Raashida Khan – Author Interview

About the author

Raashida Khan (Raashi) is a 51-year old South African Indian Muslim living in Johannesburg. She was born in Durban, her favourite city where she lived for the first twenty-seven years of her life. Raashida studied at the University of KwaZulu Natal qualifying with BA Hons (Economic History) in 1992. Raashida worked at a bank before marrying and moving to Gauteng where she worked as a project manager at three NGOs, and in client service at several marketing and advertising agencies. She loves books and reading and has always wanted to write fiction.  Raashida has been married for twenty-three years and has two sons, aged 20 and 18.

As a caring, compassionate and empathetic person who loves observing people and life, she is a storyteller of note. She would like to be remembered as ‘never boring.’ A content creator, copywriter, editor and proofreader by day, she is as passionate about being an author, poet, wife, mother and friend – a unicorn that does exist. Raashida facilitates workshops on writing prose and poetry and discussions around her passion projects.

Her short story Your Voice, My Strength was selected as the winning entry for the 2017 Irtiqa Online Magazine (South African Muslim Women’s Short Story Competition). Raashida was on the judging panel for the 2019 Irtiqa Short Story Competition. Another short story, It’s not Funny, appears in the Happy Holidays Anthology available on Amazon. Her contribution, Hungry, darling? appears in Saffron: A Collection of Personal Narratives by Muslim Women (launched 8 April 2018). Another of her stories appears in The Drumbeats for Africa (an anthology project by The Durban Review). Womandla (collection of women’s short stories, essays and poetry), launched earlier this year in Durban, features her short story, A Hundred Times Over.

Raashida’s first novel, Mirror Cracked won the Minara Aziz Hassim Literary Award (Debut category, 2017), and has been serialised into a radio drama by Lotus FM. Fragrance of Forgiveness, the sequel, was launched in March 2019, and has been very well received. She has also published an anthology of poetry, Happy Birthday, Raashi, and a collection of short stories: Your Voice, My Strength and Other Stories. In the meanwhile, she continues penning emotional, emotive poetry and the occasional social commentary blog.

Getting to know the author a little more…

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Since forever. I’ve been saying I wanted to be a writer from when I was young, but only got started a few years back. 

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

About a year, that includes the editing process as well, which is quite intensive.

3. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

When I’m writing, I work 3-4 hours in the morning and about two hours at night. I aim for a minimum number of words a day so keep going until I reach the target.

When I’m editing it’s also about 6 hours a day, but sometimes longer if I have not completed the prescribed number of chapters. 

4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I’m not sure if you would call it a quirk, but I love engaging with readers. I really appreciate honest feedback and feel that my writing has improved because of it. I’m pedantic about editing and would never send anything out unless it’s been edited. I always delay starting writing as I feel the thought process before starting has positive impact as various options can be considered and discarded.

5. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

From my imagination and from reading widely. I’m also inspired by actual events that happen in reality – sometimes these are way more dramatic than anything that is actually written as fiction. One of my favourite quotes is: ‘truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to be believable.’ I’m not sure who said it and I’m paraphrasing as I remember it.

6. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

2017. 48 years old.

7. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, walks in the park, read, spend time with family, read, cook, watch movies and series, read. Or, yes, and I love to read.

8. What does your family think of your writing?

They are very proud of me. Some family members have felt that I am very brave to tackle controversial topics, and others have been quite shocked by the sex. My novels are far from sexual though. If sex exists in the books, it’s only because they serve the characters and the story. (My new book, The Cursed Touch, has no sex).

9. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

I’m braver than I realised. I am an authentic writer which means I am very honest and reveal myself in my writing, especially my poetry, but even if you read my fiction novels, you will get to know me a little. That has surprised me as I always thought I was quite a private person.  

10. Do you have any suggestions to help someone become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Read, ask for feedback from readers, listen objectively to feedback, and most importantly, use a professional editor.

11. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to be a travelling photojournalist. And I wanted to be a writer.

If you would like to get your own copy of Raashida’s books, you can find them at the below links on Amazon:

Mirror Cracked https://amzn.to/2Xtebmn

Fragrance of Forgiveness https://amzn.to/2XvZwXz

Your Voice My Strength https://amzn.to/36Ybigw

Happy Birthday Raashi https://amzn.to/2MoL9Of

If you would like to see what Raashida is up to, then you can find her in the following places:

Website: www.raashisreflections.com
Facebook: @Raashisreflections
Instagram and Twitter: @RaashisReflect

Raashida sent me a copy of her book of short stories called ‘Your Voice My Strength and other stories’ so that I could read it and give her feedback. I was going to add it to this post but decided to add it to next week’s latest reading list post.

That’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed getting to know Raashida and seeing the author behind the books.

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