Behind The Book : Sahana Ahmed






One of the most interesting things I love doing on my blog is interacting with authors. There is so much to learn from each one of them, such inspiring stories to hear along with some much needed motivation. Today we are in conversation with yet another amazing author Sahana Ahmed whose debut novel "Combat Skirts" has released recently on Juggernaut.

Combat Skirts is a novel about falling in love and knowing when it's real. Written in a crisp, peppy tone the writing transforms you into a world of cantonments and may queen balls, and of course, college! If you grew up in an army background you'll find yourself thinking back to your own past experiences; if you didn't, you'll get a glimpse into that life. College is all about many mini-crises, crushes, friendships, tensions and a whole lot of unforgettable memories. And notch up the drama if you happened to be in an all-girls hostel. The short novel packs in all of this and much more.

To let you know more about her, Sahana Ahmed is a fiction writer from Gurugram. Her short story 'Zeenat Aman is not a Soldier' was a finalist of the inaugural Juggernaut Love Story Contest. She is an alumna of University of East Anglia’s Creative Writing India Workshop and ‘Combat Skirts’ is her debut novel. You can read an excerpt from the book HERE along with my review to make sure you grab a copy today itself . Also, you can connect with the author here.



1. To begin with I would like to thank you for sparing your time for us and extend a warm welcome to the blog. Can you please share something about your journey so far?

Thank you. My journey started with being a finalist in the first Juggernaut Love Story Contest. I didn’t win but I was the only one to receive a book offer. This was in 2016, much before their writing platform came into being, so I am probably the first writer who was signed on that way. 

2. Did you always want to be a writer? What inspired you to pursue this?

I think everyone wants to be a writer someday. In my case, it took a trip to the doctor’s office to jolt me into action. I realized I didn’t have forever to gather the courage to start writing properly. I focused all my energies into learning the craft, and that’s how it started.

3. What does a typical day in your life look like? Do you have a writing schedule which you stick to or you write whenever inspiration strikes? Also, curious to know how you battle the demon called “Writer’s block”. 

I don’t have a schedule. If there is a deadline, as was the case with my book, I write religiously. Otherwise, I take it easy.

As far as writer’s block is concerned, the best way to tackle it is to not take yourself too seriously. It’s best to take a break, do something unrelated to the story, maybe to writing even, and come back refreshed. Usually, the block happens when the writer tries to go somewhere the story doesn't agree with. Nine out of ten times, the story is right.



4. The reading scenario in India has undergone a major revamp. From hardcovers and paperbacks we have now reached an age of e-reading with Kindle and various apps like Juggernaut (where your book is published) ruling the roost. To an extent that it is feared that physical books might soon become extinct. Your thoughts on this and how has been your overall experience with it.

The physical book is going nowhere. Having said that, the e-book is here to stay as well. As a writer, for me, a story is a story is a story. But I understand that many readers, mine included, are not comfortable with e-reading. Incidentally, the first scene of my book is set in a library, with my protagonist lost in the scent of a new book. Ironical.

5. For a writer there are always brickbats and bouquets both. Any specific feedback on your work that might have stayed with you. 

Two things I am hearing over and over again. That my writing is too smart for the genre, and that the book is very visual.

6. You come across as a keen observer of life at large, especially with your descriptive narrations so it would be really interesting to know how different is Author Sahana from Sahana in real life? Your writing is witty, peppy and funny. Are you like that in real life as well?

Thanks, and a very interesting question! Am I as witty, peppy and funny as my writing is? No. I am quite boring, and too well-behaved in real life. But the writer in me is uninhibited and takes wild risks. Which, of course, is me too but you’d never know by just looking at me. 

7. Any particular writer or poet in specific who has inspired you the most in your writings.

I have learned a lot from Chuck Palahniuk’s essays on writing. I think there’s a marked difference between my styles pre-and-post Palahniuk.

8. Do we see you experimenting with genres in future? What are you working on currently? Any future projects you would like to share with us?

Writing romance was a big experiment for me; I am more comfortable with writing what’s called literary fiction. A writer friend, in fact, was stumped when he read the range of my work. He said he couldn’t believe it all came from the same person. Currently, I am not writing anything but there’s a book I want to write for my six-year old. 

9. Any tips for aspiring authors.

Don’t talk about writing. Write.
10. Some words for your readers.

I cannot think of anything better than “Enjoy the read!”

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