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By Mahsuda, Jun 14 2017 09:32AM

Last night was the official launch of 'The Things We Thought We Knew' in my home town of Leicester and in the Waterstones I worked in over 15 years ago. Surreal is just one word to sum up the night. Surreal to be back in the same store I fantasised about being a writer in, surreal to have all the people I love in one room and surreal to be signing copies of my published novel for them.

As a writer, you quietly tap away at your keyboard, hoping one day all the words you've carefully strung together will be good enough to entertain and enthral readers in the future. You become attached to each character, knowing their habits and innermost thoughts. You plan their futures and fear for them as though they are real, solid people who live around the corner from you. Then you come to the time when you have to let them go. They stop being yours and become others. It's a scary but wonderful time and that time has now come. I hereby release 'The Things We Thought We Knew' into the world! I hope people will enjoy reading the book as much as I loved writing it and cherish those characters as though they are friends. I hope too that other writers will see that dreams can come true. You don't need lots of money and connections to be a writer but what you do need is determination and passion for writing that you can't quit. If the Asian dyslexic girl from the council estate can do it, so can you.

Thanks to everyone who could come to last night's launch (and Farhana Shaikh for the above photograph) as well as my agent James Wills, editor Lizzy and publicist Tom who made the trip up to see the novel off. Now for publication day which is tomorrow (eek!). Let the surreal days continue.

By Mahsuda, Jan 30 2017 02:24PM

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 Fader

The Asian Writer


Pre-order 'The Things We Thought We Knew'

By Mahsuda, Nov 7 2016 03:00PM

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 02:06PM

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.


Winner of the Bristol Short Story Prize,

the SI Leeds Prize and author of  'The Things

We Thought We Knew' & 'How to Find Home'

mahsuda snaith...

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