Ask The Author: Firie Mhene, Author of A Week is not Forever
Q. Do you choose character names before, during or after the writing process?
A. I choose character names before, then I can change them as the story develops. I cannot start writing before I have character names. Either, they start as AAA, or BBB and CCC. But there has to be a way of referring to them long before I start writing.
Q. What was your favorite book when you were a child?
A. Going to the moon. This was a small book about two little friends who decided they wanted to go to the moon. While everything was against them, they sought information, built a rocket, and went to the moon. It was a book that made me think that everything was possible as long as you put your heart to it.
Q. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
A. I have eleven at the moment. Two to follow A Week is Not Forever, and the rest in different fields of life.
Q. What's the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?
A. What do people think about extramarital affairs? What is the general perception of people, especially women, engaged in extramarital affairs? How do they feel? How do these affairs affect them? Are there some people who wish the laws on extramarital should be abolished? Changed?
Q. what's the most surprising thing you learned writing this book?
A. That I am quite liberal in my thoughts. That I am the person who thinks the sky is the limit. That I like it when people stand up for what they want, however ridiculous and unlikely it may appear to everyone else.
Q. Do you use a pen and paper or a laptop for writing your drafts?
A. Yes, I must do pen and paper first. Here I get a personal feel of my stories. I like the look of my original hand written manuscripts. Also, the pen and paper are easier to work with. I have them always in my bag. Anywhere, everywhere, I can put ideas down as they come.
Q. Most of the authors have either a cat or a dog as their pet. Do you have a Dog at your feet or a Cat on the desk?
A. No, I have Egyptian music playing.
Q. Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see much point?
A. I make my bed in the morning, every morning. I love to see my bedroom looking neat. It is to my bedroom that I retreat when everything becomes too pressing for me, and there I must find peace and cool and comfort. If the bed is not made, it makes me aggressive. However, when there are thoughts pressing me and I need them down on paper first thing on waking up, I see no point in worrying about my bed at that point. I come back to bed making later.
Q. What does your protagonist think about you? Would he or she want to hang out with you, the author?
A. My protagonist, Gazina, loves me. She thinks I gave her courage, I gave her a purpose in life. I gave her power over the most powerful forces surrounding her. I gave her a loud voice. I gave her what she has always wanted, and not known that that was what she wanted. Yes, my protagonist would love to hang out with me, for a week which is not forever. My second protagonist, Gamaal, worships me. He thinks I made him a “lover”, and I made Gazina shower him with love so deep he is overwhelmed by it. And I made him respond unrestricted. He lives his fairy tale love in the pages of the book.
I am a dreamer. I love challenges, and to rise up to them. I enjoy a good book. When I am not writing, I am teaching and training. When I am not doing that I am learning languages. When all that is tiresome, I am socialising with friends. But the little time I have during the holidays with my family, I throw myself fully into motherhood and wifehood. Travel is my weakness, a good Arabic holiday by the seaside.