Mohsin Hamid on writing his second novel, at his website:
In the summer of 2000, I began writing my second novel. I was living on Cornelia Street in New York’s West Village, working as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company with the unusual understanding that I would be allowed to disappear from the office for three months a year to write. I was close to paying off the hundred thousand dollars of loans I had taken out to finance law school; I had published my first novel, Moth Smoke, a few months earlier; and I was able to return regularly for extended periods to Lahore, the city in Pakistan where I had mostly grown up. The time had come for me to decide what to do with my life, and where to do it.
The choices I faced were confusing. New York or Lahore? Novelist as my entire profession or as only a part? And the choices were related. If I left my job to write full time, I would lose my employment-based work visa and be forced to depart permanently for Pakistan. As I had done once before, I turned to my writing to help me understand my split self and my split world.