Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ask the Author January 2011

Tabitha asked: Are you married?
A. Yes I am married.
Tabitha asked: If so, how long have you been married?
A. 5 years
Tabitha asked: Do you have any children?
A. No children.  As soon as our marriage becomes legal under Saudi law (which is my husband's country) hopefully Insha Allah by February 2012 we will be adopting from the orphanage in Riyadh.  I suspect I have PCOS which is why I haven't gotten pregnant but won't know for sure until I can start getting tested. 
Tabitha asked: What made you want to convert to Muslim?
A. The correct term is Islam. Muslims are followers of Islam but I see this often with people referring to Islam as "Muslim" so no biggie to me.  A lot of things made me want to convert to Islam (you can read those reasons in my book Through the Dark) but basically as a religion I wanted a religion where as a woman I had rights and Islam proves science and makes the most sense to me out of all the other religions.
Tabitha asked: How long have you been writing?
A. With my children's book, Deer and The Tiger, I first wrote that at nine years old.  I then rewrote that three times.  I would say I have been actively writing since I was 12 years old.  It's my only real talent I have (Alhamdulillah) and was a way to get my emotions out on paper. I also used writing to get me through the abuse I endured as a child.  Most of my works as a teenager were dark.  A book I was working on before I landed in the mental hospital at fourteen for two weeks, I was on chapter 8 of that book, was called In the Shadows of the Night which was about a girl that ran away from an abusive boyfriend and fled to New York (when I tried running away at eighteen I had highlighted Nevada, British Columbia, Nebraska and New York as possible places to run away to in one of our encyclopedias) but she was constantly raped and if I remember correctly was pregnant somewhere in there though I don't remember which chapter and the book was very sexualized for a fourteen year old who had endured 7 years of emotional and physical abuse, six of those years of sexual abuse and being almost sexually assulated at 11 years old like I was as a child.  I find that putting the stuff I went through out on paper with my charcters helps me more than counseling and therapy every did at dealing with my abuse.
Tabitha asked: Who is your favorite book author?
A. I actually have a couple.  If we are talking about poets then it has to be Edgar Allen Poe.  I love his short stories and poems.  My favorite poem is The Raven and I get real passionate when reading it.  I remember seeing "The Fall of the House of Usher" as a child on TV (and now I can't find it on netflix or on amazon).  In eighth grade English we read his short story "The Tell Tale Heart".  As for an author I love Charles Dickens.  My favorite books are Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. I have yet to finish Oliver Twist and haven't yet read A Tale of Two Cities.  I like Jack London's Call of the Wild though it could do with being a bit longer as well as his book White Fang (wolves being one of my favorite creatures).  Regarding Emily Dickinson, her works while nice don't really capture my attention like Edgar Allen Poe. I like classical books though I do not like Dracula.  I can't stand reading books told in diary/journal format. That style just doesn't appeal to me.
Tabitha asked: What is your favorite book?
A. I have a few to be honest.  As far as books go I happen to love Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.  Though I admit some parts of the book were disgusting (like the rats eating one of the kids), however it actually relates (to me at least) an important part of American History as far as the FDA and food safety is concerned with talking about the horrible conditions that immigrants and animals were put through during that era.  I wish there were more books that addressed often subjects in our history that people didn't know about.  For example I think it was in middle school that I first read The Jungle.  Before that and since then I haven't read anything about the conditions of immigrants though their plight fascinates me which is part of the reason for my writing Broken Borders.  Another thing that interests me is the plight of child labor (which still exists in many countries outside of USA and Western Europe) which I think is not talked about in politics/global society.  I also like Oliver Twist.  As far as book series: I love Lord of the Rings Trilogy though I haven't read the books yet but have seen the movies and have the first game for my PS2.  I also love Harry Potter series and the Artemis Fowl books though I've only read the first three of those. Three childhood book series that were favorites of mine that I have gone back to collecting is The Boxcar Children along with The Animorphs and The Chronicles of Narnia.  I do miss Goosebumps and wish they would be reprinted.
Tabitha asked: What is your favorite book you have written?
A. Out of the books I have written so far (Deer and The Tiger, the first four books of Little Muslim, Broken Borders, Locked In, Silent Stalker, Crystal's Jihad, Sands of Time, and Prophet Yusuf (Jospeh) Peace be upon Him) I would have to say my favorite book has been writing Locked In followed by Broken Borders.  I can't read Broken Borders without crying when reading chapter seventeen.  I am looking foward to working on The Coming Dawn which I'm stuck on with planning at the moment as well as Soul Stealer.
Liz asked: I would like to know when did you start writing books and where do you get your stories from?
A. I've always been a writer though I didn't start actively writing until I was twelve years old.  I wrote my grandmother a simple puppy book though I can't remember when that was written but it was probably done when I was in headstart or Kindergarten.  As for Deer and The Tiger which was my first book I nine years old.  That was really my first book and I ended up rewriting it three times. It was at fifteen that I decided that I wanted to be an author.  Of course when asked what I wanted to be in the mental hospital after I replied I wanted to be an author I was told by one of the counselors there that 'only college graduates could be authors'.  I began working on a book called In the Shadows of the Night at fourteen before I got sent to the first mental hospital but that book was sadly destroyed by my mother who must have found it for I never found it again.  I wrote off and on over the years, staring books and never finishing them. Heck I don't even remember what half of the stuff I began writing was about.  I get my stories from things I am interested about, my imagination or dreams.  Example is Locked In is based on my fears for the American Muslims whereas Broken Borders is based on my interests in illegal immigration and my desire to show Americans that illegal immigrants are people just like you and me who may break the law but it's just to provide a better life for their families.

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