Arts & Culture, Books

“It feels very surreal”: interview with student author Tashie Bhuiyan

Written by Grace Robinson

Publishing a book can seem surreal and unrealistic for a lot of students, a dream that they’ve maybe had since childhood. In recent years though, there seems to be an increase in students who have successfully written and published a book, with some even reaching the New York Times Bestseller list. Like Chloe Gong did, in November 2020, with her debut novel These Violent Delights at the ripe age of 21. Tashie Bhuiyan was able to make that dream a reality too, by publishing her debut novel Counting Down with You being released 4th May 2021.

I asked Bhuiyan a few questions about being a recent graduate from St John’s University (USA) and what it was like holding a copy of her book for the first time.

How did you manage the workload whilst writing alongside Uni?

“I was very organized about my time management. I made sure I cut out specific chunks of time every day to put toward my writing, and had a set word count goal to make sure I was making daily progress! I think when you want something that badly, you find a way to make it happen, even if it means early mornings or late nights to get it done.”

 Did you struggle with motivation whilst writing and studying?

“Thankfully, no! I’m always consuming media in some form (music, television, books, etc.) which helps inspire me, thus motivating me. There are times here and there that I struggle, in which case it’s usually a problem in the story that’s posing a mental roadblock, so I have to go back into the manuscript and find the root of the problem!”

Where did you get your inspiration?

“Like I said before, I’m always consuming media, so I think that’s a huge part of my inspiration. I love filing away specific tropes and scenes and character archetypes that I enjoy, and then applying those to my own writing. I’m also inspired by the world around me and my own real life experiences–every book I write holds a part of me.”

How does it feel to be a soon to be published author at such a young age?

“It feels very surreal. Most days, it’s hard to believe it’s even happening. I feel like I often forget that my book is going to be available for mass consumption, because it still feels like a little bubble right now, but every time I remember, I’m always taken aback in delighted surprise. This has always been my dream and I’m so glad it’s coming true. The fact it’s happening at such a young age means I can keep doing this for so many years to come, which is probably the best part.”

 How easy/hard was it to sell your book to publishers?

“My agent JL Stermer from New Leaf Literary is the one who sold my book to Inkyard/HarperCollins, and she is an incredible powerhouse. My publishing journey went a lot quicker than the usual journey goes, so we sold the book in about two and a half weeks. So it was quick, but I don’t know if it was easy–writing a book is a lot of hard work, so a lot went into it behind the scenes, even if it did end up selling fast!”

Did you have any issues with publishers and your age?

“I haven’t had any issues with publishers and my age! They’ve been super lovely. However, I do think there’s a bit of a problem in the writing community in general where younger authors are looked down upon. But I think the key in that situation is to find other authors around your age and build your own community, which is what I’ve done. It’s been super helpful for navigating the publishing world!”

If you’re a young and aspiring author wanting to make it in the book world, then just look at the success of Bhuiyan. No one should doubt their skills, if you can write a great book then you have every chance in getting it published.

Make sure to check out Tashie Bhuiyan’s debut novel Counting Down with You which came out on the 4th May 2021:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49399658-counting-down-with-you


Grace Robinson is a first-year English Student. She is passionate about Feminism, Politics and Society. You can find her on instagram: @grace.lizz12

Image taken from tashiebhuiyan.com