Bookshelf: You are an entrepreneur, and now an author. How did this happen?
Samiah: I just added author to my portfolio. I have always attempted writing books from about the age of nine. Once I had a story I wanted told badly enough, I sat down and wrote it.
Bookshelf: Your book appeals to the religious aspects of everyday life. How do you expect it to help shape lives spiritually?
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Samiah: I really wanted my book to serve as a reminder of many aspects of life, and if there is one thing I have gotten from most reviews, it’s that it has done exactly that. I’m especially pleased by the fact that even though it is written based on Islamic values, it’s been read by many non-Muslims who have found it very relatable.
Bookshelf: What did it take to complete the book?
Samiah: I wrote the skeletal part in one weekend. It took me about two and a half years to flesh it out to a point where I was satisfied. This was largely because I am super busy most of the time with work and family.
Bookshelf: With reading culture said to be on the decline in Nigeria, do you feel your book would make an impact?
Samiah: I actually don’t think reading culture is on the decline. I think how we read is just changing from paper to electronic. I was confident about the story and knew that all it would take is a few people reading it and it would catch on, and that is what has happened.
Bookshelf: Were there times you felt like quitting? What kept you focused?
Samiah: I was absolutely under no pressure, so I worked at my own pace. I made sure I finished the book, because I wanted to share a message and also to earn blessings from God. Those were strong motivators.
Bookshelf: What would you say was most challenging about writing ‘Journey’?
Samiah: Consistency of the story was tricky, and the editing was tough. Even with painstaking editing, a few typographical errors still slipped through. This bothered me for a while, but I now absolutely love the fact that it’s an imperfect book and think that, in itself, is a lesson to be shared. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be done, nor does it have to be perfect to make an impact.
Bookshelf: What books have inspired you to write?
Samiah: All the Enid Blyton books I buried my head in as a child made me believe in storytelling. That was probably my biggest inspiration.
Bookshelf: What lessons do you think can be learnt from your book?
Samiah: Several. First, trials are constant throughout life, but with every hardship, there is always ease. Faith, regardless of how we proclaim it, should not be a form of division; rather it should be a form of unity. And life in itself is a Journey with parts of it smooth and easy and others bumpy and tough. What gets us through is God, faith and family.
Bookshelf: Do you have plans of writing more books? If yes, what are you presently working on?
Samiah: I had honestly thought this would be a one-off and I could tick it off my bucket list, but I got inspired to write another and I am currently finishing off the skeleton for that mentally, and then I will start typing it out.
Bookshelf: What themes do you plan to explore?
Samiah: I’m very interested in writing a series of children’s books, and I am quite certain I would someday soon, in shaa Allah.
Bookshelf: When do you get the most inspired to write?
Samiah: I get inspiration for most things when I’m up praying in the middle of the night, and it’s the same with writing. Even the title of my second book and the idea for it, came at the same time.