Good evening and I am delighted to welcome today’s edition of Authors’ Mastermind and my delightful guest author. Could you please state your name and occupation?
Thank you Tarek, I am so pleased you are here. And would you now please answer the following questions on your chosen subject. You have a maximum number of 250 words on each question. If you do not know the answer, say pass and we’ll move on to another question. The total number of passes will be counted and deducted against your final score.
Are you ready? Good then I’ll begin.
1. How do you describe yourself; as a writer and as a person?
Tarek Refaat, well describing myself is quite a tricky question but here it goes. I am a traveller who’s on a quest to learn more about people. To observe and to learn. As a writer I like to venture into different worlds and discover different colors and emotions.
2. Do you do anything that would tell us you lead an interesting or indeed a crazy life?
Well I can say yes, I work in the field of information technology, which is a crazy and very rapid moving field, yet I love history and I love to write which is a world that takes me into serenity, so this mixture just makes my world more interesting. I combine between speed and an endless world of dreams, thoughts and emotions.
3. Briefly, describe your journey into writing your first book and what or who inspired you.
‘Ruptured’ has quite a story...A year ago I read and heard about the trial of a criminal condemned with rape, and it was the first time a woman steps forward and brings her assailant to justice. He was sentenced, but I kept an eye out for how people talked and reacted to the matter. And a few months later I wanted to write something that would be evolved around a rape story but I wanted a different angle, I didn’t want the regular “How to get the devilish culprit” but I wanted to venture into a more human aspect. “How do people deal with the victim afterwards?” And a I found myself one day on my way to work picturing Farida. The heroine in ‘Ruptured’. And so it began
4. Are you working on anything right now?
Not at the moment but I do have another finished story.
5. Do you ever struggle with parts of the book you’re working/writing on?
Sometimes I do, but because my writing is mostly based on seeing or visualising something, I just write it on the spot. Sometimes I find conflicts or contradictions and then it’s where the problems usually begin, but normally not much
5b. What is your next book about, and where do you get your ideas from?
My next book is about the story of four women who lead four different lives that are friends and you tend to see the relationships and the emotions they go through each in her own life.
6. How would you define your writing working day? Give us some indication of where you work, and the length of time you spend on your project.
My writing day used to be going very early to the office way ahead of working hours, fix my cup of tea and begin to write instantly a dedication of 15-25 minutes a day, which I can get anywhere between 3-5 pages a day. And my projects so far take somewhere between 1 to 2 months. Ruptured took 1 month.
7. Tell us about characterisation. How do you develop your characters? Do you feel they are important in the overall picture? Do you ever base them on real people?
My characters are usually people I see in my visualisations because I see the events taking place in my mind, I can see the characters, hear them and even see them move.
My characters are the body of my story, without them or without proper construction of their personalities I believe my story or any story wouldn’t be as interesting.
Sometimes they are based on real people or a mixture of characteristics from different people. But usually I work on making my characters very close to people you meet, because what I find important in my stories, that when you do actually read about a specific character to which you can relate it makes the story more personal, and gives you a real feel of involvement, you become more attached to the story.
8. What about the editing and redrafting process? When do you do this?
Well am not very good with the editing part because if I try to edit my stories, I will usually end up basically dissecting the story into something I do not like, so basically I just re-read the story and make sure there are no inconsistencies and let the editor do the editing
9. How have you overcome any trials and tribulations of rejection?
Well, I always believe that life is about a set of constant trials, some will work out, others won’t, it’s all about keeping it up and not losing the faith. I’ve come to terms that I do have a skill, am not the best nor the worst in what I do. I just need to learn and take critique and criticism positively and even those who are negative towards what I do, I attempt to take anything from what they say that might seem useful and use it to my advantage, we never advance and become better unless we learn from our mistakes.
10. If you were not writing, what would be your choice of employment?
Well writing is not my employment, writing is my joy , so I am currently doing what I like as an IT business development executive, but I do one day dream of having maybe my own column in a newspaper or so.
