Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I've been writing poems for as long as I can remember. The sound of rhyming words always caught my attention and warmed my heart. I still have handwritten poems that I wrote as early as six years old.
What makes writing your passion?
Writing is the voice of my heart, the wings of my soul..writing allows me to climb past my limits and walls. I am all me, when the pen takes the lead, unchained, unconstrained...free.
How long have you been writing?
I can't state a date since writing has been part of my life all along, I chose journalism at university to make sure writing would be my career, then every job I joined after, had a great deal of writing involved.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
My first book "The Unspoken Voices" felt like my baby. It was published in 2018 by the British Publishing House, Olympia Publishers. It had pieces and traces of my life all over it. For two whole years I have a copy in my bag that I never move without. It has become a part of me.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My selection of poems described many people in my life. People who symbolized the true essence of love, people who carry the seeds of kindness, like those who struggled with tough challenges in their life yet find it in their heart to reply with good to all. I have picked from the faces of the world the ones that lit with love and tried to portray with poems the beauty of their hearts and souls.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Well the only draw back with being a poet is that not so many people are interested in reading poetry books, even those who enjoy poetry and value it, most people would prefer to buy and read different genres.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I am quite lucky that I don't experience a writer's block often instead when I don't write it is rather me not wanting to write and not about me being "unable to write". Its more likely to happen when I am discouraged or feeling empty. But I refuse to linger long in that state and I pick up my pen and I fly away as far and as high as I can.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
I would tell the new poets hoping to take this career; You are a million things in one, release your soul, let it take over your heart and soak it with love before you write. Then befriend your words and write, write everywhere and all the time.... speak your heart without fear. Follow no rules when you write so that you may find your own voice. And never go back and judge yourself for anything your wrote, it is all part of your journey.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
There will be stops in life where you will have to change your path, do not carry regret in your heart, it was meant for your best interest even if at times you think you are losing, truth is you are gaining. I would tell my younger self this poem :
I was once too many
had the ambition of a dozen
possessed the will of a nation
owned the dream of a tribe
held the sun in one hand
called all Earth my land
victorious with no victories
destiny at my demand
my path was full of failures
yet above them I stand..
(From The Unspoken Voices)
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I respect them, appreciate them and I try to understand the reasons, perhaps I learn something new from it ,even if it hurts.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
It's an incredible feeling, nothing like it. Euphoric moment. Appreciation is such a grand prize when you feel you touched the heart of others, brought happiness in any way to people. That is the greatest accomplishment.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Yes, my poems have a lot of my personal experiences and a lot of real life incidents and cases about people I lived with. But also it has a lot imaginary stories, dreams and fantasies that I never lived in reality. Let me share my little poem, it say it all. It's called "A Poet"
I fell in love a million times
traveled beyond the countries I visited
by miles and miles
walked in shoes of others far more wise
died and lived in other people's lives
felt emotions unexperienced by my own eyes
judge me not by my reality,
reality often lies..
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
It is very different when talking poetry.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
The book cover is the doorway to a book, it either resonates with the reader and makes him reach out to look at it or it passes unnoticed and the chance is gone. The book cover is the siren call that draws one to surrender to a book and allow it to consume precious time of his life.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I enjoy very much communicating with my readers, many of them have become friends. I also organise a monthly online open- mic event and many of my readers join in with other international poets to read their poems. It has become a stable event since June 2020, a way to escape the tough isolation that covid 19 enforced on us. It's a day that my readers and I await every month.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
It sure makes me so happy to be appreciated. I have been very fortunate to be featured in several magazines, radio networks and podcast interviews. These are very proud moments.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Jalal as-din Rumi is my favorite Author/ Poet, a Sufi mystic Poet born in the 13th century who wrote the most beautiful poems ever written about love. His ecstatic poems have sold millions of copies in the recent years even though he was born 807 years ago.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I dream big and up there, I see : Maya Angelou, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Battett Browning, Mary Oliver, so many other names. I also have great admiration to Rupi Kaur, she added a new flavor to poetry.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
No, I wouldn't rewrite any of my books, I wouldn't have them any other way. They spoke of a moment as it was in my life, captured the feel and the taste, and that can not be reversed.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
I would choose to be the Poet Atticus, unknown. I admire how he managed to remain disguised, with no features to color his words. He is a free spirit and he will live so long because his readers, not seeing the actual Physical features, can imagine they are him, his words their own words.
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
I would say...Live and let live
What would you say to your readers?
Thank you for giving my words your precious time, for allowing them to be part of your experience and memories. I feel very blessed to have been granted this honor.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I am married to my university colleague and best friend, we've known each other since forever and we have two handsome boys, actually young men, 16 and 12. But I also consider my Brother's kids my own so I would say I have four kids, Mamdouh, Salah, Reem and Seif.
What is your day job if you have one?
I am a Director of The Creative Department in a Mega Mall. I also freelance several other jobs in the media field (documentaries, live television programs and ads for several television networks in the Middle East. I also write song lyrics and I participated in the writing of a couple of movie scripts.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Reading tops the list of my hobbies, but any free time I dedicate to quality time with my family and my Mother who is the light of my life. I would rather be with her anywhere, anytime, any place.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I had the best childhood anyone can ever have. Loving parent who showered me with love. My Dear Father passed away very early but the little years he gave me were heavenly and the memories I have in my heart for him are enough to cover two life times. My elder brother and Uncle took over and cared for me after him and I always felt loved and cherished. God blessed me with a very happy childhood.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Not really, nothing specific...writing is a part of me that grew along, aged and matured as the years went by. Writing has been my companion in life all along.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I am about to publish my third book, it's a collection of poems that portrays how the heart and soul have seasons that colors them with different shades of light. My first two Poetry books " The Unspoken Voices" and "There" , both were published by Olympia Publishers in the U.K.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Education should be a fun process, free of stress, a path of learning that enriches the mind and heart. Children don't need exams to prove their knowledge, they need to enrich and demonstrate their understanding in a friendly, encouraging environment that is fun, entertaining and pleasurable. The pressure of exams is an unessential and nonconstructive element in my opinion.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
1/ I want everyone I know to be blessed with happiness
2/ I want to fly
3/ I want to breath under water
What is your favorite music?
I love Country Music
Share a secret with us 🙂
I am addicted to mangoes, I lose my power to concentrate totally when eating mangoes.