Mahi Wasfy, a writer and early childhood educator, recently completed Now Novel’s author coaching process and finished writing her book, ‘In The Heart of Cairo’. We asked Mahi to share her experiences and insights into writing a book from start to finish:
Now Novel: Tell us a bit about your yourself and your book: What drove you to write it?
Mahi Wasfy: I was born in Alexandria, Egypt and grew up in Cairo. I am an Early Childhood Educator and I earned my Masters in Science in Early Childhood Education Studies at Walden University, The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership in Minesota, USA. In the Heart of Cairo is my first fiction novel. In it I address issues related to bias, diversity and equity prevalent in international schools and multicultural environments. I currently enjoy being a ‘granny’/e-moderator in The School in the Cloud project, where I encourage children living in India to maximize their learning potential.
Now Novel: As an educator yourself, you have insights into what works in a collaborative learning environment. What led you to seek author mentorship? How did it help you?
Mahi: I sought mentorship because I needed guidance with articulating my ideas and transforming it into a story. Also, I needed help with understanding the process and steps needed to write a novel. I could not have finished the book without Brendan’s amazing support. He motivated me to write regularly. This was especially helpful when I felt daunted by the burden to write. Also, he encouraged me to reread and rewrite the novel several times. Even though it was an overwhelming experience, I’m glad I did it because it gave me the opportunity to improve.
Now Novel: What did you learn during the editing process?
Mahi: I learned how to better express my views and communicate my message. I achieved this by making necessary changes regarding central theme, structure, characters and dialogue. I must admit that even though it was challenging it was worthwhile because Jenna’s valuable comments helped me take the novel to a whole new level. Additionally, I was able to strengthen my weaknesses by developing my characters further and refining the dialogue.
Now Novel: What were your biggest challenges writing your book and how did you overcome them?
Mahi: The biggest challenge was finding the time to write. To overcome this challenge I booked a studio for 2 hours a day on a monthly basis at a Community Art Center. I made full payments in advance to ensure my commitment to write regularly. Also, I invested in a Beats solo 2 wireless headphone. I must say it was the best investment I ever made! I was able to listen to my music from my phone without having to deal with constant messages and calls. Also, I was able to write in public places, on the beach, in my car after dropping off my kids for practice and even during their play dates.
Now Novel: How did you find the cover design process? What was your vision for the look of your book?
Mahi: The cover design process was amazing. I initially had envisioned a completely different cover than the one I chose. I must say Peter is very creative and talented and all of his proposed concept covers were superb. In fact, it was very difficult for me to choose one because they were all so good. The final cover truly reflects the theme and message of the novel.
Now Novel: How did you find the publishing process: any tips for aspiring authors you’d like to share?
Mahi: The publishing process was very straightforward and simple to do. I’d like to share great advice I received from a friend who advised me to create a Create Space account first in order to see how simple the publishing process is. And I must admit that I was highly motivated to write my book after I created my account!
Thank you for sharing your personal book-writing process and heartfelt congratulations on finishing, Mahi. You can find Mahi Wasfy’s novel In the Heart of Cairo here.
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