Hi. Welcome to my website. I’m Homa Pourasgari, an author, and an activist. My novels are about family, love, friendship, and giving voice to the voiceless through fiction. I’ve been told that authors should write their bio in third person. But here, I’m writing in first person, because I like my visitors to be able to relate to me. Also, according to industry standards, I’m supposed to keep my bio short so that I won’t bore my readers. But as you will get to know me, and my work, you will realize that I often don’t follow rules and status quo. So, sorry if you find me babbling on. I’ll try to keep this under 50,000 words. Just kidding…
Anyway, I was born in Tehran, Iran during a time when The United States and Iran were friends. It is important not to trust how Iranians are portrayed in some media outlets. Iran is an advanced society, and Iranians are highly educated. Many are scientists, philosophers, engineers, architects, surgeons, educators, doctors and lawyers. They also excel in the creatives and the arts. However, Just like all other cultures, Iranians also have shortcomings. They have way too many etiquette and traditions. There is a lot of pretentiousness, and a lot of “oh, don’t do this or that, what would people think.” And I often struggled with that way of life, and didn't fit in the Iranian culture. My sentiments were and still are exactly like the lyrics in the above song by Jon Bonjovi—it's my life.
Iran was thriving, when I lived there. My father was a successful businessman, and I was lucky to be able to travel from a young age, and meet people from various walks of life. It hasn’t always been easy to adapt to different cultures, especially when I first came to the U.S at the age of 12. It was a bit of a culture shock for me. I went to a prestigious high school, but at that time, most Americans did not travel much, and had little knowledge about the outside world. I would get questions such as if I grew up walking on sand, if camels roamed around where I came from, if I knew how to belly dance, and if my father was the Shah of Iran. I was baffled by the limited knowledge of my peers. I was told that the reason I was generous to other kids was that I had an agenda and wanted something back from them. I grew up thinking I was a misfit no matter where I lived. But at the age of 16 when I went to a summer bordering school abroad, and met kids from all over the world, we got along swimmingly well.
Later, I attended Loyola Marymount University and received a degree in business. And although I had a lot of friends, still I was not like the other students. I wanted to get some perspective about who I was, and why I was so nonconforming. After my graduation, I went abroad to improve my French and to study literature. And again, I met people from all over the world, and we connected perfectly well. It was then that I realized that there is nothing wrong with being a misfit, and that people who grow up in diverse cultures are different from others. Traveling and temporarily living in various countries opened my mind and exposed me to understanding values that were unlike my own.
As for my writing, I didn’t always write well, but I wrote anyway because I liked it. My early years English and history teachers in the U.S were super kind and supportive. And it wasn’t until my senior year high school teacher that I realized some professors were just mean. This one teacher told me that I would never succeed in any career that required the English language. She was angry that I challenged to be in her class because I qualified to be in an advanced English class. When I went to college, they stuck me in an English as a Second Language class, because I didn’t test well in the pointless SAT test scores. I challenged that as well, and the chairman of the English department put me in a top advanced English class taught by the dean of English department. The dean of the English department did not like me and wanted to kick me out. On my first day, he started miming with his hands and enunciating his words, because he thought I didn't understand him. I showed him the slip of paper signed by the chairman of the English department that said I qualified to be in his class. He was not happy about that. A month down the road, he accused me of cheating on one of my papers, but he had no way of proving it. So, he said that I would have to take a test. I said, no problem, but since your accusation has no foundation, you must make everyone in the class take a test. So, he made everyone take a test, and it turned out that he was wrong. He apologized, but he was never able to bring himself to give me a well-deserved "A" for my work.
Then I went on to take some creative writing classes at another university. The beginning classes were all good until I got to this top-level class. I was told by my teacher and my peers that I should write in my “Persian” accent, because it was more charming and it befitted me. It was such an insult that I finally decided that I’m done. I’m going to go out on my own.
Below are some photos of me growing up from pigtail to high school, college and adulthood.
Iran, when I was little, and had no idea how complicated life was going to be.
High school. My friends from Spain and I were being silly. One of them rested on my back to make the photo seem as though her legs were mine.
College with my classmates. We all wore the same color army green pants to be quirky. I'm the one on the bottom of the pile.
My German classmates dining at my apartment in Paris.
With one of my former employee at my retail store. As you can see, I was too immature to run a business.
My former employees at my parents' house for dinner and coffee.
Family Dog. After she died, it was so painful that I never wanted to own another pet. Today, I don't have time to take care of one, but at least I admit it. A lot of times people buy a pet, and don't take care of it. Some don't even bother cleaning up after it.
Helping a childhood friend with her headpiece before her wedding reception.
Me, long ago, and the daughter of one of my childhood friends. She is all grown up now. I used to do a lot of babysitting for my nieces, my young cousins and friends.
I used to be a personal trainer, and an aerobics instructor, among my many careers in my lifetime. I taught cardio kickboxing, cycling, body sculpting and aerobics/dance. I'm older now, and most of the time I'm okay with that, because with age comes wisdom, something you can not gain without trials and errors, and having lived a life full of possibilities.
I continued with my writing, but I needed a daytime job. I had small part-time jobs while attending college and when I stepped into the real world, I worked in many industries such as marketing, banking, fitness, retail, and accounting, but I always came back to writing. My family would say, well, that’s a nice hobby, but you can’t make money in it. They were right because the writing industry is tough and things were even tougher and worse when I started. There was no Amazon. Bookstores were not willing to carry your book. Print on demand did not exist. And it was nearly impossible for most writers to go out on their own without the support of large publishing houses. Throughout the years, I shredded many of my manuscripts because they weren’t good, and finally I had success in 2003 when I started a novel, finished it, and published it in 2006. That was my first book titled, Lemon Curd, which I came back to recently, revised it because it needed it, and released a new version in February 2023. Even so, at that time and up to recently, there were a lot of stigmas attached to publishing your own work, but I didn’t care. When my second book, The Dawn of Saudi, came out, someone I knew on Facebook wrote to me publicly and said, “Maybe I should publish my own work like you so that I can win an award,” meaning that I didn’t deserve the award I received because my book was self-published.
Today, some big-name authors have left their large publishing houses and have gone Indie. I have no problem with either direction as long as I have some control over my work. Editors sometimes have the tendency to want to change your story. But there are times when I disagree with them, because my gut tells me that I'm on the right path. I work hard, and spend countless hours to bring a good product to my readers. So, if you are here because you have read one of my books, thank you for visiting. If this is your first time learning about me, I hope that my work will not disappoint.