Why a book was written

(This is a guest post by Sybil Powell.)

I lived in Saudi Arabia for ten years and as I always do when I live abroad I ignored the English enclave and set out to meet the natives, not an easy thing to do in a muslim country. However my husband was of the same mind and it was through him we came to become friends with some Saudi families, both Bedouin and what we might determine middle class. I loved it and even wore purdah when I went out with the girls, I lived with a family for some time while my husband was away and became fully integrated with their way of life and religious rules.

Before very long I became disgusted by the way most expatriates thought of the people I admired and vowed to write a book to help the westerner understand and appreciate the Saudi life style. The book I felt would not be acceptable in anything other than a novel, it is a love story that I hope covers most of the differing points of view between the middle east and the west. It was written in the days of portable typewriters and the book took several years to complete. Try as I may I could interest no publisher to consider my book let alone publish it, I think I had well over a hundred rejection letters, pretty depressing and I gave up.

We had been back in the UK for some time when self publishing came along and I was able to publish it myself through Createspace and Kindle. Now is the problem of marketing it. This is my current problem or should I say challenge because I now have another novel about ready to go this time about Yorkshire industrial life and the after effects of conflict on the individual.

Whilst I never thought of the trials and tribulations as goals. to me they were just difficulties to over come but in other parlance goals would describe them.


Why a book was written — 2 Comments

  1. Your questions are very interesting but it didn’t happen in a planned way it just sort of slid from disgust into reality with the purchase of a portable typewriter. I first wrote about 50,000 words of events and situations that happened in my daily experience. For those who have wrestled with a typewriter will know mistakes are not easily corrected which leads to many re-types. During these re-types and fresh daily experiences the book grew to about 110,000 words.
    The manuscript was then give to all who would read and give me feedback, amazingly people enjoyed it, after incorporating the feedback the word count had dropped to 106,000.
    We returned to the UK and I started hawking it round the publishers (some were quite rude) most were helpful or at least polite but all refused it.
    If I was ever aware of a goal it was to try to make the west and particularly expatriates understand that Saudi family life has, in its own way, is a rich and enjoyable one.

  2. What were some of the steps you took to make the book happen? How long did you think about it before you wrote it? Would love to hear more about the details to help and encourage other writers.