Written by Attiya Khan
It all started as a writing exercise in a creative writing class. “Write an inciting incident!” the tutor said and within minutes there appeared on the page shy hijab-wearing Aisha being saved by the bus stop bullies by the gorgeous Darren. It got such great feedback that I knew I just had to pursue this idea. It seems that everyone was interested in cross cultural relationships and forbidden love.
Writing Ten Steps To Us
Over time the story grew. I wanted to play with the idea of being caught between two cultures and not quite fitting into either. I wanted to explore the angst that brings. But more than that I wanted to recreate what it feels like to fall in love with someone who is off limits. We’ve all been there right? Where you can’t get someone off your mind, you think about them all the time and over analyse everything they say to you and think about whenever they looked at you lovingly. When you know you shouldn’t like them but you just can’t help it.
I listened to a lot of love songs while I was writing this book, from the Shangri-Las and Donna Summer to Aisha’s go to favourite Harry Styles. All teeny bopper stuff that reminded me what it was like to be a teen and being totally infatuated with someone.
Aisha and Darren
I also wanted to explore what it feels like to be a minority in an all white environment. I grew up in Kent and remember feeling awkward and uncomfortable, embarrassed about talking about my religion, mentioning fasting and not drinking. People staring at you like you’re weird. Being totally stuck in the middle of two worlds.
That’s why when Darren comes along Aisha finally has someone she can connect with. He gets her and she gets him. She’s actually happy. So when she has to let him go that’s why it hurts so much. I listened to a lot of heartbreak songs while writing that section and shed a lot of tears when remembering what it feels like to have your heart ripped to pieces!
Find more from Attiya Khan
Interview on TTR: https://thetableread.co.uk/author-interview-attiya-khan-ten-steps-to-us/
Goodreads: Ten Steps To Us by Attiya Khan | Goodreads
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