Hello Readers and Writers!
Today I would like to introduce you to an author who has crafted a story showing that the good and bad in a person isn't always as clearly defined as it seems and that perpetrators can also be victims. Her take on crime fiction is unique as she looks at the relationships of her characters in a broad spectrum.
Introducing Sakinah Baksh
When did you start writing as a career?
I've been writing since 2001 but didn't seriously consider publishing my stories and selling them until 2012. This happened after I started uploading my stories on a site called Wattpad and realized it was possible for other people to enjoy my writing. People who weren't my family, friends, or biased because they knew me in person. So yeah, I think I started writing with the intent of becoming a full-time author in 2012.
What's your current work in progress?
I have several unfinished writing projects but, at the moment, I'm working on Volume Two of my novella series, Don't Disappoint Me. It's about 70% done so far and I'm hoping to finish writing and editing it before the end of the year.
Tell us all about your book "Don't Disappoint Me". What inspired this book?
Don't Disappoint Me: Volume One is the first book of a novella series based around the relationship between a stalker and a criminal. The main character, Vix, is obsessed with her colleague, Tiro. Though she takes pictures of him and follows him around, she tries not to get involved in his life. Don't Disappoint Me begins on the night that all changes for her. As for what inspired it, well, that's a bit of a strange one to explain. I was watching a video with my favorite Korean idol and a single expression on his face brought one of the characters to life in my head. The rest of the story tumbled out bit by bit after that.
How long did it take you to write your book?
I think I started writing Don't Disappoint Me in November 2018, according to my Word document data. I posted a preview of the story on my blog and on Wattpad in January 2019 and published Volume One in December 2019. So it took me just over a year to both write and edit the book, though the story is far from over.
How does this book rebel against the status quo in your genre?
To be honest, I don't really pay too much attention to books in the same genre as mine, though I've heard that doing so is important because it helps you understand what the audience is looking for. From what I've read though, I think a lot of thriller/crime stories focus on the depravity of the crime/criminal and the efforts of the detectives trying to hunt them down. In Don't Disappoint Me, neither of the main characters work for the police or belong to a criminal organization. I wanted to highlight the fact that the good and bad in a person isn't always as clearly defined as the Yin-Yang symbol and that perpetrators can also be victims.
You participate in #VSS365. Tell us about that and how it has affected your writing.
For those who don't know, VSS stands for Very Short Stories and the 365 reflects how participants are offered a word prompt every day of the year. Each very short story on the word prompt of the day and, because it takes place on Twitter, the word count is very limited. By taking part, I've learned how to tighten my writing style and cut out unnecessary words which comes in very handy when editing my own full-length stories. And I have fun exploring new scenes and characters every day too.
How do you manage writing time? Is finding writing time an issue for you?
This is probably my greatest challenge as an author. I have new ideas all the time and stories that are just dying to be written down straight away. But I work full time during the week and my daily commute there and back is approximately an hour and a half long. Despite this, I've managed to write a blog post every day for the past year. Once I hit my 365th post, I'm going to reduce my blog posts to once a week and use the other 6 days of the week to work on actually writing my stories instead.
You have a blog, "Observations of an Introvert". What inspired you to share yourself with readers in this way?
I used to run a business blog whilst working as a Hijama (cupping therapist) and wanted to try sharing non-fiction content in a personal blog in a similar way. But I wasn't very good at blogging consistently. Approximately a year ago, my brother suggested that I document my journey from writer to published author. I'd been meaning to get into the habit of writing something every day for a while so I decided to combine the two and use my inactive blog as a platform for sharing my “Writing Trail” and connecting with a potential audience before publishing my first book.
Do you have any plans to write outside of your current genre?
Most of my stories tend to have thriller/romance elements but, aside from that, I don't think I really stick to one genre in particular. However, I do intend to try writing a horror story one day, though I don't have any specific ideas for one yet.
What are your hobbies?
When I'm not working, I love watching anime, Korean dramas, and the occasional TV show. Most of the time, I read webtoons and manga on my phone. I've recently taken up cycling to work and podcasting, though I'm not sure if those can count as hobbies. I do enjoy doing both. (Not at the same time, of course.)
Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
Years ago, probably around 2012, I tried sending query letters to agents but that didn't work out for me. I was too impatient and didn't like the idea of waiting around only to be rejected over and over again. It just wasn't something I was keen to do, even if it was the only way to step into the world of published authors. A while after, I discovered the option of self-publishing and weighed its pros and cons against those of traditional publishing. I liked the amount of creative control offered by self-publishing and wanted to try publishing a novella series that would probably not be accepted by traditional publishers due to its length and style. So I decided to become an independent author and planned to do whatever I could to be a successful one.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
If all goes well, I'm hoping to have at least two books published by the end of the year. I have so many stories and characters to share with my readers in a variety of genres. A very long urban fantasy series. A whole new species based in space. Short stories and stand-alone novels. I look forward to introducing them to entire worlds and hopefully waking up their minds and hearts alike.