Frequently asked questions
- Do you write longhand, on a computer, or another way? I usually write my first draft with pencil and paper. After I have read through my scribbles and edited the text a few times, then I type up the story on my computer. The story draft then goes through several editing phases. I ask friends and family to read over the story and provide me with some feedback too.
- What's you favourite thing about writing for kids? I really enjoy book reading events. It is great to see children react to the story as I am reading it. I also like to hear their questions and comments about the story.
- Where do you work? I work from home most of the time. Clicking away at my computer keyboard. As an archaeologist, I also work in the field, usually in the mountains or along the coast.
- Do you have any advice for kids who want to write a story? Write about something that interests you, something that is important to you. If you are interested in a particular subject try to use that information and develop a story based around that topic.
- How did you come up with the thought of writing a children’s book to raise awareness on the subject of autism – why a children’s book? I had tossed around the idea of writing a children’s book years ago after listening to my mother in law talk about her childhood, growing up in the mountains of Fujairah. However, I struggled to come up with a storyline. In 2014 my family moved to Abu Dhabi so that our son could attend a school for children with autism (the New England Center for Children). Not long after settling in Abu Dhabi I was inspired to write a children’s story with Suhail as the central character.
- In terms of the story/plot, how did you come up with it? Was it a case of you coming with various stories and choosing the best? An initial, very rough draft just flowed from pencil to paper (I’m a bit ‘old school’). The original storyline remained unchanged from the first draft till the published book. However, the text underwent numerous editing phases over the course of almost two years. My close friend and the book’s illustrator, Susanna Billson also had a lot of input. Especially when it came to the flow of the story and making sure the drawings captured the character of Suhail and the essence of the book’s location. Susanna is an architect by profession who has also worked on archaeological excavations in the UAE. She has visited Wadi al Hayl many times and also shares a love for this part of the world.