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Monday, 13 February 2017

ℚ Behind Picket Fences - Hend Hegazi

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Behind Picket Fences (29 June 2016, FB Publishing, 236 pages), a Contemporary Fiction.

"Behind Picket Fences is a fast moving, intricately weaved, and timely story about every day people navigating the realities of life. Author Hend Hegazi has crafted a story that is sure to entertain and make her readers reflect as well." - Umm Juwayriyah, author of The Size of a Mustard Seed.


|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||


A very warm welcome to Hend Hegazi; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Behind Picket Fences - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.

"The idea for the cover is the pristine house sitting behind the white picket fence. You are far enough away not to see any of the faults in the house, and it looks like the perfect home.

The idea for the cover is the premise for the title, for the story over-all. Reyhana Ismail Sidat of Rey Of Light Design is a wonderful graphic designer who gave me a few drafts to choose from and was patient enough to work with me until we got it just right. I highly recommend her!"
Why should we read Behind Picket Fences and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"This book gives a glimpse into many different backgrounds, each a part of the American fabric. I am Muslim American, so I always include a Muslim American character (in this case, a family). Through the story, I aim to give readers a glimpse into the Muslim American experience, in hopes of dispelling some misconceptions."
Who would you recommend Behind Picket Fences to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"This book is targeted to women over the age of 25 navigating life, family, and relationships. The characters come from various backgrounds and experiences, so readers are sure to find someone to relate to.

The only warning I have is that many of my early readers had a hard time with the ending, because it was not clear-cut. There was a reason for this: in real life, our problems are not always solved conclusively, without leaving behind any residue. The inconclusive ending of a couple of the story-lines was intended to hold true to reality. And no, this doesn’t mean I plan on writing a sequel. My books are mine from the first page to the last; after that, they belong to the reader."
If you could / wished to turn Behind Picket Fences into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I love this question! Maybe I’ve fantasized that some big-name director would read my book and just NEED to turn it into a movie! Or maybe I’m just a movie fan and would love any opportunity to present my work on screen. But I think I would be so difficult to work with. I mean, as my creation, it already plays as a movie in my mind, so, in order to make sure the screen version and the version in my mind are in sync, I’d have to have final say on the screen version, which would mean that I’d have to work hand in hand with the director. And do two directors usually have the exact same vision for a story? Probably not. You see my dilemma? I’m making up problems in an imaginary, impossible scenario!

While there are great filmmakers and actors out there – and it would be an honor to work with so many – I think that being true to the story would require that everyone audition. No one would be allowed a free ticket based just on their reputation or even portfolio. Everyone on the team would have to first prove to me that they could make the story jump as it exists in my mind, onto the screen."
Uncompromising. I like that. Far too many times writers end up loathing the screen version of their work.

What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?

"I do tend to write women’s fiction/contemporary fiction. And although I enjoy reading in a variety of genres and will rarely dislike books that branch away from this genre (I just finished a crime fiction novel titled The Unquiet Dead which I highly recommend), contemporary fiction is my favorite."
What is your writing process?
"Sit at dining room table with pen in hand. Stare at blank page. Look up at ceiling. Pray for divine intervention. Look back down at blank paper. Repeat steps two through five until something appears on the paper. Just kidding. Well, not completely…

I usually start with an idea: for Behind Picket Fences it was the idea that so often we are in awe of the blessings of those around us, but the truth is that we simply do not see their reality. I wanted to unveil that reality so that every reader would feel compelled to look at his/her own life differently; so that they would be more aware of the blessings in their own life.

From that idea, I formulated the specific hidden problems (infidelity, infertility, financial difficulties, mental and physical illness). Once each character received her blessing and her hardship, the story then unraveled itself, although many days were filled with staring at the blank page, wondering where the story was supposed to go next.

Once my ‘first draft’ was finished, I went back and re-read and re-wrote, then sent off that ‘final’ draft to some beta readers. I considered their input, did some further revisions, then off it went to the publisher, who sent it to an editor, and I had even more re-writing to do.

But it was all worth it. I was not happy with my original ‘final’ draft; but the published book is one I am very pleased with. (And the reason why I call it a ‘first draft,’ in quotes, is that even this draft has already seen much alteration, much change. I also never print out my work, so I never keep my first draft; I alter it so that it becomes my subsequent drafts. One draft flows into the next, the start of one never really distinct from the ending of the previous. It’s really just one major work in progress until it shows up in book stores.)"
What is in store next?
"I’m currently finishing up the first draft of my third novel. It focuses on a highly functioning autistic woman and her struggles through life and marriage. It’s turning out to be a challenging project; I feel I’m not doing the story justice. But that’s what revisions and re-writes and edits are for (not to mention a lot more research)!"

Behind Picket Fences
Available NOW!

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2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for allowing me to share my journey and my book with your audience.

    ReplyDelete