Wednesday, 1 October 2014

What's Next?

I have three unfinished stories waiting for me to get them out there to the world. I should say four because I started writing book two of Girl of the Book a couple of days ago. I have second thoughts about book two because I haven't published the first one yet.

What prompted me to write Girl of the Book in the first place? I initially wanted to write about the experience of a young South African lady who came to Saudi Arabia to work as an ESL teacher. But then, I realised, I would have to write about some really sensitive issues, which I believed would raise many eyebrows. Don't get me wrong. I'm not scared. I just hate being in the spotlight. Yeah, I'm an introvert and I love my uneventful life.

After much thought, I was convinced I had to write about a kid's experience in Saudi Arabia. I love children's stories. In fact, they're one of my favourite genres, and I thought I would find my voice writing for a particular age group. The idea of writing for kids didn't just come up out of the blue, though. I had written a few short stories when I was ten and I remember that I scared the hell out of my mother when I told her I would like to become a published author one day. I didn't stop writing short stories after my mum said "No" because I had an audience: my sisters ;-).

A few months after I arrived in Saudi Arabia, there was this group of Saudi kids that I used to tutor. I had the habit of telling them stories when we had a short break. I think I must have told them about one hundred stories or so (no kidding) during the two years that I tutored them. Some of the stories were those that my dad had told me when I was a kid. I made up the rest, and the kids were always fascinated by each one of them. 

The idea of a young girl moving to Saudi Arabia came up one evening when one of the girls whom I tutored grumbled because she had to start wearing an abaya. And she was Saudi! If a young Saudi girl felt this way when it was part of their tradition, what about young girls who relocate to Saudi Arabia because one or both of their parents had a job offer and decided to move with their family? 

That night when I sat in front of my computer, I started writing about Courtney Parker. It was so easy to write Courtney's point of view because I remembered how I felt when I boarded the plane to come to Saudi.