This week is my first instalment of a new ‘Interview with the author’ series, which is scheduled for one Wednesday a month.
Today, published author Rahf is answering some frequently asked questions and gives us a great insight as to her life and how she got into writing.
You can find her brilliant book of short stories and poetry here.
Interview with an author: Rahf Alrashidi
- When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
The truth is, writing, for me, is something I have to do. Otherwise, I just don’t feel like myself. I started writing since I was nine years old. I wrote every day in my daily diary. I never knew that this daily writing habit would make me a better person, until one day, at the age of sixteen years old I finished writing my first novel. I have always been a writer, but I never thought I would actually publish my work and inspire people across the world.
- How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends. It took me a year to finish writing my first novel, but I decided to never publish it. For my recently published book ‘The Clouds Beyond Us’ it took me four years.
- What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m a full-time medical student. I sometimes write on weekends and holidays. It’s extremely difficult to find time to write, but there’s nothing I can’t manage.
- Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I got most of my ideas for my books from the events I experienced in my life. Finding the ideas wasn’t hard for me, yet handling and writing them was a bit messy.
- When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I started writing my first book ‘Not Just a Coincidence’ when I was fifteen years old and I finished it at the age of sixteen years old. However, after the hard work and new skills gained, I’ve decided not to publish the story I have written.
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I can only find the time to write during holidays and weekends, which sometimes, makes me upset. But when I’m not writing, I study, read for pleasure, and hang out with friends, or go to the gym (which rarely happens now).
- What does your family think of your writing?
They’re the ones who’ve inspired me to publish! Obviously, not all of them love to read but they were supportive all the way.
- What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned that I can never write about something I never experienced, which was surprising. I also learned that writing is like any exercise. You know the feeling you get after running a marathon? It’s the exact same feeling I get after a day of writing.
- How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve written two books, but only published one. I can’t choose between the two. The first one is a novel and the second one is a collection of stories and poems. However, I think the second one ‘The Clouds Beyond Us’ is more special.
- What is your favorite quote from your own work?
A gentle reminder:
To all the physicians out there: always keep in mind that people give you the most expensive things they’ve owned in life, which are their secrets and bodies. So never take it for granted. They trust you when their lives hang in the balance.
Always keep in mind that we spent our youth learning how to save lives — that is why we’re called
- Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes, I do. I appreciate the reviews they post and the emails they send. They helped me become an international best-selling author, which is amazing! I just want to thank everyone who read my book.
- What do you think makes a good story?
Four things. The writing has to be beautiful and lyrical, the plot has to be fascinating, the message is profound which has to open up the reader’s mind to new ways of understanding something, and last but not least the characters have to be unique! This actually should be number one. Character, make a story.
- As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a psychologist like my mother, but I ended up in medical school, which I am grateful for. I can’t mess up God’s plan for me.
- Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience?
Becoming a good author and writing a book is not an easy task. Yet, going through the process of writing and publishing a book is a fascinating journey to witness. What I have learned through this process is that writing is not an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. Writing is a strong desperate desire you have to attain. It cannot be resisted. I also learned that dreams do come true if you work hard. Dreams don’t work unless you do.
Thanks again Rahf for agreeing to appear on my blog and giving such an interesting interview that offered readers some great advice on writing and helped us learn a little more about you!
You can follow Rahf here