By Mahsuda, Jan 30 2017 2:24PM
It’s always nice to be featured in a list (depending on the list of course). It’s been particularly nice/pleasantly shocking to be featured in three different lists of books to look out for this year. These come from Nikesh Shukla for The Fader, The Asian Writer and the Observer (links to all below). I’m in amongst some good company so hopefully we can expect 2017 to be an awesome year for reading.
I’ve also discovered that you can pre-order my novel on Amazon so if you really like to be organised with your reading (as I do) click on the link at the bottom.
The Asian Writer
Pre-order 'The Things We Thought We Knew'
By Mahsuda, Nov 7 2016 3:00PM
There are no real endings. An odd thing for a writer to say but this is what I’ve learnt since having a baby and getting a book deal with Transworld (not at the same time…though fairly close).
It’s easy to think as a yet-to-be-published writer that getting the book deal will be the happily ever after of your story. So driven are we by our dreams that we rarely look beyond what happens when the dream comes true.
This is also true for the first time mother. When you’re pregnant you are constantly looking forward to after the birth. You’re going to have a baby! You will have a reward for the stretch marks, the waddling and the inability to get out of bed without performing a gymnastic roll. Very rarely are first time mothers/parents prepared for the hard work that comes after the baby arrives. You simply can’t be. No matter what advice or thinly veiled threats people give you nothing will prepare you for the reality of having a baby.
At least getting a novel published has a bit more reliability to it. After the book deal comes edits, edits and more edits. As a published writer friend once said to me: “A book isn’t finished until it’s between two covers and put on the shelf.” Now the real work begins. You can no longer casually give yourself goals and then move them continuously forward when you miss them. There are actual deadlines and it means something if you don’t hit them.
And of course getting a book deal in itself does not mean your book will be successful. Old worries of how to get an agent and will you be rejected by publishers are now replaced with new worries; will readers like the book, will anyone outside your immediate family buy it.
But the real beauty is that, even though there are never any real endings there are still lots of wonderful beginnings and middles. With babies it’s the first smiles, the coos and gurgles and attempts at shoving every little thing in their mouths. With writing it’s working with an editor, knowing that the cover art is being designed, anticipating what reviewers will think the proof copies. It’s all part of the journey.
So maybe getting the book deal was not the end of my writing journey but, just like having a baby, more of a ‘to be continued…’
By Mahsuda, Aug 4 2016 2:06PM
Since my last entry I’ve had some pretty good/life-changing news. After years of slogging at the writing craft, receiving umpteen rejections and a handful of ‘good but not for me’s (as well as a couple of awards along the way) I received the call from my agent telling me I had a book deal. And not any old book deal but a two book deal with the amazing Transworld who have published writing greats such as Joseph Heller, Joanne Harris, Kate Atkinson, Terry Pratchett and Stephen Hawking. Yes, Stephen Hawking.
(This is when I stop typing to take a deep breath and absorb the truth of what I’ve just written. Breath in. Breath out.)
Now this is big news in itself but, as you may have gathered from my last entry, I was 9 months pregnant with my first child when I heard so my quota of ‘life changing events’ immediately shot up to maximum capacity. When the press announcement of the deal coincided with the day I was due to be induced it seemed like a strange type of serendipity/insanity had been cast upon my life.
I’m not going to lie; the birth wasn’t easy. The words ‘12 days overdue’, ‘3rd degree perineal tear’ and ‘short stay in the Maternity High Dependency Unit’ will give you some idea of how it went. But the result was a healthy and ridiculously cute baby girl which was all I could ever have asked for.
And now, three weeks on from the birth, I am…tired. Yes, very tired. Days have lost their names, hours are demarcated with feed times and the ability to eat a whole meal uninterrupted has all but vanished. I’ve barely had any time to think of my other life changing event which probably is a good thing as I no doubt would be daydreaming about book signings and cover art right now which is as helpful to writing as eating a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. Yet still, as I suspected in my blog ‘Giving Up Everything?: Writing and the M Word’(see post below), I’m back at my desk doing what I love doing: writing. My fairly relaxed-as-far-as-babies-go baby is strapped to my chest in a carrier as I type, an activity I thought was just a naïve daydream when I was pregnant. I’ve even somehow had time to talk to my editor about the next stages for the novel before its publication in May next year (breath in, breath out). Although my production rate is going to be slower and I might not be getting back to those emails as quickly as I have in the past I’m starting to think that it was more serendipity than insanity that these two major life events happened so closely together. If you’re going to get a book deal and a have baby you might as well do it in style.
For more information about my novel follow the link below to the Bookseller News.
Until next time, keep creating everyone. You never know where it might lead.
By Mahsuda, Jun 23 2016 2:33PM
It's quite timely that my blog about writing and motherhood for Peepal Tree Press is out this month as I'm due to give birth at the end of it (that's right - in a MATTER OF DAYS!) Click the link below to have a read.
By Mahsuda, Feb 22 2016 8:55AM
I've had a lovely reponse to my guest blog post about diversity in publishing for 'The Writers' Workshop'. Thanks for the words of support and encouragement from a (suitably) diverse crowd. It's nice to know that most of us are on the same page!
If you haven't had a chance to read the blog yet click on the link...
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