Interview with contemporary fiction writer Hend Hegazi

fiction writer Hend Hegazi is first up
on Reviews and Interviews for this new year. We’re talking about her new novel,
Behind Picket Fences.

During her
virtual book tour, Hend will be awarding one copy of Normal Calm and a copy of Behind
Picket Fences
(U.S. and International) to lucky randomly drawn winner. To
be entered for a chance to win, use the
form below.
To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit
her other tour stops
and enter there, too!


Hegazi was born and raised in Southeastern Massachusetts. Despite her desire to
pursue writing as a profession, she graduated from Smith College with a degree
in biology and a minor in religion. Shortly thereafter, the winds of life and
love blew her to Egypt where she has been living for the past 14 years. She is
a full-time mother of four as well as a freelance writer and editor. Some of
her work has been featured in SISTERS Magazine. Her fiction and poetry focus on
the human condition, often shedding light on the Muslim American experience.
Hend strives to be God-conscious and aims to raise that awareness in her
readers. As a common theme in her pieces, the intimate relationship between
God-consciousness and love is often explored. Hend’s debut novel, Normal Calm, was published in January
Welcome, Hend. Please share a little bit about your current
Picket Fences
is a
story which looks beyond the fronts of happiness and security that so many
families put up to hide the truth of their struggles. It exposes the hardships
in four neighboring families, revealing infertility, infidelity, and mental
illness as just a few of the issues the characters face.
What inspired you to write this book?
Often times
in our lives, we look to our colleagues or neighbors and feel jealous at their
situation. We may look at a colleague who recently received a promotion—with a
substantial salary increase—and find ourselves wishing we had her life. Or we
may look at a couple who is happily chasing their children around a park, and
wish that we, too, had that kind of familial contentment. But the truth of life
is that no one has it perfectly; that colleague with the promotion may be
battling a fatal disease, that happy family may be drowning in bills. We all
struggle with something, no matter how well hidden that struggle may be. With Behind
Picket Fences
, my goal was to raise awareness not of the struggles we face,
but of the blessings we may take for granted. The invisible blessings which
surround us are what inspired me to write this book.

Excerpt from Behind Picket Fences:

“Actually,” Farris interrupted, “I’m just going to call it a night.”
Farris began to walk away without saying goodbye or even recognizing the women.
Faruq stood there for a second, jaw open, utterly embarrassed by his brother’s
anti-social behavior. “I’ll be right back, ladies. Don’t go anywhere.”

He ran
after his brother and quickly caught up with him. “Man, what are you doing?!
This is the best thing for you right now.”
“I don’t
want this. This has never been my scene, Faruq, and you know that. I’m just
going to…”
But the
sight of something beyond Farris made his brother interrupt, grabbing him by
the shoulder. “That’s him! Farris, man, that’s him!” Faruq shouted, pointing in
the direction he was looking.
around so he could see what Faruq was pointing to, Farris narrowed his eyes.
“What are you talking about, Faruq? That’s who?”
him!” Faruq repeated, excitedly grabbing Farris’ shirt at the shoulder. “That’s
the man I saw with Sidra!”
The words
forced Farris’ eyes into focus. He saw the tall, brown haired white man so
vividly, as if he were the only one in the parking lot. He didn’t hesitate for
even a split second; Faruq barely blinked, and suddenly Farris was sprinting
toward James. He lunged at him, punching him square in the face. The man fell
to the ground as the woman who was with him let out a gasp and crouched to the
floor beside him.
Looking up
at the attacker she screamed, “What the hell is wrong with you?! Why did you
punch my husband?!”
hovered over the couple, breathing heavily, rubbing his throbbing knuckles.
Faruq, now standing beside his brother, held Farris’ arm back and spoke out,
“Your husband is having an affair with his wife. Isn’t that right, James?”
“James?!” the woman yelled. “He’s not James!”

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently I’m writing a novel about a woman with undiagnosed high
functioning autism who is facing divorce and the struggle to retain custody of
her two children. She happens to be a convert to Islam, and with the rise in
Islamophobia all around the US, this complicates her life even more. Although I
am somewhat close to finishing the first draft, the story is still developing,
and I feel that my main character probably has some secrets she has yet to
share with me.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have loved to write ever since I was in third grade, and although writing
has been a part of me ever since then, that does not mean that I have been
writing consistently all my life. About five years ago I decided that I had
wasted enough time, and I began to take my writing seriously. With my first
novel, Normal Calm, I had proven to myself that I could be an author.
But that only led me to ask myself, “Are you truly an author, or just someone
who wrote a book once?” And that self dare propelled me to finish Behind
Picket Fences

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do
you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

I am a full-time mother of four, which means my kids make sure I don’t write
full-time. I manage a two-hour writing session while they are at school, and
although I would love another writing session in the evening…well…my kids
always see to it that that doesn’t happen!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Although it takes me more time to produce a draft, I prefer to write by
hand, using pen and paper. Usually I write 10 or 20 pages, then transcribe them
to the computer. I have sticky notes all over my notebook, which get
transferred as comments on my digital document. It’s more time consuming, but I
enjoy not having to be stuck in front of a screen while I’m writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A brain surgeon! Can you believe that?!

Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?

You can read my poetry and blog posts on my website and follow me on Facebook. For updates on
giveaways and special offers, kindly opt-in to my free newsletter

Both of my novels are available through most major
book distributors, or click here to purchase through Amazon:
, Behind
Picket Fences

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!
Thank you
so much for having me. It’s been a pleasure!

4 thoughts on “Interview with contemporary fiction writer Hend Hegazi

  1. Raheemah Odusote says:

    I have Normal Calm which I have started reading and wouldn't mind getting Behind Picket Fence too.
    I love reading the excerpt and it really pricked my interest. I laughed when the wife of the man Faruq knocked down said, "He is not James." What a shock. Looking forward to reading more of the interviews on the tour. I wish Hend a successful tour. Thaks Lisa for the interview.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *