Saba Imtiaz is a freelance journalist in Pakistan whose work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian and The Revealer. Her first book Karachi, You’re Killing Me! has been described as Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Diary of a Social Butterfly, a comedy of manners in a city with none. Here, we quiz her about the experience of writing a first novel, getting published and her favourite genres.
Karachi, You’re Killing Me! is a novel about being a single, 20-something girl in a big city, trying to make a living and find love while the city is falling to pieces
2. Weren’t you afraid that writing a comedy about Karachi may offend certain sections of the society?
Not at all – there have been books and reportage on some of the issues I’ve mentioned in the book, so I knew that there wouldn’t be shock and awe at the stories.
3. What difficulties did you face in getting your debut novel published?
It was a fairly easy process – I worked with a fantastic editor-at-large at Random House India who pitched my book to them and then I began writing over the course of a year.
4. Before this novel, you have worked with many newspapers/magazines. Share with us some of your memorable experience!
There are lots of experiences – from covering a fashion show for pets to getting to report on some very interesting court cases. My favourite story was a profile of Nazo Dharejo, a woman with an amazing life story that involves her picking up arms to defend her father’s land in rural Sindh.
5. Do you identify with your protagonist Ayesha? Which side of her do you think Saba resembles the most?
Not really – my protagonist handles situations quite differently than I do. I think what we do have in common is the ability to speak
6. The cover of your book is really different. How much role do you think a book’s cover plays in attracting an audience?
I’m not in book marketing or publishing, but as a reader I’m definitely attracted to a cover that looks interesting, which is why I like mine!
7. Let’s visit memory lane! Tell us how your journey with the pen began. What was the first thing you wrote?
Was probably something scribbled on the wall, though probably some essay about a weekend family trip to the zoo or the beach or some such. My parents made my sister and I write essays about everything.
8. What part of writing a novel do you love best?
The part where you’re finally done with the final edit! But seriously, it’s where the characters take over and develop a voice of their own and take their own course.
9. Quick Fire- not more than 5 seconds for an answer-
# Romance or Thriller- Romance
# MS Word or Paper and Pen- Paper and pen
# Day worker or Night Owl- Night owl
# Writing in a Café or Park- Cafe
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak to us. It was great interviewing you! IndiaBookStore wishes you all the best for all your future endeavours.