Many of us have so many ideas, dreams and ambitions in the back of our minds that one-day we will get to. That’s not the case for Dubai Abulhoul, author of the upcoming novel ‘Galagolia’. She’s only 15 years old but she’s not waiting to chase her dreams. For those of us waiting for the right moment, I think we can take so much from Dubai and her drive.
Dubai talks passionately about the book and how the characters come to her, forcing her to put them down on paper immediately. You can tell from her tone how excited she is about everything she’s experiencing. I needed to know the secret behind her drive and how she overcame obstacles that many of us aren’t able to.
Q – So What is Galagolia, and does it portray experiences from your life?
Dubai: It’s a fictional world; a portal that the main character Maitha finds and realizes that she has inherited the throne after her parent’s death. It might seem very fictional but it has an Emirati essence; you will feel it in the setting and its easily relatable to Dubai. I wrote something I would pick up and read!
Q- How do you get yourself to write?
Dubai: Because I have so many ideas I feel like I need to write them, I didn’t have a problem writing, I think it’s because of my imagination. I am very grateful that my imagination hasn’t diminished as I grew older because it has been the main reason I wrote the story: the non-stop ideas and the fact that I have to get them on paper.
Q- Do you experience writers block? How do you overcome it?
Dubai: I sometimes find it hard to translate all my ideas into words, just because there are so many of them. If I am really stuck I try to go back to books, I love reading and it reminds me why I want to tell a story. Reading the detailed descriptions in books I love like Harry Potter show me why I love writing. I am really inspired by the stories I read which make me go back to finishing my novel.
Q- What steps can potential writers take to reach to a published book?
Dubai: the most important thing is to write for yourself. Publishers can see your passion in the writing, so be true to the story you are trying to tell.
- Finish writing the book
- Send it off to a publisher
- It’s a long process so don’t let it stop you. Be patient.
Q- Did you receive any criticisms? Which one was the toughest and how did you get over it?
Dubai: I used to write at times I shouldn’t have, like in class, people would say focus, pay attention to your studies. I realized that what’s important to me may not be important to everyone else. While I do care about my studies and know they are a priority, but so is my writing. They said I was naive and should concentrate on studying, but I didn’t want to wait till graduation. That made me sometimes doubt myself, but I blocked negativity, and didn’t let it affect my writing or my academic life.
Q- Twitter has been great at raising awareness of your book, how do you hope to maintain that? What have you found works?
Dubai: I was really in denial about it when Galagolia was trending on twitter, it felt like my birthday! It felt so good seeing people interested about the story, so I tried to keep it going by showing them sketches and pictures of the final book, it’s all about sharing without giving it all away.
The conversation went back to how she deals with pressures of being a 15 year old, balancing family, school, and writing a novel. Dubai still had wisdom to share: “in our culture you always have to have a Plan B, but why? Why are we settling? There should be one plan that is achieved!” Not only that she also thinks her age doesn’t matter “age is just a number; you don’t need a degree or wait to be a certain age to be successful or start working towards achieving your dreams. As a 12 year old I had to ignore those who said I am too young and start writing.” She said.
That’s a girl who knows what she wants! I learned so much from this interview and the enthusiasm needed to achieve my goals!
Galagolia will be out in all major bookstores in the UAE by March 08, 2012, and we can’t wait to delve into Dubai’s world of fantasy!
You can follow news about the upcoming novel on its twitter page: @Galagolia.