Q. When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?
A. Not in a million years! I’ve always enjoyed writing since a young age. I even won a middle school ‘Pullitzer award’ for a small novel we had to write, edit and bind ourselves, just a few months after learning English as a second language.. I’m French and had just joined an American school. Writing in a foreign language was a challenge and a huge accomplishment! I carried my writing skills throughout my Marketing career but I never imagined for a second that I would one day become a published author. I don’t think I can even realise it to this day! It’s surreal. However, I feel like my ‘mission’ has been accomplished and I still don’t see writing as a creer or full-time profession for me.
Q. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
A. When I had a mission.. and writing was my best form of expression.
I embraced Islam in 2002 while living in Oman and quickly moved to France to go to university. I tried to blend in as much as possible with the other studeints and hardly told anyone I had just become a Muslim - to seem ‘normal’ to others. After graduating, I was hired in Dubai in 2007 where I met other converts like myself and became involved in the community. I realised Islam was more than a faith and a religion, but also a holistic way of life. Volunteerting at my local Islamic Centre helped me realise the need to address the misconceptions on Islam, especially for women.
In 2009, I realised the only way I could make a difference was to write and I was inspired with the idea to write a guide for women. I sent out a survey to learn about other women’s experiences, whether they were non-Muslim, reverts or born-Muslims. It went viral and I realised this was much needed in our community!
Q. What inspires you to write?
A. Making a difference in the world.. there are so many misconceptions about Islam, let alone Muslim women. It frustrates me and saddens me so much that I simply couldn’t stay quiet. My mission was to engage non-Muslim women of all backgrounds with elements of spirituality that they can relate to; next, was for reverts to find the right balance between our culture, our education and our new religion; then, for the youth and millennials who are born Muslims to better understand and related to their religion - which empowers women with many rights. This book gives readers the tools to ‘find a balanced lfiesyle and a glowing heart in Islam’!
As for my main source of inspiration for this book, it was my mother - I wanted her to understand what I was going through, share my spititual journey with her and reassure her that I was becoming a better person by embracing Islam.
Q. What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
A. Finding the time to write is a challenge for anyone - whether you have a full time job, you’re a student or a mother. Life is always full of surprises and keeps us busy at all times! Staying focused isn’t easy, but determination and hard work are the keys to get us through it. Besides, in my opnion it’s not about achieving our goal quickly, rather it’s about acheiving it, period, and not giving up.
It’s important to enjoy the whole PROCESS of writing and research, just as much as the final product; to embrace the writer’s blocks and to ride the wave of creativity when it kicks in!
You can get her awesome book for yourself from here: