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This is me!!

The author who loves writing for children and who keeps on writing as long as she knows that the children are reading her books. The frequently asked questions on this page has many answers.
 
Q & A  
     
 
 
   
This is my husband Mazin, I always read my stories to him. He likes my stories and he encouraged me to write a lot. Mazin is not only my husband he is my friend. My fourth series of books published was called “Mazin’s Family: Ailat Mazin”. It is as well the first series published by my self. Actually Mazin’s uncle Dr. Ihsan Abbas who is a scholar in Arabic literature is the one who boosted my energy when he smiled to me saying “Children are lucky to have you as an author for children’s books”. Although this statement had encouraged me, it is a reminder to exert the utmost efforts to achieve the mission which is "publish quality books that are fun to read."
 
   
 
This is my eldest daughter Saba when she was 1 year old. She is adorable, very intelligent, smart and very sweet. She like to stand upside down and is talented at making cartwheels. We always says “Who does not love Saba?!!!” as everybody loves her. Not does she only like reading but is a fast reader. She can finish a book 334 pages in one week. Isn’t this amazing?? My first series of children books was called Saba’s Tales: Hekayat Saba. They were dedicated to her.
 
This is my son Bakr, he is very sporty and he is always the first one who scores in a basketball game. He is fast and witty as well. He has a lovely smile and many girls think he is quite cute. He is very active and energetic. He is popular at school and among his friends. Many kids who are very much older than him invite him to their parties. I have written a series about him called “Bakoors Diaries: Yawmeyat Bakoor”.
 
 
 
This is my little one Anda. She used to have the cutest curly hair as it shows in the picture. After cutting her hair it unfortunately straightened out. We all miss the curly hair though. She is very clever and she loves dancing and singing. She also likes to read. Everynight, she brings me 4 and sometimes 10 stories for both of us to read together. I have written 4 stories about her. The series name is Anda’s Books.
 

Q & A

Q. Where do you live?
A. I am originally from Palestine, Gazza. I lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and it is a very nice place. I have lived here my entire life. It is my home and all of my family (mother, brother and sisters) live nearby. Our house is near the Ministry of Interior (next to the upside UFO building as the kids call it)! [Top]

Q. Do you have children?
A. Yes, I have a son and two daughters... and they keep me busy! My Daughter Saba is 13 years old now. My Son Bakr turned 11 years old. My little one Anda is turning 5 years old soon. You can see from the pictures that they are very sweet, lovely and very sporty.[Top]

Q. Where did you grow up?
A. I grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in the 1970's and 1990's. It was a great time to be a kid. Not many mothers went to work and the neighborhood was filled with kids. Our building was really fun as we used to gather everyday after 6pm to play all kind of sports. I used to direct plays in my room. The blankets were the theater curtains. My brother Omar and I used to make movies as well. One of the movies we made was named “Shawa Show”. My father used to take us camping in the desert where we used to try driving the car in the empty desert and my father used to barbeque. I had a safe and fun childhood. I think that is what all children deserve. [Top]

Q. When were you born?
A. I was born on October 26 in Cairo, Egypt. I am very good at speaking Arabic in the Egyptian dialect. “Mosh keda Bardo?” means “Isn’t this true?”. People say if you drink from the Nile River you always go back to it. I think they are right, as I like Egypt very much and have great friends there (Inas and Ghada).[Top]

Q. Where are your mother and father?
A. My father was a great man. He was very active and very funny. He always had books next to his bed. He is the one who encouraged me to read when I was young. He was very open minded and we used to have nice talks together. He passed away when I was 22 years old and I will always miss him. He immigrated to Saudi Arabia upon the war in Palestine when he was only 18 years old. Then he studied in Germany. Sometimes he used to speak German in the house and we used to laugh as we understood nothing. [Top]

My mother is a sweet hearted mom. She loves us all and she always makes us what we wish. We love her very much. We feel that she is the heart of the family. She makes great “Kabsah” wish is famous Saudi dish. I love her “basbosah” which is an Arabic pastry. My husband believes that her “Um Ali” is great. Mom lives a minute away from my house, but I wish that she stays with us, so I can always see her and huge her.[Top]

Q. Do you have brothers and sisters?
A. I am the eldest daughter and I have three sisters and a brother. Their names are Naheel, Narveen and Reema. Omar my brother is only one year younger than me.  He is very handsome and is very good in Math. [Top]

Q. When did you decide to be a writer?
A. One day when I was 12 years old, on a rainy day. I loved the smell of the air. I decided to write then. I kept on writing everyday about anything that came to my mind. Then I was involved in publishing a magazine in the school when I was 15 years old. When I was 18 years old I decided to publish in newspapers. [Top]