Thank you. Your score on your chosen subject is 10
Now for the General Knowledge section.
1. Which book(s) are you reading at the moment?
Mainly a set of history and mythology books
2. Name your five favourite authors.
Paul Brickhill , Tom Clancy (Ed’s note -1 – should have named 5 authors).
3. Who, out of your five favourite people would you like to invite to dinner at your house. You will be doing the catering. What is your ideal menu, you would provide? (You must be able to cook this!)
If I would be able to invite , I’d invite Sir Douglas Bader a world war 2 British veteran ace, and I’d invite him over for a typical Egyptian dinner, of (Molokheya [ a type of green leaves soup] , A vine leaves dish, and my special recipe chicken! (Ed’s note – 1, needed 5 prople).
4. Do any authors inspire you? If so, which ones?
I believe Tom Clancy would be my inspiration
5. What things in your life would you love to do that you haven’t yet achieved. Your answer should NOT be ‘become a rich and famous author’. If you fall back on this answer, then 3 marks will be deducted from your overall score.
My greatest aim is to be able to help others through my writing perhaps successfully inspiring people into getting out whatever talent they have. I love to help others and believe very much in people’s potential. And also my dream is to tour as much historic sites of my favourite eras as possible, I dream of reliving these eternal moments of history by just being right in those spots where they took place.
6. Describe your ideal day; working and leisure (only clean answers please).
My work day usually starts at 7 to 7:30 am, but now due to the current situation in the country it starts a bit more on regular working hours, work till 5 pm, go back home , help in cooking, play with my daughter and watch some of my favourite TV shows ( mostly crime shows [CSI , Criminal minds , Bones etc..] or my favourite History Channel shows, then head to bed at a max of 12:30 to 1 am.
7. What has been the most memorable thing that has happened to you in a, your writing career and b, in your private life (again, only cleans answers will be accepted).
My memorable moment in my writing career was the first day I saw my book on a shelf in a bookstore here in Cairo as well my first literary reviews by Bernard Schaeffer and Sandra Schwaider. My most memorable moment in my private life the day I knew my wife was that person I was looking for!
8. Are you a disciplined person in everyday life? How would/does this reflect in your writing?
Am a disciplined person in my overall attitude towards life, I like to set things I know are right and stick to them , I like to respect others personalities and characters and learn as much as possible from people and from life. This has helped me greatly in being able to dedicate more of my time to writing.
9. Do you keep a dart-board handy with rejection letters from Publishing House editors’ photographs pinned to it? If so, what is your highest score?
Unfortunately I haven’t had these much rejections but usually yes I do keep the rejections and read them thoroughly every now and then to know what I might have missed and what do I need to work on and improve!
11. What are your five desert island books?
Reach for the sky & Fly for your life (Ed’s note – 1 needed 5 books here).
Tie-breaker question. Tell us the most outrageous/embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you. What were the consequences? A bonus of 5 extra points will be awarded to the best answer from contenders to the Authors Mastermind Crown.
Well. How to put that? I was about 11, I had cut my recently stitched injured leg because I wanted to play soccer and I shouldn’t have in order not to put pressure on the wound and keep it from re-opening but I did play! So I went home and I lied about it to my dad. For some reason he sensed I was lying and gave me a good spanking and caught me off guard while undressing, and actually threw me out of the house, and instead of going to my grandmother who lived in the floor right above us in the building I ran to my mom whom I knew she was at my school half dressed (mainly from the top!). Lucky for me there weren’t much of people on the street and I was so fast I don’t think anyone would notice me except the few guard soldiers who were around!
Thank you. Your time is now up. You managed to complete all questions with no passes. Your overall score is 17 – a very good score. We shall see how you do against the other contenders.
Well done and thank you.
Tarek Refaat’s novel, ‘Ruptured’ is available on Amazon US http://amzn.to/pv661Y
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/pF7mv4