Safinah Danish Elahi is the author of Eye on the Prize. Her previous work includes a poetry book titled, The unbridled romance of Love and Pain.
1. What inspired you to become an author?
I’ve always liked reading and writing. Reading has helped me never feel alone. I’ve always felt that someone who puts in so much effort in the written word can never be forgotten. That has been my inspiration to become an author. Leave the world with something to remember by.
2. Writing requires lots of editing and restructuring of sentences. What keeps you going?
I showed the first three chapters of this novel to a reputable editor and asked her if she thinks it’s worth turning into a novel. She was known for her brutal honesty and I thought to myself, I’ll let it go if it’s not good. Once she gave me her good to go, there was no stopping me. I wrote and edited and restructured several times before and after the edit.
3. Without sharing any spoilers, what is the story of your latest novel, Eye on the Prize?
The story is about three women. How life unravels in the competitive world that live in. Their children go to the same school, and they will stop at nothing. Each of them wants something, each of them has their Eye on the Prize.
4. Do you plan your characters before creating a plot, vice versa or does this planning transpire simultaneously?
My characters are my story. You will find my stories more about people, who they are. There is no character that is only good and no one is only bad. I’ve nuanced them on a very humane basis, like all of us. There’s good in everyone.
5. Tell us about other books that you have written?
I have also authored a poetry collection. It has received accolades that have exceeded my expectations. I used to write for myself, with ‘The Unbridled Romance of Love and Pain’ I put my raw emotions out for everyone to feel.
6. What key qualities must an author or a writer have to become a success?
Do not be disheartened. Keep at it. Expose yourself. Many think that they’re not ready to share their work. It doesn’t need to be published but it needs to be read. And do not shy away from rewrites. Write them again, make it crisper. It’s not time lost if it’s used to make something better.
7. Your message for aspiring authors of Pakistan?
Read and write. The best teacher is the books you read. Publish locally; do not wait for your dream to be directed only by an international publisher. Do not give up, there’s an opportunity waiting for you, all you need to do is keep your sack ready.
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