Well, I have two new titles out now, both Ebooks. One is a compilation of the trilogy that I’ve published a couple years ago, The Hakima’s Tale trilogy, which is now available in ONE volume, entitled, The Hakima’s Tale : Undivided. The Hakima’s Tale is now being developed as a feature film!
My second new title is a short collection of desert campfire stories, entitled, “Tales of the Lantern”.Both are available via Amazon.com in the Kindle store.
Tell us something about yourself.
I’m originally from Alabama, but have lived for the last 20 years in the United Arab Emirates. I have four kids and my husband is a native of the UAE.He’s a psychologist and I’m teaching at Zayed University and have co-founded WIFT UAE (Women in Film and Television, UAE).My books, “The Hakima’s Tale: The Revenge of the Blue Jinni”, “The Hakima’s Tale: The Rise of the Warrior”, and “The Hakima’s Tale: The Dawn of Redemption” have become very popular here in the Middle East and I cannot adequately express my gratitude for this!The film will be the jewel of my accomplishments and I’m beside myself with excitement about it!
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always loved the lore of the Middle East which includes Jinn, Flying Carpets, Mystical Creatures and Magic! I thought it was about time these amazing stories had a new beginning in a brand new story that binds the East and West.
How did you choose the title?
I chose “Hakima” because it’s the ancient word for doctor or wise woman of the tribe.This would be the tribe Shayman who is responsible for coming up with herbal remedies and summoning the spirits for help. I really thought that this seemed completely appropriate for this story since my main character is a powerful girl that defends the world from supernatural forces.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
Well many publishers read it and replied that it was a great story but they couldn’t take a chance on an unknown author, but I didn’t let that stop me.I self-published and thankfully, it turned out great!The local community has responded very well to the books, and eventually, the first one did get picked up by a small publisher. The film should catapult the sales of the books, so I’m really looking forward to that!
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
Since childhood, I was imaginative.I’ve kept that part of me alive and well, and I’m still able to delve into my world of imagination any time that I need to. I reached a point where I had so many stories, it was time for a book!
Do you have any writing rituals?
I think that a writer’s environment is very important, and yes I do have my own environments where I feel the most comfortable and creative.I love writing at the beach, in a coffee shop, or sitting in my office.I also love having a brand new notebook when I start a new chapter and particularly love a yellow legal pad with a black pen.There’s somethig about the contrast that makes me want to keep writing.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Well Phoenix Kassim literally means “The Coming of the Divider” which is completely appropriate for a girl who must preserve the boundaries between Jinn and Human.The names for the Jinn were difficult though because I didn’t want them to sound as though they were from any human nationality or group of any kind.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
Of course!I learned who I really am.I know that I am a writer and to be this “weird” (imaginative) isn’t a bad thing, as I thought in childhood.I’ve learned to embrace who I am, and I now believe that to be the key to success.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have hired a better editor.I’ve had the biggest challenges with editing.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and 1001 Arabian Nights
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I’m actually trying my hand at screen play writing now.I’m working on a drama called “Magnolia Grove” that promises great controversy surrounding racism and predjudice. The movie will be about a girl (whilst living in the Middle East) goes back home to Alabama to solve the murder of her father.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Write what you love or what’s nearest to your heart.The writing will always be better!
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
The perfect readers for The Hakima’s Tale: Undivided is everyone young adult and older.Basically, it’s suitable for anyone 9-99!Tales of the Lantern is for anyone who enjoys a chilling tale to enjoy around the campfire.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?