Muscat-based author Farzeen Ashik talks to Y Magazine about her debut novel, Rainbow Dorm Diaries: The Yellow Dorm, and her journey as a writer.
Award-winning author Farzeen Ashik has been on a high ever since her debut novel ‘Rainbow Dorm Diaries: The Yellow Dorm’ was published earlier this year in Muscat.
Farzeen has a huge following and receives scores of messages and phone calls from readers every day.
Influenced by her own life, the book takes readers on an exciting ride down memory lane.
The novel is about teenagers from different walks of life in a prestigious boarding school in Ooty, India.
“During my time as a school student at the Nazareth Convent, Ooty, one of India’s oldest schools, I came across students from totally different backgrounds. All of us had our own stories to tell.
“We helped each other for several years. Many of us are still in touch via phone and Skype. I have so many memories from my school days and ‘Rainbow Dorm Diaries: The Yellow Dorm’ is a memoir of those wonderful days,” she says.
The novel addresses friendships, peer-student relationships, and the challenges and struggles of school life.
“The first draft of my book took almost a year to complete,” says Farzeen.
“However, when I read it, I found it far from appealing but I knew I was on to something interesting. The second draft took me less than four months to finish.” This, her first novel, won the prestigious Montegrappa Writing Award 2017 at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, held in Dubai in March.
A mother of two daughters, Farzeen works as a hospital manager at Aster Al Raffah Hospital in Al Ghubrah.
“My eldest daughter Aaliya is a high school student at British School Muscat while the youngest one Rania is a pre-school student at the same school. My husband Dr Ashik Sainu works in my hospital as Senior Consultant- Gastroenterologist and Medical Director.”
So, how did she find time to write a book?
“When I decided to make ‘Rainbow Dorm Diaries’ a reality, I told my family, and their immediate response was: ‘go
for it’. That was my first motivation. When I told my colleagues, they were more than encouraging. With proper planning, I could balance my time between work and home and complete my book.
“I used to write for an hour every day. I used to spend much time writing at the Boat Club at Petroleum Development Oman.”
Farzeen is now planning to write a sequel.
“Although the majority of my readers are teens, there is a good part of adult fans too. They bought the book for their kids but ended up reading it themselves. “Moreover, their response was overwhelming. Most of these people have asked me to write a sequel, and I am now working on it.”
• ‘Rainbow Dorm Diaries: The Yellow Dorm’ is available at various bookstores including Borders, WH Smith and Amazon Books for RO3.26.