Blogs by L.T. Suzuki
Tarek Refaat Interview
1/22/2012 7:55:23 AM
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Author Tarek Refaat discusses his debut novel, 'Ruptured' and the writing life!
LTS: Thanks to modern technology, coming to you from the distant and ancient lands of Egypt, today’s guest blogger is Tarek Refaat, the author of ‘Ruptured’. I’d like to begin by having you share a little information about yourself with our readers, Tarek. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
TR: Thank you Lorna for having me on your blog, it is indeed a great honor to get the chance to be hosted by you! So as to what I like to do when I am not writing, well I am a person with diverse interests; cooking, reading and sometimes delivering history presentations! As well as travelling when possible!
LTS: Has writing stories always been a part of your life and becoming a published author a life long dream?
TR: Well, I began writing poetry at first and then some articles and thoughts. I decided to venture into the story world about 3-4 years ago! So I can’t really say that it has always been part of my life, however being published of course was yes indeed one of my dreams!
LTS: I had a chance to read an excerpt of your novel, ‘Ruptured’ and I can see why you’ve been receiving great reviews. What was the inspiration behind this story and can you tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Farida?
TR: Well I have to say that I am a person who enjoys observing and understanding people, from the human aspects of interaction, communication and understanding. I always try to see how they act and react. What sparked the idea of “Ruptured” was the fact that about 2 years ago there was a rape victim who took the bold step of suing her assailant and actually won the case against him. But what caught my attention was how people reacted to the matter. So about 6 months later I was wanting to write something about rape and hadn’t formed an idea in my mind as to how exactly do I plan to do this.. Until one day on my way to work..I just saw Farida! And the story began..
Farida is a well educated middle aged editor chief in a local magazine called “Charisma” who had the unfortunate rendezvous with an rapist. She was raped and pursued her assailant to courts and won the case as well. And in Ruptured this is where the story begins. Eighteen months later, after that incident and ruling, she now has to begin a new challenge, which is facing society
LTS: You handled the subject of rape from Farida’s perspective with sensitivity. Why, in this day and age, are victims of this crime treated worse than the men who do the raping? Do you foresee change in the near future?
TR: Rape is by all means a sensitive issue for anyone who has underwent such a trauma. So yes, I had to focus my effort in trying hard to understand the feelings of the victim. Victims are maltreated in comparison to their assailants. But this is because the society is scared and not prepared as to how they should treat someone like Farida.. So they resort to judging her from the positions where they stand. The change would be imminent if we provide the proper understanding and education to teach people how to handle such a situation.
LTS: Did you experience any backlash from men in your country for writing about this subject?
TR: No, not really, I can’t say a backlash but I can imagine that some people would definitely have their own thoughts.
LTS: Without giving away too much, can you reveal what’s in store for the readers when they crack open ‘Ruptured’?
TR: Well... That’s quite a tricky question so let me choose my words carefully. I believe when you begin to go through “Ruptured”, you would basically walk in the boots of Farida.
LTS: The road to publication is difficult at the best of times. What made you decide to self-publish your novel?
TR: I can’t say I quite self-published it. I did go through a publishing house. However, the road is still difficult and long. But I am not preparing for another book that will probably be self-published.
LTS: Would you recommend this mode of publication to other authors? Why?
TR: I believe it is a very challenging area. But, yes I would encourage writers to try self publishing.
LTS: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned on the road to publication?
TR: Be thorough and I’ve understood quite a lot about the book publishing industry.
LTS: I’m curious about your writing style. Are you one of those disciplined writers who must dedicate a certain time each day to producing so many words, or are you more relaxed and tend to write when it strikes your fancy?
TR: I am quite a disciplined character, I dedicate myself to a daily dose of 15-20 minutes of writing which usually generates 2-3 pages per day. Because of my work and family responsibilitie,s I am usually unable to provide more.
LTS: Still on the subject of writing styles, are you a plotter or pantser? The readers would like to know if you tend to plot out your story line in great detail or if your writing is more organic with the characters and events unfolding as you write.
TR: I am a panster all the way. I can’t just sit and plot out my characters. They simply come to life before my eyes as the events begin to unfold.
LTS: Some authors meditate, others need to fuel up on coffee or listen to music. Do you have any rituals, ones that can be shared with the readers, that you must do before you hunker down for a writing session?
TR: Tea, tea, tea and more tea! First thing I usually do is when I started my writing which is usually at the office! Since I arrive earlier than working hours just to dedicate those 15-20 minutes, I fix my cup of tea, take my first sip, and then begin to write.
LTS: At one time or another, most writers hit the wall and their work stalls because of the dreaded writer’s block. What do you do to get around or over this mental wall to resume writing?
TR: Normally, I would just write about something different than what I had in my mind before it was blocked! And with time, the ice melts and I get back to it.
LTS: Who is your favourite author and how has he/she inspired you to write or influenced your writing style or choice of genre?
TR: Paul Brickhill, author of the Biography “Reach for the sky”, his method of writing inspired me in a variety of aspects. And has taught me quite about the British language during the 40s
LTS: What is the most profound discovery you’ve made in terms of your writing and how it has touched the lives of others?
TR: That I am able to touch people’s thoughts and feelings through my stories. I wrote one story before and shared it with some friends. And a few hours later, I got a call from one of my friends who was very angry and criticizing the character as if it was a real person. The joy I felt at that moment, that I was able to draw up a character that could actually bring people’s feelings out in the open was immense!
LTS: What are you reading now, and how did this particular book make it onto your to-read list?
TR: I am currently reading several books, “Their Darkest Hour” by Laurence Rees, and a couple of other history books which I can’t recall their names at the moment. Anything that is history related usually gets my attention!
LTS: What do you foresee in your future over the next five years and do you hope to branch out into other genres? Can your fans expect from you in the near future?
TR: I hope to be able to publish between 3-5 other books in the coming period and expand in a variety of genre,s perhaps romance and historical fiction! I do have another social novel, which I am still working on and another plan to create a book of some my written short stories.
LTS: Thank you for taking the time to discuss your debut novel and for sharing in your writing experience, Tarek! For more information about Tarek and his novel, check out:
Follow Tarek on Twitter: .energizre
Where to buy the book:
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