Friday, May 12, 2017

Author Interview: Samreena Ashraf

Where do you get your ideas? 
I get my ideas from everything and everyone around me. I observe, hear others out, feel intensely, think a lot, ponder over any idea of experiences, and put them all into words.
What is your writing process like?

I usually compose poems. So, I don’t think much about how it should turn out. I just keep an idea in mind and let my hands wander. I don’t like putting limitation to writing and imagination by deciding its structure before actual composition. I write when it comes to me naturally. There are times when you know you want to sit down with a pen and paper and explore the corners of your heart to bring out what’s wanted to emerge from within. 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

I’ve been writing ever since I was in school. To me, it was and still is a way to express myself. It is also something I absolutely love. Becoming a writer wasn’t something I gave much thought to earlier. Though deep down, I did know that writing is what I’d always love doing. I’ve had a very tough year and it was then that my friend and some people suggested that I publish a book. At first, I just went with the flow. Then suddenly, something in me said I have to do this. And so, I did.
Tell me about your book Blue Ashes?  

Blue Ashes is a chapbook. It consists of poems about grief, loss, love, death, but mostly through metaphors. I’ve always found metaphors very fascinating and I use it a lot in my writing. Blue Ashes takes you into a different world. It’s like an escape; we all need one. 
How did you come up with the title of your book?

Blue is a colour of peace, calmness, tranquility. Ashes are residue. Like a phoenix, we all need to rise from ashes of a chapter in our life. Things usually don’t end, they leave behind a beginning, just like residue is left behind and even if we don’t realize it, there is some calmness in beginnings. Hence, Blue Ashes sounded perfect for a chapbook that contains poems on various experiences. 
Do you put yourself in your books or characters at all?

Yes, I do. Not every poem is about me, but every poem has a bit of me in it. There are so many things common to every individual’s experience even if the situations aren’t the same. When you give your writing a personal touch, you connect with people better. You’d know that there are others who feel like you do and they’d know that there is someone who can give words to their feelings and feel they way they do too.  

Tell us something about yourself.

There are so many starting points and so, I’ll just talk about one. I’m 20 years old girl who used to be an Honours student in Political Science, but has quit college because of health issues. In 2016, I underwent 4 major surgeries and a year long struggle to resume normal life. However, my life since has been anything but normal. While going through a lot, there’s so much I learnt in life. It definitely changed me in so many ways. I feel like I have evolved.  Struggle, pain and being hurt, emotionally, physically and mentally takes you on a rough ride. It’s going to break you. At the same time, it can mend you.  You always have a choice. You can either react or respond. In the end, make sure it’s all worth it. 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?


        Instagram: samreena.shl

Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)      Ashraf/dp/1521055297/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1493655085&sr=8-1&keywords=blue+ashes


Samreena Ashraf is a ‘former’ Honours student born in India and brought up in the UAE. She has taken a break from college for more than a year now due to certain health issues, capturing the experience of everything life taught her during this time and expressing them in her words. After spending years indulging in writing as a hobby, she decided to publish her work. When she is not writing, she reads, thinks a lot, and dreams, hoping to make them come true. Once in a while, she experiences existential crisis and contemplates life. Usually, she is found lost in thoughts and sometimes, those thoughts can be found on paper. 

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