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Interview with Author Hesham N. Ali

Updated: Feb 12, 2020

Hesham N. Ali was officially diagnosed with the “Writer’s Bug,” in the year of 2014. At just 23 years old, he published two titles, Fear in Flesh and A Portrait of Memories, both shy of just two months apart! To tell us more about his journey as a self-published author of fantasy and thriller, we sat down with him to ask him a few questions.

Najla Qamber Designs: Thanks, Hesham for taking the time to answer our questions! We’re happy to have you. All right first question: besides being a free-lance author, your actual full-time job is a school librarian, which we think is very cool. Could you tell us what that’s like?

Hesham N. Ali: You can say it feels like being in a storage facility of endless inspirational stories and quotes all having their own variety of pages and covers while sharing the same shelving capacity. It’s a realm of inspiration for any writer or author of any kind, with works of many genres at your disposal so you’re never truly bored.

NQD: In your bio, you mentioned that you were struck with the writer's bug back in 2014. What exactly happened that made you want to get into writing?

H.N.A: During that time when I was finishing my studies in Bahrain Polytechnic, I came across an elective course entitled “The Hero’s Quest & The Alchemist” where we were tasked to read Palo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” and write a reflection that explores our analysis of the protagonist’s quest and relate it to our quest in life during that time with whatever that had transpired over the past and what to expect in the future. That was when I discovered my love for reading other forms of books than just comic books and graphic novels all the time, and discovered a passion for writing. For even though I was not an artist who could illustrate an image—though I had the hankering for such a passion from reading all those superhero comics over the years—no one ever said you can be an artist through your drawing skills alone. I found out that I can still illustrate a clear image in someone’s mind via connecting phrases and sentences with no more than a pen on a piece of paper.

NQD: What’s your writing process like? Do you have any unique rituals/habits that put you in a writing mood?

H.N.A: Nothing special. I get most of my writing done in the solace of my fortress of solitude (the bedroom). But I always write whenever I feel like writing. No candles and dimmed lights or soothing music. Just myself, a functioning laptop and sometimes with a special visit from my cat.

NQD: What was the inspiration behind your first book, Fear in Flesh? And what sort of research did you have to do?

H.N.A: That year, when I decided to start writing a “practice” story was the Year of the Dead for me. It was during the peak of the TV series The Walking Dead + numerous back-to-back zombie genre video games coming out that year alone. So no wonder I picked a genre I’m so familiar with for a practice run that turned into a debut novel. If watching the hottest apocalyptic zombie-thriller of the decade along with playing numerous video games of a similar genre wasn’t research enough... then Max Brook’s A Guide on how to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse might’ve offered some useful insights as well.

NQD: What would you say are the lessons you’ve learned as an indie author so far? And what was the biggest surprise you’ve faced?

H.N.A: Lessons learned: Be persistent because that’s how you improve and mature in your writing style and make the transition from writer to author. Exploring the many mistakes you will make over time and correcting them, either during the planning phase or editorial, publishing and post-publishing. You might be inclined to spend money to invest in physical copies, but never say that you’ve wasted money whether you were swindled in the editing or cover design prices, or even shipment of the books. Money gone, but lesson learned, not to be repeated again.

Biggest Surprise: The reception of the citizens of Bahrain—may they be family, friends or strangers—felt very encouraging and welcoming at the time because no one knew, and apparently the majority thought I was wasting my time just playing video games and reading comics for nothing all this time. But they were shocked when I showed them proof that there was something that came out of those “time-wasting” hobbies. And according to many, it fits my personality, where I saw it as being a part of me.

NQD: In your experience, what’s one misconception people have about indie authors?

H.N.A: That our main aim is to make big money and become filthy rich best-selling authors. I mean, it is a nice goal and all, but there’s a long and tiring road for us indie authors to cross in hopes to reach there one day. What matters is not the money during these early stages, it’s rather the feedback from readers we need to improve in order to get recognition. Having a published or self-published book doesn’t make you an accomplished author alone... Having someone to read your book and comment about it is what kindles that first spark to stardom, which I don’t think I’m anywhere close to, but I’m still turning the pages as I go along.

NQD: What would you say is your favorite part about being a Bahraini self-published author?

H.N.A: That there is not a lot of us out there. But we open the doors and break down barriers for those possibilities to come alive in Bahrain.

NQD: Have you written any short stories? And are you planning on publishing them?

H.N.A: Plenty! And we’ll just have to see about that.

NQD: What’s your dream goal as an author?

H.N.A: To create a world/universe I can call my own.

NQD: Any upcoming books in the near future that we can tell our followers about?

H.N.A: Expect Fear in Souls (the 2nd and final installment to the Fear in Flesh series) to be available for purchase on Amazon just before the new year.

So stay tuned on:

Instagram @h.madrex

About The Author

Born and raised in a minuscule Middle Eastern island known to man as the Kingdom of Bahrain. His entire life, Hesham had traversed through the infinite cosmos and amidst the time of the dinosaurs, falling all the way down the rabbit hole. When he finally emerged on the other side into the backward world of fiction writing where he battled his greatest demons in a multiverse of genres—that was when his reign of madness began.

2014 was the year he was diagnosed with the infamous “Writer’s Bug”. By 2016 he debuted with two novels: {Fear in Flesh} and {A Portrait of Memories}. Hesham was 23 when he published both titles only 2 months apart during that year. As his passion for making up stories keeps on growing, so does his love for creating fictional worlds then tearing them asunder.


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