Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? Since I was a little girl growing up in Tehran, I was enthralled by my imagination and the entrancing world of storytelling and writing. It was a magical realm that helped express some of my deepest and most profound feelings, experiences, and thoughts, and a tool to help me travel to distant places in the comfort of my home or classroom. Years later as an adult, I chose the field of journalism to continue my quest for belonging, for connecting my birthplace (Iran & the Middle East) to my new world in the US. It was in that journey that I realized the power of storytelling and its impact on diplomacy, discourse, and global engagement. There is nothing as compelling as that can amplify the realities of life in a far-away place to others across the globe. Writing is a gift. It's a gift that lasts, that transcends borders, racial divides, and cultural barriers - a gift that can educate and foster humanity.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? Aaaah...chewing gum. (partly joking, partly serious). But one practical method is to make sure the room I'm writing is fully organized, cleaned and everything is in order. I have always also turned my phone off for long hours when writing.

What is your favorite time to write? I don't have a favorite time; but I have to make sure my phone is off and everything around me is very neat and organized. I also can't write in a coffee shop or around people; nor can I write with music. However, sometimes, I have very classic piano music playing in the background (very low sound).

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? "Great people are not born, great people are made". My former boss at CNN told me once. I think that's certainly true for writers.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? First, it's such a humbling feeling to be called a "writer;" and second, what excites me the most about being a writer, is my ability to use my craft to lift people outside of their daily bubbles and transport them into a new world--a new perspective, a new horizon, and new way to look at our world.

Tara Kangarlou's The Heartbeat of Iran: Real Voices of A Country and Its People is out today with Ig Publishing.