Question & Answer

Did you always know you wanted to be an author?

No. But I have always loved children’s books, and publishing my own was only a dream. I never thought I would be able to do it, until a publisher took interest in the first few stories I wrote.

Do you have any input in choosing the illustrator of your books?

To a certain extent, yes. In most cases, it is the publisher who matches the text with the most appropriate illustrator for it. When the illustrator starts the work, then we are in constant touch. I give my remarks regarding the illustrations, and the artist suggests minor text changes. Text and illustrations should complement each other.

Do you have any unusual writing quirk?

Sometimes I suddenly wake up in the middle of the night with an image in my head that quickly translates into a potential character or event for a picture book. Funny enough, two of my published picture books came to me that way.

I'd like you to visit my school. What should I do?

Please send me an email with the details, and we will discuss this further once we agree on the time.

What did it feel like to hold your first published book in your hands?

It was actually during the International book fair in Beirut in December 2004. That’s when I first saw my first 4 picture books. My family and friends were all around me, congratulating me and being very happy for my achievement. I felt like a princess that day.

What is the best part of being an author?

The freedom of writing about anything you want, and the ability to create characters and fictitious lives.

What is the best writing advice you have ever received?

Write the first draft for yourself, without much thinking of language or content, and don’t worry about the reader till you start editing your story.

What is the best writing advice you'd give aspiring authors?

Read as much as you can before you start writing, and never imitate or reproduce something similar to what you read.

What is the most difficult part of being an author?

The difficulty is in transforming a deep, complex, and sometimes philosophical idea, into a simple story for children. Authors need to put a lot of effort and knowledge in adapting the story to the age group they are addressing. Children’s authors have a big responsibility, and I am aware of it all the time.

What is your writing schedule like?

Writing, reading and doing research for my stories are the main activities of my days, and everything else revolves around that. If I am immersed in writing a new story, I work constantly for hours. I forget the time. But there are days, of course, where I feel drained and not able to write. Fortunately, this feeling passes very quickly.

What would you like to say to your readers?

I would like to thank them for the great feedback I get from them and for the inspiration they ignite in me. I would also like to thank their parents and educators for encouraging them to read Arabic books, and for the wonderful comments they leave on my facebook page and through emails.

When did you start writing?

I have always found writing the best way to express myself. I have been writing since I was a child, but I took this hobby seriously and turned it into a profession in 2004.

Who are your favorite authors?

Some of the authors I really like: Dr Seuss (Theodor Geisel), Leo Lionni,  Roald Dahl, C.S Lewis, Eric Carl, Ezra Jack Keats, Cornelia Funk...

You have written over 110 books for children. Do you have a favourite?

Every book I write has a special meaning to me, that’s because when I write I put deep feelings and personal impression, but in a discrete way that might not get through to every reader. Only those who know me very well link my picture books to my personality and inner self. “The story of Noura” is very dear to my heart because it resembles me a lot. I say that, and I feel guilty for not mentioning any other one.