. What books did you grow up reading? Did you have a favorite?


Urmi (13:58):

Uh, okay. So I think, um, when we are kids, we usually read books because we are, we sort of have an obligations, right? Because school teaches you to, to read books and they tell you what books to read. So I actually grew up reading a lot of literature books and I read a lot of books like related to English, literature, Italian literature, French literature. So I read a lot of books related to for instance, a Shakespeare, um, Dorian, gray Victor go. Um, so I read a lot of those books and I'm not gonna say I didn't enjoy them. I actually enjoyed a lot of them. And one of the books that I, two of the books that I really, really enjoyed reading when I was at school was, um, what is it called? The fifth child. I don't know if you have read that book it's by, um, trying to find out who wrote it it's by Doris blessing. And then there was another book that I read from my art history class, which is called the girl with the pure earring. And there was also a movie with the college, John Johnson, I think that's her full name. And those were probably my two favorite books that I read when I was growing up. But the rest was mainly because I was literally obliged to, to read those books for school purposes and no other, I would say purpose.


Courtney (15:20):

Totally understand that. I've heard that a bit when talking to people. Um, but now as a adult, do you have any like favorite series or authors that really you love?


Urmi (15:33):

Yeah, I really like, um, uh, her name is Colin Hoover. I don't know if you know her. Uh, oh my gosh. She, she writes amazing books. Um, I would say mean the most of her books are romance and I'm not a big fan of, but I feel like she does such a great job with her writing style that she are like, you're like, you cannot stop reading her books. And um, one of my favorite books of her it's, uh, it's called it ends with us and I think she did a great job. And I think every time you read her book, it doesn't matter. What's what's genre. I just feel like she does a good job that you almost feel like you are part of the story. Like it feels like you are so immersed into her story that you're like, I wanna keep continue reading this. So she has been probably one of my favorite OS so far. And then there's this other author that I have read. Um, I've read her books is she's called her name is the Sophie ELA. Uh, she also does a very good job. Her books are very like very light, not so complicated. And I feel like those are great books if you're going on vacation and you wanna just relax. She's also pretty good. And she also writes a lot of books about romance as well.


Courtney (16:49):

Love it. Yes, definitely. I haven't heard of Sophie, but I've heard of Colleen Huber and I've read a couple of her books and they really do pull you in.


Urmi (16:58):



Courtney (17:00):

Um, for someone who's just starting out reading again, do you have anything you would say to them?


Urmi (17:06):

Okay. I have a like step by step thing that I do have for people like getting back to reading. Cause I think, I think when it comes to reading, it's never easy. And a lot of the time people don't like to read because they don't have time. But nowadays I feel like there are multiple ways that you can still read a book. Uh, so I do have like a list of things that I do wanna suggest to people. They said, when you wanna go back to like reading, some of the things that you wanna do is one find your interest, which you want to learn. Two, you wanna make a list of all the books that you want to read. Uh, three, you wanna make sure that you find the right time and the right place. Cause the team, those are so, so important. Like there are some people that they, they like to read like early in the morning, some people they like to read when they're in the Metro and you wanna find the right place, the right moment with no distractions.


Urmi (17:59):

And uh, you wanna find the right, um, tool to, to read the book. So for instance, some people, they like to have the paper, uh, version of the book. Whereas some other people they like to listen. So they like audio books or there are some people that they like to use Kindle to read books. And I think you wanna find the right method. Like you wanna see what do I like the most? And some people I think nowadays, especially because we don't have time, uh, they like to prefer audio books. So you wanna see, you wanna try all of them and see which one you like the most. And, and then I wanna say that you wanna be patient, you know, cuz it takes time. But I think what's most important is just is that you start small and you build a habit out of it.


Urmi (18:40):

So for instance, maybe you have a list of five books. Uh, one of the book is long. I don't know it has a hundred pages. The other one has 40 pages. So maybe start with the one with 40 pages and see if you can like finish one book and maybe set goals that you gonna, where you tell yourself, okay, before the end of this month, I'm gonna read this book the next month. I'm gonna read that book. And I think in this way, you're helping yourself to build the habit. And I think probably that's the most important thing to do. So I know I said a lot, but I think there's a very important steps that someone should get, uh, should start doing.


Courtney (19:13):

Those are so important. And one thing that I know that I've realized is that you don't have to stick to the same media. You can have your ebook. Like I do eBooks for fiction and I do hard back or paperback for books that I wanna highlight in self development. Because sometimes you just wanna highlight something, even though you can do it on Kindle, it's just a different way to learn.


Urmi (19:40):



Courtney (19:42):

For. So if you were talking to someone who was starting to write their own book, what would you tell them?


Urmi (19:51):

I would tell them to, I would tell them to write something they're passionate about because I think when you're passionate about something, you're able to like pull through the ups and downs. And I also think that when you write something that you're passionate about, it makes the whole process much easier and it's also very therapeutic. Um, and I think that's what I had in mind when I was writing my own book. It was like, I have a passion for this topic. And, and I felt like, you know, some days I did not feel like writing the book. Sometimes I felt like, okay, I feel very motivated, but when you are passionate about something, I just, I just think that it makes it so much more easier to go through the, the challenges of, of achieving a goal. So I would say that's probably my biggest, uh, advice.


Courtney (20:44):

Love it. So great. What is one thing that people are generally surprised to find out about you?


Urmi (20:53):

Um, that I'm full of talent, but it's not that they're surprised. I'm also surprised about that. So, um, because I never told anyone, oh, this year I'm gonna write a book and I was like, you know what, I'm gonna do it and I'm gonna publish it. And then I'm gonna tell all my friends, okay, wrote, I wrote this book and actually one of my friends came up to me and he was like, I didn't know, you had so many talents. And, and I think they are learning about me. And I'm also learning about myself cuz this year and the previous year I did so many new things that I was not, um, aware of that I was going to do. Like I have my own YouTube channel. I'm trying to create a course. I have a blog. I do all these podcast shows. And now that I wrote this book, everyone comes to me and like, you are just full of talents that no one was aware of. And I told them, and I tell them, I also feel the same about myself. I didn't know that I'm capable of achieving all these things.


Courtney (21:50):

So yeah. I love that. That's so inspirational before we close out. Is there anything else that you wanted to talk about or say,


Urmi (21:59):

Uh, not just that, uh, my book is available on Amazon. Uh, I have the paperback version as well as the keynote version. Uh, and it's called discovering your identity by, by me. So it's and I welcome everyone to give it a shot. It's not a long book. So even if you don't have time, you can, you will be able to go through the book very quickly and I would really appreciate it. Everyone would like to leave a review for me on Amazon.


Courtney (22:28):

Awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that. Um, a lot of readers do love to get signed books. Do you have a website where they can, if they want a signed copy after reading that they can order?


Urmi (22:42):

That's a good question. Uh, I did not think about that. Uh, I did have someone asking me about that, um, about the signed copy. I, um, I haven't thought about it because everything has been really new with me. So it's, it's a learn. It's like work in progress. So hopefully I will have something available for the future.


Courtney (23:02):

Awesome. That sounds great. If you do get something, be sure to let us know and we can go ahead and update it and let people know. Um, where is the best place that people can connect with you on a personal level?


Urmi (23:14):

So I have my LinkedIn profile and it's called and anyone can reach me there. I can connect with me easily. I'm more than happy to like connect with you and help you out. I also have my own YouTube channel and it's called or sign. And I also have my own blog, which is called my So anyone can find me in any of these platforms.


Courtney (23:36):

Amazing. And we'll be sure to link those so that everyone can see those. And thank you so much for being here today and we really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and about your book. And we look forward to reading it. Thank you.