Type Cast Interview 4: 17-Year-Old Author, Mary Gehad Ali
A Series of Creative Writing Blogs To Share Story Ideas And Creative Writing Inspiration From A Young Writer Online.
We are into October, it is almost Halloween and another young author/writer has kindly filled in my questionnaire to have an author interview for my creative writing blog – ‘Type Cast’. This ‘cast’ of young, up-and-coming writers are people who follow me on social media and have captured my attention. It could be how their social media feed is composed, their writing or simply because I’m curious about how they work as an author of young adult, dystopian fiction.
As an author, I love to improve and develop how I write. Artists and other creatives should be able to take joy in learning from other people, to see what inspires them and why they chose to write fiction or poetry over any other art.
I love working with young authors (between the ages of 16 and mid-twenties) to find out what makes their storytelling minds tick. It is hard for a thirty-five-year-old man to think like a teen, so I need to hear straight from the horse’s mouth.
In this weekly creative writing blog, I would love to receive more interview content from more creative teenagers and young adults. If you are a young writer, between 16 and 25, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn and ask me about the Type Cast blog. I would love to hear from you.
I would like to thank you all so much for your contributions. I can’t believe the response from so many young authors. As I have said before, I am learning from you and you help me develop further as a writer!
17-year-old Mary Gehad messaged me on Instagram and asked to be part of the Type Cast young author interview series. Read the creative writing blog below to learn about Mary and her writing. Remember to share this blog around and check out Mary’s Instagram profile – @marygehad.author
1. If you could choose one book from a famous author to publish as your own, which book would you choose and why?
I have a book that was gifted to me before and it holds a special place in my heart. It is called, Bodies We Wear. I’ve seen people who equally like and dislike the book but, for me, it means the world. If I had the honour of publishing it as my own, sorry Jeyn Roberts, I am stealing your manuscript.
2. As a young author, what do you think makes a good story?
A good story can not be defined and I am in no place to say that a story was ever not good, so let me rephrase that question to, “what makes a story valuable?” I believe that the value of a story to a reader reaches perfection if it exceeds the value of the book to its own author .
I have seen people cherish books and I have cherished books myself. The content of the novel, the way the book is written and the author’s way of making you live what you are reading is enough to make me love a book.
3. What does your family think of your writing and how do they support you?
With my first language being Arabic, my family decided that it would be better if I wrote Arabic books. I found this inconvenient because I feel I master English better than I do Arabic.
However, after my father read my first page, he supported me to continue in a way that doesn’t interfere with my study life and my future career as an architect.
4. Do you feel there are any challenges being a young author? If so, what are they?
There is always a challenge in whatever choice you make. The choice of being a writer is challenging by all means and you have to know the risks.
You have to know that people will mock you, fake friends will let you down and you may find that sometimes even your family aren’t supportive. In the end, you should know that even though your brain will say you cannot do it, in reality, the doors are open and all you have to do is walk through.
There is an old saying that I love – “If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.”
5. What are your hobbies away from writing and what makes them so important to you?
I have tons of hobbies that I love to use and connect to my books. For example, I am an artist and I am currently studying architecture.
What I do is, when I read or write a book, I pick my favourite character and draw it on a bookmark only for that book. Sometimes I create huge illustrations for them and other times, when I am out of words, I draw to help myself understand my own characters.
Another thing that I am sure is not exactly a hobby, is volunteering to speak. I mainly speak about disorders, racism, sexism and many topics that people refuse to discuss.
6. Are you traditionally or independently published and what title/s have you put out so far?
I am simply an indie writer. I did not have previous history with publishers but I have knowledge of how things work out with querying, editing and publishing.
When I decided to publish my own novel, I knew that I had to do everything on my own so I had to get too deep into research to make things work.
The main reason for choosing that option was the fact that I do not want to submit manuscript after manuscript waiting for someone to pick me and approve my work. I believe that no book is ever worth not being chosen. I believe that a story may not make sense in your mind, but it may make sense in someone else’s. That way, every book has a perfect audience somewhere in the world.
7. You are a young author, what one piece of advice would you give to a budding author who has not quite taken that step?
I have tons of advice that may sound cliched, but they all have a deeper meaning. Firstly, I advise young writers to always take the first step and simply write. You get an idea and you think its awesome, but should you stop there? No!
Develop your idea and make a story, create a plot, imagine the world you are creating and you will have the satisfaction of creating something out of nothing.
My second piece of advice is to remember that you do not always need to share your book. Be yourself and let no one else influence you.
My final piece of advice is to always write the next book. Keep writing, no matter what!
What astounds me about young adults, like Peighton Weber and Mary Gehad, is how they have published their first novel as young writers at such a young age. They have had such drive and determination in their teenage years to have achieved what many people wish they had achieved in old age.
When I was a teenager, I am sad to say that I spent too much time playing guitar in my bedroom and strategy or RPG games with my friend, Davey.
I never thought I would have written a novel like Inside Iris, but it is something I have achieved and cannot wait until I release Anna’s Awakening in the coming months.
One area that encapsulated me in Mary’s interview was when she spoke of her enjoyment of speaking against racism, sexism and other areas that people would rather not discuss. I immediately think of teenagers, like Greta Thunberg, who stand up and speak out against uncomfortable or inconvenient truths. Teenagers and young people are becoming much more vocal and it’s something that I love to see.
If you are a young writer or child considering writing a story for the first time, don’t be afraid to allow that creative personality express itself! As the saying Mary shared above states, “If there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.” You should not fear those who do not understand you or your passions. Follow those passions until you have exhausted all options!
I firmly believe that every person has a story within them. A young writer, like Mary Gehad Ali, I also believe that there is an audience for every story and someone out in the world will love it.
You may choose to search for an agent and strive to be a traditionally published author. Like myself, you may decide that you had wasted enough time dreaming of becoming an author and self-publish your novel through Kindle, Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Direct Publishing.
It doesn’t matter how your story finds its way into the world. If you are a storyteller, and you have a story to tell, write it, publish it and give it wings!