I was lucky enough to get the chance to read “The Rose Within” ( you can read my thoughts about it here) – So obviously I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to interview Sana Pirzada- the brains behind the book.
Read on to find out more about her upcoming projects and how she tackles her busy schedule and still makes time to pursue writing.
1) Tell us a bit about yourself?
• I am a qualified Barrister from the UK and I lived in England for over a decade.
2) Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
• Yes, I’ve always had a penchant for writing and I started at a very early age. I would write poems, short stories but I was never too confident about myself nor my writings so I never thought of publishing anything. I recently then stumbled upon an old box which I kept in England years ago and found most of those long forgotten writings – now when I read them I realise, they were beautiful.
3) What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing something?
• I had the story in my mind for some time and more than that the character of ‘Selina’ had conquered my imagination since I was seventeen. I wanted to elaborate this story around her and therefore bring her to life. That is when I eventually started writing The Rose Within. Also, I started playing the keyboard a few years ago and in doing so learnt how to compose music independently. When I was able to do that, I thought why not write something and compose a piece and hence create a musical like “The Phantom of the Opera”. I therefore took things to another level.
4) What do you like to do in your free time?/What book are you reading now? /Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
• I enjoy travelling. I recently went back to England and visited ancient castles and old ruins. I’m currently reading “The Suspicions of Mr Whicher”– a Victorian mystery.
5) What cultural value do you see in “The Rose Within” ?
• More than cultural value, The Rose Within upholds moral values applicable to any society irrespective of religion and race. I wanted to embody my own ethical and moral principles in the book and I would hope the characters and plot in their dialogue and their soliloquies convey these morality based sentiments.
6) What was the hardest part of writing your book?
• Editing was the hardest part – I would go back to each page of each chapter and constantly make amendments. I always thought, ‘this could be better’ etc.
7) What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
• Each time I wrote about Lucilla, I enjoyed that the most!
8) What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing this book to life?
• I had to do a lot of reading (reading many old and new Gothic works – both poetry and prose). I had to do a lot of historical research regarding simple things like clothing, the model of the car, political backdrop in the relevant era. Whilst I was in England last year for holidays I visited many places like Newbury and Dover Castle so it made life a lot easier to write about them. Psychologically I was afraid that any external obstruction would deter me from completing my task – I was terrified as this was my dream. But thankfully, I was successful at the end.
9) What do you do when faced with writer’s block that helps you get back on track?
• I would face my fears. I would skip the chapter that was bothering me – and would start writing about a scene that was to appear later in the novel but which was more exciting than what I was writing at the moment. This then created a sort of bridge between where I was stuck and future events – I would then get back on track and continue writing chronoligically.
10) If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
• Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde
11) If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
• I would change the era to pre-1900. The only reason why it was post 1900 was because I wanted to mention “The Phantom of the Opera” and the novel itself was published in 1912.
12) What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
• It is at times extremely intense – the mystery is very intricate and multiple narration isn’t employed much in modern day novels which are mainly third person narration. I also think the character of Sarah is unique – she definitely stands out from the crowd 🙂
13) How do you find or make time to write?
• It is perhaps one of the only activities which personally and emotionally comforts me and distracts me from every day worries – that is why whenever I have to, I keep aside all other tasks and just focus on writing.
14) What project(s) are you working on at the moment? / what do your plans for future projects include?
• At the moment I am jotting ideas for my second novel which I’ve titled ‘When an Angel Cries’. It is set in Victorian London and is a legal drama again with a hideously intricate mystery!
15) There’s news that “The Rose Within” is going to be a musical. How’s that coming along and when and where can people expect to see it?
• I’ve already composed three songs for the novel – as soon as I compose a few more and assemble a few actors I plan on taking The Rose Within to the stage in Karachi. We will start from there and depending on finances, will take it further. My ultimate aim is to see The Rose Within on screen and for that I have already started with the screenplay.
16) How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
• I started off as being unsure about my work in my earlier years – but with time I’ve developed the confidence to realise I have a gift, and I’ve tried my best to utilise it in The Rose Within – and hope to pursue it further.
17) . What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
• Write what you feel most passionately about – don’t write to please others. Write your thoughts and feelings – it is a sort of catharsis. Never give up! Whether you have family issues/ financial issues/ whatever problems you may encounter, just don’t give up on your book – if you start something, finish it!
18) How can readers discover more about you and you work?
You can find details on The Rose Within and me on: https://www.facebook.com/rosewithingothicromance/
And my music is available on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa00qMNbn5ojiPL9xsaYBLg