I’ve been writing so long, I don’t actually remember when I started! I guess since I was 10 or 12 years old or maybe way long before that. I can be completely honest and literal in saying, without resorting to exaggeration that I was borne with a burning desire to write.
It is really the singular dream I recall as a child: to become a writer. Later on, when I graduated high school, I wanted to go to Damascus and study acting and theater but my dad refused me permission to travel to a large metropolis like Damascus while I was still seventeen years of age.
I wrote my first story when I was an eighteen year old college student in my freshman year. It was a short story titled The Rain. It was published to some acclaim having received an award by the Union of Arab Writers.
It is interesting that I didn’t really consider myself “a writer” per se until I published my first novel, Velvet Revolution in 2000. This book created such a stir in the media and with the public that I knew that I was on the right path to success.
The great Colombian author, Gabriel García Márque, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1982, played an influential role with me. From the moment I first read his novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, I had a strange feeling that I, myself, wrote that book! And this feeling has stayed with me up to the present. I loved the literary style of magical realism in this novel and the extensive uses of metaphors and irony. I have read this novel 15 years ago and I am still very much into it.
My father also influences me: As a highly educated person, with solid foundations in literature and science, he was constantly reading at home, or writing, or involved in discussion with my mother about something he studied. He owned a significant number of books, an extremely valuable gift that I had the good fortune to inherit from him.
I have been asked about my writing style… I guess the most prominent is the “ironic” style when it comes to writing short stories and the “epic” style when it comes to writing novels. And when I am being a serious academic I often season my wording with a sarcastic slant.
I have also been queried as to my process of coming up with titles for my work: When I am into writing something I begin with the heart of my subject, and then proceed to build up chapters and sections upon that base. I allow the title to “surface” during this process.
Typically, what occurs is that I wake up, say, at four in the morning, with the title ready to go. But it can also happen the other way around, where I feel a title flying around in my head begging to get out, as it were, and then I build up a subject upon it.
This is, in fact, what happened with my book Delaying The Sunset:
One day I was watching a cartoon show and one of the characters, who was a princess, wanted to “delay the sunset “ using her magic crystal so that we lover could make it on time for their marriage. It was a fairytale. The moment I heard that expression I thought about the exhausting effort that that woman spent to “delay her sunset.” Later, of course, I developed on this idea in a different ways.
And of course people want to know if there is one message underlying my work. The answer is yes, national solidarity.
Below I am posting some other questions I have been asked about my life and career, and some brief answers. Hopefully they will provide a little entertainment for you!
I am always interested in what my readers and friends have to say, so go ahead and drop me a line.