Interview with Amira Awaad

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, my English teacher in the 7th grade asked us to write a two page story for homework.

I handed in 27 pages the next day. It was a story about a young boy who finds a flying carpet. I still have it..
What is your writing process?
Inspiration arrives on the whispering lips of a Muse. This is when I start to dream my characters. It takes a while, but they start meeting me for coffee. We chat, we chat, we chat some more...

Then there's a lucid time where I am no longer talking to them about my inspiration; rather, they are telling the story. I simply type.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The possibility of a new secret world revealing itself!

I am an educator and so on any day, I get out of bed to go to school. I aim to inspire anything and everything good within my students, and in return, my eyes see clearer. I suppose you can call it "inspirational karma".
What do you read for pleasure?
Greek mythology and ancient poetry.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in N'Jamenna, Chad, and grew up all over the world. When I was five I lived in Japan, when I was six I lived in Houston; Norway at nine, New York at 13, and Egypt at 18.

I see the world with very different eyes. My life experience resembles that of someone who has been alive for a few centuries. I've met a lot of people, learned many languages, experienced different school systems (fell through a few cracks), and fallen in love with everyone.

It's one thing to learn about people from a textbook, it's another to befriend them, live with them, and feel them touch your heart.
When did you first start writing?
When I was seven years old.

I used to wake up early in the morning to watch Jem (she was truly outrageous, remember?). I loved her songs, and started to write my own. I filled up pages and pages, and books and books, and song lyrics became poetry, and poetry evolved into...more.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Word of mouth. I suppose I got really lucky there.

Time isn't really "my own" and so I don't have the luxury of being able to spend so much of it on social media. People who read my books, liked them and they let their friends know. Many copies of my books were "gifted" between readers. This, I consider my biggest blessing.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords opened a door, when others had slammed it shut.

Not only did it give me an opportunity to publish my mind-storms to the world and be counted alongside so many other brilliant authors, but it also helped me learn about important things like proper formatting.

I know it doesn't sound exciting, but think about it, would you want to read something that was choppy or messy?
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Why an indie author?

Because people have the nerve to say "don't bother, you'll never make it"..
and because I refuse to stop writing even if I'm selling just one book a month..
and because I believe that inspiration thrives within aspiration..
and because I write for the same reasons that people make love or breathe..
What do your fans mean to you?
Everything, they keep me honest.

I'm definitely very lucky to have a transparent relationship with my readers. I feel honored every time someone asks me a question, or tweets me a comment, or sends me a request. They give me feedback and I accept it graciously.

My two favorite requests were:
a) "Would you write an alternate ending for The Ankhs?" (which I did and emailed it back); and
b) "Would you write a poem to my teacher telling them that they're doing it wrong?" (which I did and added it to my book)
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The characters! They take shape and become their own beings. After a while, I lose control. I simply watch and type. Honestly, some of them become so real, that we start to have imaginary conversations at the kitchen table; I see them everywhere I go.

I've actually walked into a room where my husband was working and said, "Oh my God! You're not going to believe what Hetep said to Hathor!" and proceed to re-tell the written conversation as if it were the latest gossip.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm currently writing the third and final installment of The Ankhs series. Unlike Book 1 and 2, Book 3 opens in today's time. So, fast forward from the ancient to the modern.

We meet an 18 year old girl who returns to Egypt [her homeland] after growing up abroad. Between trying to fit in to this new world and missing the soulmate she left behind in New York, she finds more than she bargained for.
Who are your favorite authors?
Tolkein, Bradbury, Poe, Fitzgerald, Homer, Shakespeare, Dumas, and Austin - to name a few.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working. I'm an educator, academic dean, and university instructor.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
When I read a good book, I generally read almost all the work published by that author and then I move on. I SHOP a lot (for books). Honestly... hours of reading a whole lot of blurbs until I find one or ten that I like.

Also, reviews are very telling. I like to read the reviews.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
It was a Nancy Drew book. I was 9. Yeah, I was ready for a future career in sleuthing and detective work.
How do you approach cover design?
I sketch a lot. Then I search online for images for inspiration. After that, I work with a professional designer and show her what I have in mind (in sketch and description). After that, it's a ton of revision and then publication.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
iPad. It's so convenient. I like to read in bed, even long after my husband has fallen asleep. This allows me to keep reading without having to keep the lights on.
Published 2018-01-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 32,750. Language: English. Published: March 2, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Action/adventure, Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
When her father's diplomatic term at the UN came to an end, Nadiah Zahi had to go home - to Egypt. The problem was that Nadiah and Egypt, well they didn't speak the same language. She was a Big Apple City girl.
Silently Yours, Lucienne.
You set the price! Words: 19,670. Language: English. Published: January 5, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Inspiration » Personal inspiration, Essay » Author profile
Everyone has a story whether they're a Somebody or a Nobody. While some may carry many stories, I carry 7000 years in my warm brown eyes. This book is about life experience. It's about everyone in the world. It's about realities, inspiration, and love. Inside every storm, there is a carefully folded piece of myself, opened for you to read.
Fire Bird, The Ankhs (Book 2)
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 21,160. Language: English. Published: January 2, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Historical » Ancient
Hathor is trapped in her unearthly cage in the wake of the terrible battle against Anpu. Her fate now rests in the hands of Bastet; her Protector, who harbors her own dark secret. Elements beyond our Earthly realm intertwine as fate hangs in the balance. Anpu's loyal followers threaten to resurrect his demonic form to bring about the destruction of Mankind.
Red Marks the Child, The Ankhs (Book1)
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 30,660. Language: English. Published: January 2, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal, Fiction » Romance » Historical
He took everything from me – love, family, friends – even my name. You are human, but I am Hathor. Learn my name well. For I was once the most powerful Djinn in this realm of Earth. Start from the beginning. Lift the veil and turn back the sands of time
Living In The Shadows Of The Pyramids
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,160. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Middle Eastern poetry, Fiction » Poetry » Female authors
Today, many people have forgotten that they know how to read. For centuries many aspects of Egypt have become stagnant; and it’s getting worse. What was once a pillar of art and civilization is now primarily influenced by hookah smoke and cheap song lyrics. But in the fiber of this book, I search my blood to find the passion of Naguib Mahfouz, Taha Hussein, and so many others.