Preeti Shenoy: My second book was rejected 38 times but I never gave upNovember 10, 2017

Preeti Shenoy and Maha Khan Phillips, acclaimed authors from India and Pakistan respectively, shared the stage for a jam-packed student session at Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF). The interactive question and answer session they hosted, and which was attended by hundreds of children from across schools in the UAE, gave an insight into the authors’ lives and shared tips to help those considering taking up writing.

Starting the conversation, Maha Khan Phillips, who is a financial journalist as well as a bestselling author, said; “I started writing when I was nine years old. I have always been very passionate about writing and enjoy being imaginative.”

Maha, the author of ‘Beautiful from this Angle’ and ‘The Curse of Mohenjodaro,’ said that to come up with interesting characters in her stories she poses silly questions to herself.

“I ask myself; ‘what kind of toothpaste brand does my character use?’ and ‘what would be the biggest fight they would have had with their siblings?” she told the students in the hall.

For her turn, Preeti Shenoy, who is among the top five bestselling authors in India, interacted with the students and shared her secrets to becoming a successful author.

“You need these five things to succeed as a writer – discipline, the ability to keep going in the face of failure, minimising television time, having a hobby and ignoring other people’s dramas.”

Elaborating on the second point of advice, she said; “My second book was rejected a total of 38 times. Each time I sent my manuscript to publishers, I received a negative reply and this is when I had already had one book successfully published. But I never lost hope. Today, the same book has sold over one million copies,” she said triggering a loud round of applause.

SIBF 2017, which is underway at Expo Centre Sharjah, is hosting a number of sessions for students to encourage them to read more and to give them an insight into writing as a profession. The fair concludes this Saturday, November 11