Q. What was the first thing you published?
A. The first thing I have published was an article in a newspaper called AlSharq AlAwsat. It was called “Hamasat Fata Sharkee-ya” (i.e. the whispers of an Eastern Girl”). [Top]

Q How did you get into writing for children?
A.  When my children were born, I started looking for nice and enjoyable in Arabic books. I couldn’t find any, so I decided to write the stories myself with the help of my children. We had lots of fun writing the stories together. One day, when I was a Managing Editor for a magazine, I found out that my friend and Editor of Chief Ibrahim AlGemri writes books for children. I was very impressed and was very happy to know that about him. He then introduced me to a great person who was a professor, poet and children books’ author. His name was Jamal Amro. He is the one who taught me the A,B,Cs of Children Literature and I am grateful to him.   [Top]

Q. Who are your influences?
A. As a writer I am influenced by “One thousand and One Nights” and “Kalelah wa Dumnah”. I loved books written by Mr. Abdultawab Yosef as well who is a pioneer in children literature in the Arab world.   [Top]

Q. Did you read books when you were little?
A. I read lots of books when I was little. I remember the first book I read cover to cover was “Superman”. Later when I was about 10 years old, , my dad brought me about 12 classical Arabic books for AlManfaloti, Taha Hussain, AlRefai and some great novels written by Najeeb Mahfooz and Ihsan Abdulkadoos. I was 12 years old then and that was great experience.  [Top]

Q. What is your favorite book you have written?
A. It is hard to pick a favorite, but one of my favorite books is Allah Mai!. I am also proud of Bent Am Walad!,.. and Anda Wa Layla Maa. [Top]

Q. How does your work relate to your life?
A. My work really relates to my life! The stories take place where I live. The characters are modeled after people I know. Some stories are experiences I had, like Bent Am Walad, I was pregnant and Saba and Bakr were asking many questions. I have was trying to answer the questions through the story. I believed then that many expecting mother would be asked the same questions.  I also use the experiences that my children and husband have had. You would notice that many of the characters in my books are Saba, Bakr and Anda.   [Top]

Q. What else do you do? What are your hobbies?
A. My hobbies all revolve around helping others.  I am a business consultant as well who helps entrepreneurs to develop their own business. I help them write their business plans and give them guidance. Lately I found out that I like to match make. I like painting as well, but I do not have time to do that. I love traveling as well to different parts of the world. [Top]

Q. What comes first... characters, setting or the plot?
A. I guess I would say the plot, because I first think of a message I want to communicate to my readers. Then I have to figure out a plot to communicate that message. Then come the characters, and finally the right setting. [Top]

Q. Do you write on a computer?
A. I generally write the first draft on my colorful books that have lots of bunnies and teddies on them. Then I keep editing the story until I decide to write it on the computer.   [Top]

Q. Do you have any advice for would-be authors?
A. My advice to authors is to write a lot - in fact, everyday! Write about what you and who you know, for instance, your friends, your school, your brother, your baby sister. If you live next to the sea, write about the sea, the fish and the beach. If you live next to a desert write about the camel, the camp and the four wheel drive vehicles. Write stories that take place in the places you know best!  When you create characters, know everything about them! Finally, please don't try to rush into getting published when you are still a kid! Take time to have lots of experiences, find out what you like to write about, and go to college if you can. Last piece of advice ... read a lot! [Top]

Q. What's your favorite food?
A. Baskin Robins Ice cream is my favorite. I consider Beef stroganoff and “Molikhia Warak” excellent dishes.  I love the steak that Mazin my husband barbeques as well. In general I like good food and I am always thankful to Allah as he always has provided me with good food. [Top]

Q. What's your favorite color?
A. I love green and white!!! Lately I am starting to like red and pink. I do not know what I am going to like next year. [Top]

Q. If you weren't a children's book author what would you do?
A. I would be a fine architect or a fine artist trying to sell my original art. If that didn't work out, I would be selling my painting in charity organizations. When, I was 20 years old, I sold one of my paintings for $200 in a charity bazaar. I was very happy then. I think if I put my head in to it I can draw good art. One day I will be the one doing the illustrations for my books [Top]

Q. What freaks you out?
A. Heights and scary rides, like giant roller coasters! I'm also scared when I see an cockroach.[Top]

Q. What's in the future?
A. More books for sure, and hopefully some animated TV work, as well as a play or two. [Top]

Q. Do you like any sports?
A.
Of course, I love sports. I love basketball. I was very good at it when I was at school. You see I am 173 cm tall and that helps. I love swimming too, Riyadh is very hot and swimming is very refreshing.  [Top]