This week, I had a deep conversation with author Ayesha F Muskaan, about her debut novel Divine Souls and her life as a writer. She started writing at the age of six and got internationally published when she was just nineteen.
Read on as Ayesha talks about her book, inspirations, struggles with publishers, lessons she learnt after publishing the book, and more.
1. Let’s begin with a brief introduction of yours and an overview of your book—Divine Souls- All Beyond Proximities.
I began writing at the age of six. When I was just four or five years old, my teachers had predicted that one day I’ll turn out to be a writer (that note still remains with me).
The credit for this goes to my darling mother who gave me the English alphabets book when I was just two. At times I also feel that the art of writing within me is inherited, as my family comprises of good and well-known writers. I was never forced to follow the league and was allowed to excel in my forte.
I got published at the age of 19 in the Poets International magazine. Till today, this magazine is helping me to connect with writers worldwide. I really feel honoured to have worked with a magazine that publishes legendary writers who have won national and international awards for their work.
Due to health issues, I had to take a break from writing. But when I came back from ICU, I wrote short stories on my blog for the first time. These stories, “Counting Seconds” and “The Dancing Feet”, received an unexpected and amazing response from readers. Once again, my pen had given me the strength I needed in life. Going ahead, I planned to pursue a PhD from my state.
Divine Souls- All Beyond Proximities
My book “Divine Souls” is something that was totally unplanned. I couldn’t pursue a PhD as my preferred subjects were not there. I felt low and let one year go by. However, I was posting my write-ups on Instagram and people were loving it. I began writing the book to come out of the chaos of my life. My sir helped me with the title suggestion.
I penned down all the raw emotions of my life in a fiction format and the reviews I received are just “Divine”. Most of the readers could relate to the story. Some of the readers criticized my work but the number of such readers was very low. I’m thankful to them for they help me improve my writing.
2. Where did you get the idea behind the story of Divine Souls? Do the characters come from real-life incidents or from your own imaginations?
Divine Souls book is basically based on two real-life stories, one of which is very close to my heart. The book aims to show what are some of the most important things to set up a good family with healthy bonds.
3. What inspired you to become a writer and come up with a novel?
My mother inspired me, as I have seen her reading books vivaciously since childhood. I always wished that she could read something written by me and adore it. Therefore, the love for reading and writing grew.
4. What were the main challenges that you faced to find the right publisher?
I faced a lot of issues to get the editing of my book done. Those who were in charge of the editing had not mastered English.
I was promised that the grammar stuff would be taken care of, but I had to edit it more than 20 times by myself. Hyphens and commas were big issues, and words like ‘peace’ were typed ‘peas’, because I had picked up the minimum package. I really had to struggle hard with publishers and the issues were sorted only after the extra payment. Finally, I’m satisfied as the reviews are good.
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5. Really excited to know about the emotions that you felt when the first copy of your book hit the market. Can you please describe the emotions that you went through?
Honestly, I was preparing myself not to be much excited. It’s because a few people had written about me prior to the book launch and it was arriving from international poets.
But the minute I had the book in my hand, it was a surreal feeling, just like a child given his favourite toy which he longed for a very long time.
6. Three lessons that you learnt after publishing your first book?
First, don’t trust the social media ads of publishers blindly. All are claiming to be the best.
Second, do good research not just about the price, but also about the genuine factor of publishers.
Third, criticism is supposed to be taken seriously, but it is more important to know who is criticizing. Is it from an expert in literature or from Tom, Dick, and Harry?
7. You also share your feelings and emotions in the form of short write-ups on Instagram. Would you like to share three of your favourite write-ups with our readers?
Dear Death— Ayesha F Muskaan
Dear death, kindly be less proud when you approach me.
For I have elevated self with good deeds and erase of your fear.
As I approach to the ultimate force,
There runs a deep believe in me that
I shall connect to all the souls I have loved immensely.
I don’t know— Ayesha F Muskaan
Where these steps lead me to.
All I know is I am dancing
To my own tine
In my own way
To satisfy my soul
For now I wish to understand myself,
Through! My own ways
And not from the ways of world.
Vibrant She— Ayesha F Muskaan
She is deeply filled with grace
Illuminating herself in sunlight rays.
She craved the word wisdom
With bleeding hand, in a hypocritical system.
In midst of chaos, she is the silence
She is more judged by her appearance.
Never can she be described in a word,
For she wears colors of every beautiful word.
More vibrant than vibgyor,
She is never cold, just treats you the way
How you did before.
8. Apart from reading and writing, what are your other passions in life?
I have an interest in photography and music as well.
9. A quick-fire round:
–Whose advice do you seek when in a dilemma?
My mother and Sanjeev Sir. Both of them help me a lot when I am in a dilemma. But now they want me to be independent and trust my own instincts.
– Five favourite books?
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- Train to Pakistan by Khuswant Singh
- Nirmala by Premchand
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
–What advice did you get that was the most rewarding?
Know your critics well. Are they really expert in the literature field?
–Writers, that inspire you the most?
- Premchand Ji
- Jalaluddin Rumi
- William Wordsworth
10. What’s next for Ayesha F Muskaan? Any more novel we can expect from you in the coming time?
Yeah, I have another novel coming out soon – “In Search Of Eternal Truth“, probably in a few months. I am here to stay. I wish to touch as many hearts as possible with my write-ups.