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.