Interview with Rahf Al-Rashidi – Best-selling author of ‘The Clouds Beyond Us’

I’m participating in a ‘Blog Blitz’ organised by Fraser’s Fun House. The Blitz is for ‘The Clouds Beyond Us’. I have previously reviewed the book, which you can read here:

https://fraternalphilosophising.com/2018/12/31/book-review-the-clouds-beyond-us/

Instead of reviewing TCBU, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about the author. An interesting book must have an interesting author; what is a book except the thoughts, emotions and character of the author?

 

Tell me a bit about yourself. I know you’re studying Medicine, which is incredible!

I’m a multi-genre author of short stories and poetry. I’m from Kuwait but I currently live abroad to pursue my medical degree and I can’t wait to be back home. I was raised by two heroes; a psychologist/author and a police officer. They’re both the reason behind my success.

Writing became a big part of my life when I moved to Texas, USA in 2009 and after I showcased my talents as an artist and a writer in the District PTA contest in Denton and won the first place. Years later, I moved to Exeter, UK and it’s when I wrote my first book.

I use to volunteer a lot in charity work till I’ve raised my own charity team ‘Let Us Help’ with the help of my sisters.

 

Your parents must be very proud of you! How did they respond when you told them that you’ve published your book, and that it’s a best seller on Amazon?

Yes indeed, they’re very proud of me. As a matter of fact, both my parents have encouraged me to publish my book in the first place. However, when my book became a best seller on Amazon they were the first people I’ve called to tell them the news. I can’t believe how they were extremely happy, happier than me! It was one of the happiest moments in my life. Becoming a bestselling author is not easy, but I know hard work always pays off.

 

What other modes of self-expression have you tried besides writing?

Writing is the only method I use to express myself. It’s not always easy to express yourself, but I found it easy when it comes to writing. To be honest, I haven’t tried any other mode of self-expression, but I’ll be learning how to play the piano soon, maybe then I can express myself more in music.

 

What’s your favourite book? And your least favourite book…

That’s a quiet difficult question to ask a bookworm. My favorite book is an emotionally exhausting Arabic romance novel written by Atheer Al Nashmi and its called ‘I loved you more than you deserve’ and for my least favorite book is Adultery by Paulo Coelho. I love his work and I enjoyed reading Adultery but the ending of the story was disappointing.

 

What made you want to publish a book?

I was working on my book for four years and I never thought that I would publish it this year, but after Hayley Paige read my book she actually fell in love with it and asked me to publish my book with her publishing house ‘NOTEBOOK’ and I went for it. I am forever grateful for her.

 

TCBU has a lot of personal and intimate stories. The way you write seems to suggest that writing is therapeutic for you; full of wise observations made in hindsight, almost like you’re listening to your own emotions and processing them. What is your relationship with writing?

Indeed, The Clouds Beyond Us has a lot of my personal stories and experiences and I think I have a healthy relationship with writing, as you mentioned “writing is therapeutic for you”.

However, writing frustrates me sometime and that it when I take a break and I come back stronger with a restless urge to write.

 

It seems like TCBU was written following different episodes in your life. This leads me to ask, have you always been documenting your thoughts and experiences?

Yes, I always document my thoughts and experiences since I was nine years old. I kept a daily journal and wrote stories frequently because there were so many times that I try to hide myself but writing forces me to put myself out there. It’s very uncomfortable.

 

Some of what you write in TCBU has some very personal details about you. What inspired you to share such details with the world?

The idea of allowing every individual to have access to your world “book” and see your spirit, true character and read about the experiences you’ve been though is quite scary to be honest. Especially that most people are judgemental and I was worried about being judged. But as soon as I got over my fear, I’ve became a bestselling author. You’ll never know until you try.

 

Which is your favourite and least favourite story in TCBU? Why do you feel that way?

Each story in The Clouds Beyond Us has special meaning to me and I enjoyed pouring out my emotions and thoughts in this book, but to be honest I don’t think there’s a least or favorite story yet there were easy stories to write and there were some difficult ones. For instance, Alzheimer’s was the hardest story to write and also transformative experience, and by hard, I mean; writing the story and reading it again. It aches my heart each time.

 

Above all else, what is the fundamental message you want your readers to take from TCBU?

The Clouds Beyond Us is a collection of stories and each story has a different message I want my readers to understand. But mostly, it’s that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Life doesn’t always make sense. Bad things happen to good people. You just have to remember that God can see the entire picture, you don’t have to worry. He will choose the best for you, even though it’ll take time for you to realize it.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

KEEP WRITING. Be a stubborn writer and don’t quit.

 

What’s next in your writing career?

I’m currently working on my next book.

 

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