BestSelling Reads continues our series where we help you get to know your favorite bestselling authors better. In their own words, they tell us about how they’ve progressed and grown as writers since starting their literary careers.
This week: Samreen Ahsan, award-winning author of ground-breaking paranormal novels.
Tell us a little about your books.
A Silent Prayer is a sweet romance between a Toronto entrepreneur, Adam Gibson, and a Lebanese girl, Rania Ahmed, that turns into a nightmare when Adam finds out that Rania’s beauty is cursed and possessed by a four-thousand-year-old Jinn. It is the first book of A Prayer Series. The story continues with the sequel A Prayer Heeded.
The second series I penned is a time-travel romance set in twenty-first century London. A modern-day travel blogger meets a recluse prince from the fifteenth century, through a magical mirror inside a cursed castle.
- Once Upon A [Stolen] Time (2016)
- Once Upon A [Fallen] Time (2019)
- Once Upon A [Broken] Time (2021)
- Once Upon A [Hidden] Time (2022)
- Once Upon A [Chosen] Time (2022)
Unveiled is controversial and genre-bending literary fiction where a mother risks her life to join a jihadi camp, in order to find her teenage daughter, who is sold as a jihadi bride, but ultimately falls in love with her enemy to bring damnation. (Not published yet.)
Recruiting Mr. Darcy is a humorous modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, set in Toronto, with Muslim meetups and Iftar parties where people have one motive: matrimony. (Not published yet)
When did you first publish a book?
A Silent Prayer was first published in 2014 and was awarded Best Romance in the Los Angeles Book Festival. It has won other accolades, such as Readers’ Favourite Book Award and the New York Book Festival. The series was republished in 2020.
Did you send it to agents and/or publishers, or did you publish independently?
I published it independently.
Is there anything about your first book that you wish you had written, or done differently?
I believe as a writer, you are never satisfied with your own work and there is always room for improvement. In time, writers learn and sharpen their skills. So if you have an option to rewrite and republish it with better sentence structure, then why not! I did the same. Publishing four more books after my first one, I decided it was time to re-dress my first baby.
How do you think your writing and your books have changed since then?
I find reading literary fiction very helpful when you realize that any sentence can be written with beautiful prose when needed. Also, my post-graduate diploma in Creative Writing and my current MA in Creative Writing help me hone my skills as a writer. And as a frequent traveller, I had learned and experienced a lot many things in person which one can’t do virtually.
Tell us about your work in progress.
My WIP includes WWII fiction, inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, where an SS officer finds himself face-to-face with the lost painting of Raphael, stolen by Nazis. It is considered the biggest art theft to date. I haven’t decided on a title, yet.
My other WIP—also not titled yet—is also historical fiction set in eighteenth-century Quebec. A woman who emigrated to New France after her marriage and finds herself caught up in the first Quebec witch trial. The story is inspired by my recent trip to Quebec City.
What impacts, if any, has the pandemic had on your writing?
My writing had slowed down a bit in the early days of pandemic when the schools were closed and the kids were at home, so it was hard to focus on my work. The libraries and cafés were closed, too, so I could not even find an escape . But gradually, we all got used to it. During my recent trip to Quebec city, I wrote a rom-com.
What are some things about others’ books that you love?
The setting, especially in historical fiction where you cannot visit back in time but you get a feel of it through beautiful words. One of my favourites is the Sisters of Versailles series, set in seventeenth-century France. The author takes you back in time to the Palace of Versailles and how the court functioned. The dresses of mistresses, the settings of each room, chamber and salon, are worth praise.
What are some things about others’ books that you don’t like?
Instant sexual attraction—where two people meet and get laid.
What advice do you have for new or aspiring authors today?
Read, read and read. Do not give up. You are not the first one to receive rejections so embrace yourself with negative reviews and feedback.
Thank you, Samreen.
is an internationally acclaimed, multi-award-winning author. She is a traveller and a history buff by heart. However, art and literature are her passions. She loves digging out information about prophecies, divine miracles and paranormal events that are mentioned in history and holy books, that don’t sound possible in today’s modern world.
“My favourite genres for reading are literary fiction and historical fiction, especially WWII stories.”
Since childhood, she had been into reading and writing—and yes, it can’t happen without imagination, which luckily has no boundaries.
She loves visiting historic cities and their architecture. Her obsession with castles and palaces is quite evident from her travelogue. She has an impossible dream of time travel to the sixteenth century, and meet Leonardo da Vinci.
“I love visiting art galleries and admire Medieval and Renaissance art.”