Today we talk about WANDERLUST. A New Lease on Life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a book by Ava Kabouchy published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author, Ava Kabouchy, to get to know her better, what prompted her to write her personal story in her book WANDERLUST. A New Lease on Life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as what messages she wanted to send out to her female and male readers.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- What prompted you to write your personal story?
Saudi Arabia is often the target of much criticism because of known human rights violations, the lack of women’s rights, the murder of a Saudi journalist for his views on the monarchy, and other reasons. However, I knew immediately that I would accept the position as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language when It was offered, and that I would have to put aside the country’s politics. But isn’t the same true of so many countries in the world today? Very recently, I had a conversation with a young Portuguese man who told me he was afraid to visit the United States because of everything he hears about near daily shootings in the U.S. I did my best to assure him that he needn’t be afraid to visit my country, but to enjoy some of its amazing scenery and friendly people.
- What sensations did you feel by ‘reading’ your life on the pages of your book?
I’m smiling as I think of my answer. All the stories, of course, are very familiar to me because I lived them. Rereading my book brought back memories that could only have happened in Saudi Arabia. It turned out to be a country where surprises always happened, where there was so much to learn, so many new people to meet, and so much amazing scenery. The Arabian desert is extraordinarily beautiful – it seems to go on forever, and then suddenly a herd of camels might appear with a herder more than willing to talk with you about these extraordinary animals that are so much a part of Arabian culture.
- What are the messages you want to send out with your book, to your female and male audience?
My book mostly has female readers in mind – that as women, we must not be afraid to take a chance now and then. By not taking chances, we might be denying ourselves the opportunity for personal growth and experience, and who knows where you will be led next ? Male readers, too, might learn to better appreciate what women’s experiences can lead to and support women along the way. Men, too however, shouldn’t be afraid to take a risk for the same reason I said above – personal growth and experience.
- How did your passion for writing start?
I have always enjoyed writing and kept personal journals from the time I was in my teens. Writing “Wanderlust” just seemed to happen naturally. So many experiences, I feel, just needed to be shared and once I started writing them down, the words flowed easily. I was also motivated to promote the positive side of Saudi Arabia – its culture and history, the architecture of its buildings, the beauty of the desert, and the kindness and hospitality of the people. Photography is a real passion of mine as well, and when I started taking trips with friends into the desert, I saw so many opportunities to photograph people and places that could only be found in the Kingdom.
- Are you planning to write more books?
Already published is my first book, “Where in the World is Grammie Now?” the true adventures of a globetrotting grandmother in Saudi Arabia. I envision “Grammie” as a series for young readers at home and in school. The series would be meant as a teaching tool about Saudi Arabia and other countries as well as an encouragement for all “Grammies” to take a chance and go to places they might only have read about. I have notes and many photographs of Sri Lanka, Egypt, Jordan, and other countries waiting to follow the format of my first “Grammie” book. In addition, just a few days ago, a second magazine published my travel article on and photographs of Saudi Arabia. Here is the link:
Another travel magazine, Go Nomad, had already published my article on Saudi Arabia last November and is publishing this week my article on and photographs of Perpignan, France, a colorful and little-known city in southwest France, where I lived for three years before coming to Toulouse last December. More travel articles are in the works.
Europe Books thanks the author Ava Kabouchy once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside her on the editorial path that led to the publication of her book WANDERLUST. A New Lease on Life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We wish her the best of luck for her future works.
To you, my dear reader, I hope that this book will be appreciated and welcomed by both female and male audiences; that it will be of inspiration and motivation especially for women, but also for men, not to be afraid to take risks, because often and willingly taking risks means growing and going beyond one’s limits and comfort zones.
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy this very interesting reading!