Age 21 Years Old
Where are you from
I am Jordanian Canadian, and I currently live in Ottawa, Ontario.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’m currently studying Psychology Bachelor of Science in Carleton University. As for my family, I have one older brother, two younger brothers, and two younger sisters. I love them all very much, and I try my best to cherish all moments with them.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Saleh: I recently got published by Titan Inkorp Publishing House, and it really inspired joy into me, after the long, necessary hard work of trying to get into the publishing business.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Saleh: The main reason I started to write was to inspire and to convey what I personally believe to be true. I wanted to write to fight the part of the rigidly placed status quo that appears to be oppressive and unnatural in my eyes. Writing to me seems to be like an adventure that starts beneath the Earth and then ends up in the skies, where my voice can be heard. And it’s not that I want only my voice to be heard, I want all of our voices to be heard in the name of truth, peace, and love.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It all started back in high school, when a friend of mine showed me a poem he wrote. After reading it and seeing how beautiful the art of writing and poetry is, I started to write ever since. I used to be the typical case of that ‘dude’ who’d always write during classes.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
What mainly inspired me to write God Forsaken is the fact that I wanted to raise awareness on certain important issues that the world faces today. My main goal of writing the book is to inspire coexistence of all religions, and more importantly, teach people about the beauty of the philosophy called Deism. Deism simply and elegantly means, to believe in God only through natural observation. How beautiful is that? That’s all we need! That way, we wouldn’t have to follow every verse in our Holy Books, especially when it inspires violence towards other religions. I have absolutely no intention to offend anyone. I’ve always loved everyone I know, no matter what their beliefs are. I’m just trying to raise awareness to the danger of religious extremism. People are going to hate me for writing this book, but you know, you can’t please everyone. You really can’t. And as for the extreme darkness and twisted emotion in Part 1, it will change throughout parts 2, 3, and 4, but not in a cliché way.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I’ve read a lot in my lifetime, and never was I so inspired by a writing style like Chuck Palahniuk’s. The mini-paragraph writing style is so powerful, because he gets straight to the point when he wants to make a concept of element of the story clear to you.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I came up with the title, ‘God Forsaken’, from the concept of prayer. I’ve met many souls in my life who have given up on the concept of praying to God, as it has always left them in disappointment as to the lack of an answer. Constantly people are praying, crying, sobbing, letting their hearts out on the altars of their gods, seeking for an answer, and ultimately enlightenment. And even when they do get answered, they don’t seem to realize that it was all but a chance based on an inner psychological boost. What I want to tell my readers is that the only form of prayer that’s ever, ever worth having, is action itself.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
What I want my readers to know, and this is important, is to question absolutely everything that they are encountered with in their lives. I am very, very aware of the fact that questioning can be extremely painful in the beginning, as it sets you apart from the status quo, from the will of society, and more painfully, from others. But it is necessary! There is no way anyone can achieve enlightenment or become a master of himself unless he has first questioned.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Well, it is realistic in the sense that it can be related to through the messages, but it’s not in the sense that there are certain supernatural intervention in the story.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are a lot of elements in the story which relate to my personal experience in my pursuit for knowledge, but there are some aspects and events of the story which are too dark and extreme to be related to me. Some of it related to me, and some purely fictional.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Two Authors, Osho Rajneesh, the Indian mystic philosopher, and all of his books which focus on the area of philosophy. Also, Chuck Palahniuk, specifically Fight Club.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Definitely Chuck Palahniuk. He is one of the few people in my life with whom I have related to in a spiritual sense of understanding.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am currently reading Survivor for Chuck Palahniuk. If it talks about someone who claims to be an antichrist, then we can’t really help but admit that the story would be interesting. His idea of implanting the Antichrist into his story is what inspired me to write this novel, God Forsaken.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
There is an author named Mark Kirkbride, author of Satan’s Fan Club. He also adopts the writing style of Chuck Palahniuk, and I thus found his book to be very intriguing. His writing style is brilliant, and the book contains a lot of humor to keep you flipping the pages.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
My current projects have mainly to do with completing the novel series, and releasing Part 2 sometime soon.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Kylie Price, Author of Wings of Vengeance. She has always been a kind friend and a great supporter. The world would definitely be a better place if we had more Kylies.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
If I am supported enough in my writing, then of course, that would be my ultimate, greatest dream come true! Writing is one of the main reasons I get up in the morning, and the main reason I don’t want to sleep at night.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
The one thing I would’ve wanted to do was to wait until I finished all four parts of the story, and then publish it, because people might get the wrong idea from Part 1. People would begin to think that I don’t believe in God. I do! It’s just that I do believe in God in a different way. All I want for my readers is to wait until all four parts of the book are finished and then judge my work.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It all came ever since I started to imagine, started to imagine and realize that life is far greater, far more beautiful and inexplicable, than what others would claim it to be, and what books might reveal to me.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The main idea of Part 2, which will be named Sabir, is heading back to the origins of the fictional religion, Illumina, and finding out how Mazin, the prophet of Illumina, really created the religion. It’s going to be even darker than Part 1. But Part 3 will be of redemption, and Part 4 will be the elegant closing of this emotional rollercoaster of a story.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
It is in fact very difficult to write sometimes, especially when you have something important to say. As Stephen King once said, “The most important things are the most difficult to write.” For a debut novel, I feel I am tackling big issues, especially that I’m only 21 years old. But still, as Paulo Coelho said, “If it’s still in your head, then it’s worth writing down.”
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Chuck Palahniuk, because he writes not only for the sake of telling a story, he writes to make you a different person when you finish reading the last page of one of his novels. Some of his lines cut very deep into me, like the line that the narrator of Fight Club (the novel) said to himself as Tyler Durden was pushing the gun in his mouth. He asked himself, “Where would Jesus be if no one had written the Gospels?”
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Well, not really, this is still my debut novel. But in the future, if I have to, then I would love to!
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Someone named Leana, a designer at Titan Inkorp. She really is a talented artist and knows how to make a cover appropriate for your book.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part of writing this book was challenging everything I was brought up to believe in, and more than that, realizing that somewhere down the line, people will not only disagree with what I write, but they’ll also hate me for it. But again I say, I am not trying to offend anyone, I am only defending what I believe to be true.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that the more I write, the more I learn about the mysteries of myself.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. And when everyone puts you down, criticizes your writing telling you it won’t get you anywhere, you still write, and you write more. The world needs writers, so that people would read, so that individually, your readers would change, and thus the world would change for the better.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Write for a great purpose. Write to heal the world. Write to promote what’s true, what’s loving, and most importantly, what inspires peace.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I read was a book called ‘intelligence’ by Osho Rajneesh. His beautiful explanation of what intelligence really is is an eye-opener. It taught me with intelligence, you respond to your surrounding, while with intellect you only react. It taught me that intelligence has no words while still having meaning, while intellect can say a lot and have little meaning.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I actually love playing basketball. I used to play it all the time back in high school. I also like making people laugh, I do it all the time with my family. I just like letting people know that you shouldn’t take life too seriously, because I used to do that, and it only made me a sadder person.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Game of Thrones! George R.R Martin has the mind as large as the ocean.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Cheeseburger (haha!)/Black/Parkway Drive (Artist)
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have loved to become a musician. I absolutely love music. But not only do I love writing more, but I feel that writing, at least to me, serves a greater purpose.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, I do! Here it is: http://godforsakensalehmradaideh.wordpress.com/