Today we’re catching up with Leila Rasheed, another of my original 2011 interviewees, who we last met on 15 September 2012. Where did Leila want to be by now? “Hard to say. My contract with Hyperion is for three books so still writing those. I should just have delivered book 2 by this time next year. I hope to have more of my own books published or under contract. I am working on something at the moment that my agent likes, it’s at the self-editing stage. I also hope my teaching work will have expanded to include more workshops in Birmingham”.
Has Leila succeeded in fulfilling those aims? Read on to find out!
Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Yes, rather to my own surprise. I have delivered Book 2 of my series (Diamonds and Deceit, due to be published Jan 2014) and am waiting on further news from the publisher re Book 3. I have sent a complete draft of my own novel to my agent, who likes it, so hopefully that’ll go out to publishers in early 2014. Also a publisher is interested in working with me on another book (one of my own, not publisher led), so that may come to something. This autumn I will be teaching two Creative Writing courses for BAES and one creative writing module for Warwick University.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
I have more teaching work than I thought I would have, so I’m both pleased and a little nervous at the thought of how much work I have on my plate. I feel positive about my own writing, since my agent’s keen on this book and I trust her judgement. This isn’t the usual sort of a business, of course, and neither writing nor temporary teaching and lecturing contracts are well paid, so I can’t say it’s successful in that sense.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I’ve learned that I’m employable by the adult education service, I suppose!
Any more hints and tips for people?
Just that, in case you were considering this as a career and hadn’t already found this out, writers don’t earn a living wage, but there are also benefits, for example flexible working that fits well around having children, and of course the joy of doing something creative and challenging.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
Hopefully I will have at least one of my own novels published, and be in contract with a UK publisher.
It might not be a traditional business but I certainly enjoy reading about how Leila balances her own work, publisher-led writing and teaching in order to support herself while raising her family, don’t you? I hope we have a new book cover for next year’s post!
You can find Leila online at leilarasheeddotcom.wordpress.com
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured. If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my new book, Going It Alone At 40: How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment.