Forest fires, dead koalas, political assassinations, viruses, near wars...Just when I thought 2020 couldn't get more dystopian, this new coronavirus outbreak has now turned into a fully-fledged pandemic.
Let the zombie apocalypse begin!
I remember feeling a tingle of concern during the bird and swine flus, and a part of me had hoped this outbreak would blow over in a similar way but apparently not. This is no click bait, you guys I'm under quarantine, well, my entire town in Saudi is. This means no travelling out of my town and social distancing- something very few people seem to be doing. For the most part, I've been stuck at home while people in the community gather and party like we're all on holiday.
This situation sucks for the obvious reasons but also because this drama is happening during a time when my writing career has been taking steps forward. So here's the update:
If you don't already know, last year I self-published a picture book inspired by Saudi folklore called SHEMS AND THE MAGIC SEABREAM which is available to purchase on Amazon- excuse the shameful self-promo. I also worked on translating the story into Arabic and have been approaching publishers here in the Gulf and Lebanon with the manuscript. A Lebanese publisher contacted me a while ago, saying they're interested, which was super exciting until they asked me to pay towards the printing cost of the copies. This isn't unusual with publishers in this region but eventually I turned down their offer. This resulted in a sad and almost regretful Alwia. I say 'almost' because a couple of weeks after that I get interest from a Saudi publisher. We had a chat on the phone, spoke about some deep revisions and they were interested in publishing me my book!
Yes, yes, this is all wonderful. But then the coronavirus...
The outbreak is impacting book fairs and publishing schedules and so for the time being, things have come to a standstill. Still, after seven years of trying to break into the traditional publishing industry, this is a win.
Then something amazing happened.
I applied to a mentorship program called Author Mentor Match and got in. This program pairs aspiring authors with completed manuscripts with agented authors who help them revise their books and hopefully land a literary agent themselves. It's super competitive with limited spaces and so getting picked is an incredible opportunity. I feel so blessed to be now mentored by the wonderful Carly Heath who is working with me on ways to revise my adult, OwnVoices, romantic comedy Cardamom Ties.
So yeah, it would kind of suck to die from COVID-19 just when things start to progress with my writing. Hopefully 2020 ends on a better note.