Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m unbelievably weird and I fly my weirdness like a banner, which is admittedly a lot easier now that I’m an adult than it was as a child and teen, although there are still Those people even as adults who try to make you feel bad for going against the grain. I just no longer care, haha.
I moved around a lot as a kid. When I mention this, the first thing people assume is that we were a military family. It is true I spent my first seven years as the child of Navy parents, but that only accounted for two of the moves we made. The majority of our moves were because my dad needed work, and the most drastic/traumatic was the move from Idaho to Kentucky in 1999, when I was sixteen. I’ve actually got a memoir-ish book in the works about that part of my life, but it’s on the back burner for the moment. All the upheaval really affected me as a person, I think.
I’ve lived in Oregon for eleven and a half years, which is officially the longest I’ve ever been in one place. I have a wonderful husband, two lovely daughters, and three kitties. I’m very happy.
How do you find time to write?
I snatch every opportunity! I do all my writing in Google Docs, so I can access it across all my devices, which comes in handy on long car trips or when waiting around. My most productive time is usually at night after I get my kids in bed, however.
What’s your publishing tips?
Persevere! I feel lucky, having landed a contract after only about 17 queries/rejections, but I know that usually it takes a lot more than that.
Any promotional and marketing tips?
I’m still new to this and figuring out what works, but so far Twitter has been my favourite place to network. Not just for my benefit! It’s been great to connect with other authors in my genre and support each other with retweets and so forth.
Tell us about your recent book.
I’ve wanted to write about WWI for quite a while, because I’ve been dissatisfied with the overall quality of what’s out there in the fiction department. The War in Our Hearts began as my 2017 NaNo project, when I saw a picture in my head of a red-haired girl standing in a French barn. She became Aveline Perrault, and initially I thought the story would be primarily about her. As it turned out, however, Captain Jamie Graham (who finds her abandoned on a farm near the front lines) came along and completely took over in spite of everything. (Those characters, I tell you. Uncontrollable.) There’s also Jamie Graham’s clownish, womanising twin brother George; a runaway Shetland boy who is pretending to be twenty so he could go fight; and a cat who does not die at any point in the narrative.
Here’s the back cover copy!
France, 1916: Estelle Graham faces a nightmare. Expecting to meet her beloved husband and bring their newly adopted daughter home to Scotland, she instead finds him gravely injured and unconscious in a casualty station. As she fights for his care, she takes solace in his journals and letters.
In a farmhouse in Somme, Captain Jamie Graham is forever changed when he meets young Aveline Perrault. Both of them broken and walled off from the cruel and cold world around them—made even crueler and colder by the Great War—the pair form an unlikely bond. She finds in him the father she never had, and with her love, he faces the pain from his own childhood.
Discover the depth of love and faith in the face of brutality and neglect as they learn to live while surviving World War I.
Buy now: https://amzn.to/2CInSCs
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m an award-winning Jordanian-American author and communications professional based in Washington, DC. I currently work as a social media lead for an international development organization. I have appeared on a number of national and international TV programs, including Larry King Live, PBS's Foreign Exchange with Daljit Dhaliwal, Paula Zahn show, CBS's This Morning, Scarborough Country, and BBC's Up all Night. My byline has appeared in the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, Huffington Post, and the Jordan Times, among many other outlets. My stories have been published in Geometry, The Timerbline Review and Fjords. My debut novel They Called Me Wyatt will be published in June 2019 by California Coldblood Books, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. I’m the recipient of F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Festival award for short fiction. I was born in Amman, Jordan and moved to the US in my late twenties.
How do you find time to write?
I make it a point to write every day, rain or shine, early in the morning, when everyone in my family is asleep and right before I get ready for my day job. I write at the dining table, so that I can be close to the kitchen for my constant coffee refills.
What are your publishing tips?
Don’t give up. Embrace the rejections. Also remember that there are different publishing options these days, and they are all legitimate. If you get a deal with one of the Big Five publishers, then that’s great, but you can also get published with a small press or even self-publish. What really matters is the writing. Make sure it's stellar. That’s what will take you a long way. The rest is the cherry on the top.
Any promotional and marketing tips?
If you have a book coming out, pay lots of attention to Instagram. Post updates and connect with bookstagrammers. Provide them with ARCs and ask them to spread the word. They are a very supportive community, and some of them are top influencers. Also, don’t forget about Instagram stories. Talk about your book, use hashtags and make friends. If you only had time for one social media, I would definitely choose Instagram
Tell us about your recent book
My book is about Jordanian student Siwar Salaiha who after she gets murdered on her birthday in College Park, Maryland, her consciousness survives, finding refuge in the body of a Seattle baby boy. Stuck in this speech delayed three-year old body, Siwar tries but fails to communicate with Wyatt’s parents, instead she focuses on solving the mystery behind her murder. Eventually, her consciousness goes into a dormant state after Wyatt undergoes a major medical procedure.
Fast-forward twenty-two years. Wyatt is a well-adjusted young man with an affinity towards the Middle East and a fear of heights. While working on his graduate degree in Middle Eastern studies, Wyatt learns about Siwar’s death, which occurred twenty-five years ago. For reasons he can’t explain, he grows obsessed with Siwar and spends months investigating her death, which police at the time erroneously ruled as suicide. His investigation forces him to open a door he has kept shut all his life, a spiritual connection to an unknown entity that he frequently refused to acknowledge. His leads take him to Amman, Jordan where after talking to her friends and family members and through his special connection with the deceased, he discovers a clue that unravels the mystery of her death.
Pre-order my novel They Called me Wyatt.
Out June 2019.