Stories gain life when it is relatable, and life always surprises us with twists and turns, it is you who decides whether to enhance it or make it complex. – Amanda
Hey guys, hope you all are doing well.
Today, I am back with another Author Interview. Recently, I read a book called Sakhi. It is a suspense thriller. You can find out my review of it in the review section. I managed to grab the opportunity to have a quick word with the lovely author Amanda Maricia Raphael, for her debut novel ‘Sakhi- A tale of her secrets’. It was such a wonderful experience to know her. She is such a generous and kind person. Thus, I am posting this exclusive interview with Amanda. You will surely love it. Enjoy!
•Hello Amanda! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and
Hi, I am Amanda, a former Electronic Lecturer who followed my passion for writing when I moved to Germany with my family. Sakhi, my debut book is a story of a young girl who is in a quest to find her biological father. The book comes under the genre of a romantic suspense thriller.
•Describe your writing space.
My writing space is my husband’s home-office space which would be free after six in the evening. It is a simple table, a comfortable chair, my laptop, my notebook in which I would have written hints to be developed on that day, but mostly I come up with something else when I sit to write. I prefer to sit in a closed room to write as I am a person who gets easily distracted. I have some beautiful plants kept on the window sill, which is adjacent to my writing space. I also like scented candles on my table, which would sometimes accompany me in my world of imagination but would add one more task for my IT man to clear up his office table the next morning. I am happy to let you know that a new writing space is getting ready in our home exclusively for me.
•How do you manage to juggle life and writing?
It is an interesting question!
I admit that it is not easy, but anyone can easily do it if writing is your priority or at least one among your first three priorities. I have a little angel who sometimes forgets that he is supposed to be an angel, so I mostly prefer to write in the evenings when my husband is free. But yes, I think about the characters and the situations most of the time, even while I am not physically present in my writing space.
•Tell us about the process for coming up with the cover.
Initially, I searched for photographs which would stand close to the content, but I could not find one. And then it was my friend, a passionate photographer, who suggested Fathima Hakkim, the brilliant artist who was patient enough to draw and redraw it several times until we both were happy.
•What was the inspiration for the story?
Even though I completed this book within a year, the thread to this story was within me for years. It all started with two brothers who were composed of a single soul inhabiting in two bodies. And later on, it developed to a love story.
•What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
This story was planned to portray the perspectives of various characters for the same incident or situation, and so it was challenging to connect the dots without logical errors. To be frank, I could not sleep until I solved it, and today, I feel happy about those challenges as it made my writing experience a memorable one.
•How do you develop your plot and characters?
Initially, I think about character specifications.and then I write hints of the whole story, which helps me to get the skeleton of the plot.
•Talk about the twists and turns, do they enhance the story, add
complexity or build suspense?
Okay, let me bore you with some philosophy!
Stories gain life when it is relatable, and life always surprises us with twists and turns, it is you who decides whether to enhance it or make it complex.
•When you’re writing an emotionally draining scene, how do you get
in the mood?
I roleplay it in my mind.
•Do you have a favourite character that you have written? If so, which one it is? And what makes them so special.
This question is something I always ask my readers when they message me to convey their views about Sakhi. And I get excited when people describe the colour of the love which they enjoyed or even argue about the characters when the grey area is showed. I love to discuss readers interpretations.
Now, answering my question to you, I would say that my favourite character in this book is love, unconditional love! I have tried to bring it in all possible relationships.
•What are your favourite lines from the book?
One can also be silently loud and quietly bold!
•What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
I want them to take Sakhi along with them even after reading it.
•What’s your own definition of an author?
An author is a creator of any written form which would outlive the writer itself.
•What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good
•What books or authors have most influenced your writing?
Mr Vaikom Muhammed Basheer! He is a writer, humanist and a freedom fighter. His simple language and writing style has always influenced me like any other common man in Kerala.
Mr Mitch Albom- His philosophical novel, for one more day.
•What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to watch movies.
•What’s your favourite food?
•If you could invite one person to dinner, who would it be and what
would you cook?
Someone daring enough to test and name whatever I have experimented.
•If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
A Friendly, resilient, smart worker.
•What’s your favourite spot to visit in your own country? And what
makes it so special to you?
Kochi, the queen of Arabian sea.
The second part of the question is the toughest part of this interview. I am bewildered whether it is the beaches, forts, palaces, museums, backwaters, rivers or the practicality of a contemporary metro that makes it special or is it the memories related to the city which makes it special to me. Maybe all of the above.
•Share something your readers wouldn’t know about you.
I am a very bold person until an insect visits me!
City or Village
Cities with beaches
Tea or Coffee
Paperback or e-book
Morning person or Night owl
Movie or Book
Reading or Writing
Beaches or Mountains
•And lastly, what advice would you like to give to a new writer,
someone who is just starting out?
I am no one to give advice, but I would like to share a tip which I used while I was struggling to focus on my writing.
I never used to take mobile phones to my writing space. And after watching the documentary The Social Dilemma, on Netflix, it made sense why it helped me.
Thank you Amanda for giving your time.
All the best for your future projects.