Sarah Khatib is a university student currently in pursuit of her B.A with honours in Liberal Arts. She loves everything do with the escaping reality—like every college student ever—and writing falls under that domain.
Since a young age, she has used writing as a way of expressing herself, in colourful language and in colourful ways.
Although riddled with anxiety, she has decided to take her first step towards a career in writing through the publication of her first book, “When the Stars Whisper”.
TBE: I had an opportunity to read your latest book, “When the Stars Whisper” and I really enjoyed reading it. Could you please tell us more about your book that isn’t in blurb?
Sarah Khatib: Well…the book is about relationships and the fears we all have in high school – especially the ones we don’t talk about. On the surface, it is the story of a boy but as a whole, it is a look into the mind of teenage anxieties and fears.
TBE: What do you want people to know before they start reading it?
Sarah Khatib: Good luck! No, I’m kidding—firstly you need to go in knowing that this book is an amalgamation of many emotions; positive and negative. Secondly, I was sixteen years old when I started writing this book and it got published after I turned nineteen, so the book does have many conflicting opinions and emotions in it.
TBE: You write about incredibly challenging subject matters about the young and adolescent experience. What draws you to those types of difficult circumstances in your story? Is it a way of arming your readers from tragedy, looking at it from the outside, so they do not have to experience it personally?
Sarah Khatib: I have always found it easier to write about these subjects; which I know does sound alarming but I think it stems from this need to decode my own mind. When you feel happy it is easy to figure out why, but when you feel sad or any other negative emotion it sends you off into a spiral and you find yourself in a void; overthinking and then the cycle continues.
I don’t think that there is any such person in this world that can live a life without any pain, so more than being a way to arm the reader it’s a way of saying that you aren’t alone—even though that’s what you will often find yourselves thinking.
TBE: Your characters are incredibly relatable for their intended audience. In your latest book, you have done your utmost to give a voice to teens that might be afraid to speak up about their issues. What was the inspiration behind the creation of Malachi Alakrab’s character?
Sarah Khatib: So, I started writing the book around the time of my first internship during my summer break. At the same time, my seniors were giving their final exams, and it is worth mentioning that I was very attached to my seniors at the time.
After said final exams they were going to leave for different parts of the world and I slowly grew afraid of time zones. Also, as a student who is not allowed to have their phone on their person in school, I used to send out emails to anyone and everyone I cared about—my love language if you may.
I remember going through the unsent emails that I had written and it was through the contents of those emails and my fear of losing my seniors (friends) that Malachi was created.
TBE: Can you take us through your writing routine? What is an ideal writing day for you?
Sarah Khatib: I write when I’m under a lot of stress or have no business to be writing. I distinctly remember it was the night before my philosophy paper and I ended up typing our 14000 or so words—for a story which mind you, is nowhere near done.
In an ideal world, my perfect day of writing would be with a cup of forgotten coffee, a dark rainy sky, complete and utter silence…and music that I can’t understand. I know that no matter what I write I won’t be happy with it, because I will keep on revisiting it and editing endlessly—so a day that starts with editing and ends with writing something that I would enjoy reading in the aforementioned environment is the dream.
TBE: How was your publishing experience with Leadstart?
Sarah Khatib: It was pretty smooth, I mean, I was sixteen and a half when the whole process started. It made me feel very grown up to be doing something that adults do. I mentioned earlier that I edit endlessly, so this book was literally being edited up until the last day—and the people from Leadstart could empathize with the way I was feeling even though, I was pretty sure I was driving them insane.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Sarah Khatib: I am working on many things and at this point even I don’t know what I am doing. So, many plots and so many characters, and different amounts of motivation and inspiration for all of them.