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Into the Mind of an Author: Amira Awaad

Fresh New Book The Ankhs by Amira Awaad
photo courtesy of Amira Awaad

Tell us a little bit about yourself, anything you’d like your readers to know:
My Dad is a retired diplomat, so up until I was 7, I actually thought that every family in the whole world relocates to a different country every four years. When my older sister laughed and said, “No Sweetie, we move… most people stay where they are,” it was hard for me to assimilate.

What made you to decide to become an author?
I think that all children “make stuff up”. Children are dreamers! Big ones! They readily imagine things without the rigid borders of reality. Some of them write it down, others don’t. The people who continue to write down what they make up (well into adulthood), well, they’re the writers of our world.
I guess, traditionally, people don’t really see you as an author until you pull your work together and publish it (by line and all). In my life, though, I’ve been making up stories in my head since I was a kid. I’ve never known any other way of life.

Who are your favorite authors, and how have they influenced your writing?
Dr. Seuss, Carolyn Keene, R.L. Stine, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, E. A. Poe, Homer, Isaac Asimov.
My favorite authors are the ones I grew up on. They fed my fascination with the world! These are the writers who continued to unleash my mind; taught me to question, to look for details in everything, they made words sound musical and allowed me to hold galaxies in the palms of my hands.
Sometimes I feel stuck, as a published author, and I just don’t know what to do. I imagine looking over my shoulder and I see them standing tall, proud and with smiles, as if to say, “relax, you got this.”

Where can we find you online?
My Facebook Page:
My Amazon Author Page:
My Website:

Tell us about your book!
Okay, so flashback to 2010. For a few consecutive nights, I dreamed of ancient Egyptian queens; very bright, very vivid…and, naturally, I wrote everything!
The Ankhs began to take shape. It follows the life of Hathor (who, if you Google, will find is an ancient Egyptian goddess). However, my shape-shifting, time altering imagination broke the barriers of Google and all other historical research.
I re-created the world that has been carried in my blood for over 7000 years. Red Marks the Child is Book 1 of The Ankhs series. In it, Hathor grows up as an outcast of her beloved community. As she reaches maturity, all it takes is one desperate act on her part to reveal a bitter truth: she isn’t human… she’s no goddess either.
An ancient prophecy, a fabled river of Fire, and the inevitable unification of three objects called “the ankhs” set the world of humans into a race against time!

Everyone has their idiosyncrasies, what’s yours?
Ha ha! I hope everyone I know reads this! I’m as quirky as they come.
You know how they say that some people “think outside the box”? I suppose people don’t think I even know that “the box” exists.
Let me share this with you: I walked with a friend in the street on a hot summer’s day. My friend was thirsty and I had a little bit of water left in my bottle. Rather than give her the water to drink, I poured every drop into the ground by a young tree.
I will give water to a stranger or to a plant that thirsts. No one knows when they last drank or when they will drink again… only that their lips or soil is cracked and parched.
If you encounter me for the first time, I might strike you as different. I won’t always look you in the eye, I twirl my pen to keep myself focused and calm, my Kohl has to be black, my lipstick has to be red, I refuse to eat a salad with any kind of dressing, my hot chocolate has to come with the whip cream served on the side and when I sleep, I have to start off on my left side.
I spend a lot of time thinking about everything. With whatever I conclude, I’m just trying to make a difference in the world and hope that I will have lived well.

What’s your favorite book turned movie and why?
The work of J.R.R. Tolkien! First, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and now The Hobbit! Boy, could Tolkien write! And the movies did him justice. When I watched the movies, I felt that the worlds Tolkien envisioned came to life before my eyes.. that others could see it the way I saw it when I read the books.

What’s your favorite genre to read?
I love a good murder mystery. Give me complex characters and let me try to figure out who dunnit!

Which do you do more, read or write, and why?
These days, I write more than I read. Why?
Because I’m a full time Mom who’s an academic dean. My office juggles school accreditation visits and supervises 15 HoDs, 27 co-teachers, 108 staff members, and monitors the academics of 776 K-12 students.
I write more because, at this time, I feel the urge to outpour the surplus storms in my mind. And I can do this in the wee hours of the night. However, if I pick up a book (novel style) and start reading, I will stay up all night [no joke] until I either pass out or finish it. This, of course, will come with a price the next morning when I am drowning in coffee and trying to command my brain to operate on credit units and credit hours.

What is your writing process like, and what’s your favorite part of it?
At the beginning, I have to write in silence and will readily glare [or throw a pillow] at anyone who dares to threaten my silence. In this time, I am the only one allowed to cry, sniffle, laugh, giggle, or otherwise breathe in this precious silence. The story is still young and the characters and I are meeting for the first time.
At first, it’s my story. I choose the character’s name. I give them an accent or make them stutter. And then there’s a point, and I have to wait for it because I can’t see it coming, when it becomes their story. They can break the stutter.
My favorite part is this turning point. When the tables are flipped and they narrate to me. The characters I develop become so real that I start to see them everywhere. They sit with me around the kitchen table as “we” have our morning coffee or plop onto my bed at night and they laugh with me. It’s during these encounters that they start to reveal the coming events of the story… and I RUN to the laptop and start typing.
When any story nears the end, that’s when the tears come, regardless of the ending. After living through everything together, I realize that I will soon be moving away.. And that I will miss them. I really don’t like goodbyes.

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