So what did you do over the summer? Go on holiday? Work on your tan? Catch up with old friends? All legitimate leisure time pursuits, but one BISAD student makes all that seem woefully inadequate. Her answer to the above question: “I published a book.”
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the first day back, IB student Sehar Raza (aged 16) was quietly clutching an interesting looking novel which she had impressively written over the last eighteen months and published over the summer holidays! The bright orange and yellow frames that adorn the front cover contrast dramatically with the black silhouette of a boy and a girl walking away from each other and indicate the passion and turbulence that feature throughout the story of ‘Dark Insanity’. Sehar was more than happy to share her experiences throughout the process.
”Essentially this is just a book about a boy and a girl who fall in love. When foolish mistakes force them apart they have to try to find their path together again. It’s about the couple trying to figure out how to live their lives without each other.”
Sehar worked long and hard to bring the project to fruition, 18 months in fact.
“I would just write and write and write and write whenever I had free time. When I had writer’s block I would just keep writing until an idea came to me. I asked my English teachers to read through some drafts – they were very helpful when it came to editing and encouraging me to always find the right words for the images I wanted to create.”
Sehar’s friends at BISAD had read the manuscript and encouraged her to publish it but she was reticent at first.
“I had no intention of publishing it this early. I didn’t think I would ever be happy enough with it. I used to write pages and pages and then just crumple them up and throw them in the bin without even reading over them. My writing wasn’t matching what I was reading – I didn’t think it would ever be the same level as the published authors I was looking at on my bookshelves. After doing a bit of research I found three different publishing companies, two self-publishing houses and one commercial. I sent in the first chapter and they were really interested, they told me it had potential and wanted to help me edit and perfect it further. However I wanted to have more control over my own book. I wanted to be independent so I decided to opt for the self-publishing route. I’ve always wanted to be an author and now that the chance was there I wanted to go for it.
The young author had this advice to other students who feel that perhaps their writing isn’t as good as they want it to be.
“Reading helps a lot and you have to practise writing as much as you can. The main thing is to write something that you are passionate about, something you have experienced, something you can write truthfully about.”
So what is next for Miss. Raza?
“I still want to improve my writing. I still have a long way to go. In many ways I feel ‘Dark Insanity’ is just a short story. I want to write more stories and novels but I also want to have more life experiences to help me and give me inspiration. I’ve got a comfort zone – it revolves around family and school – and I need to broaden my horizons. During the IB course I’ll be working a lot, but I’m sure there will be problems that I’ll have to face. Overcoming them might lead to some new material. I want to take a gap year when I’m finished, to travel and to work. I don’t want to do the same old ‘Sehar Raza’ thing.
‘Dark Insanity’ is available to order now from Amazon. Copies can also be purchased from the BISAD English Department.