Hello readers! We’re very excited to introduce Bedoor Khalaf, who is not only a local Bahraini author of three well-known children’s books, but the author of Dreams of a Blue Moon, a poetry book that consists of 50 sentimental poems that narrate feelings of love, hope, and pain.
Najla Qamber Designs: Hi Bedoor, thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us! You are the author of four books, all of which you’ve published on your own. Could you start by telling us about your relationship with writing? How did it start with you?
Bedoor Khalaf: I started writing at a young age as a way to express myself creatively through poetry and some short stories. I recall my first few poems were rather basic but
with time and reading, I was able to find my voice and my preferred writing style. I
stopped writing in university and started my career with passion just to find out a
few years later that a big part of myself has been lost without my writing and the
“real me” is no longer expressing herself. I decided to then dust my notebooks
and start writing again with a different perspective to life trying to catch up with
the lost time.
NQD: What’s your writing process like? Do you have any unique rituals/habits that put you in a good writing mood?
B.K: My writing process starts with generating an idea which can either jump at me from nowhere or it could be inspired from something such as a picture (very common), a person, or even an event. Some ideas take off very quickly and smoothly, such as when I wrote, If I were a Pair of Maracas, which was conceptualized and written in just two days. Other ideas need more work. Poems are also done somewhat quickly given the emotional nature of the poems I prefer to write. Longer works of fiction require a more methodical process with outlining, character building, making up the plot or idea, and theme.
NQD: Do you think your kids have an influence on your writing children's books?
B.K: They definitely do! You see things differently when you have children, a totally new perspective to life. In addition to that, in regards to children’s books, you get exposed to so many of them that you come to realize what makes a good children’s book. I believe that having kids turned me into a bigger critic of the books I read to them (and write) because books make up a huge part of a person’s childhood. It is a responsibility that we read to our children, not just what we feed them.
NQD: What’s the difference between writing a poetry book for adults and writing a children's book? What was it like for you to do both?
B.K: There’s a huge difference. Poetry for me is my native language, my one and only creative streak. I feel and hear the words before writing them on paper. I write poetry for myself, I write children's books for others. Both have passion but a different kind of passion, one that represents me as a mother and as a woman.
NQD: Why didn’t you publish your first books, If I Were A Pair Of Maracas and Dreams Of A Blue Moon, through a traditional publishing house? What’s the story there?
B.K: I chose to self-publish because I am very picky when it comes to how I represent myself and my work. Traditional publishing houses may interfere with my work and I am too emotionally involved in it. This does not mean that I just posted my final work online and got it published, I worked hard and got many readers to give me their honest and sometimes brutal opinion about my work. It’s not easy being criticized but it helps you grow. I also reached a point in my life where I thought, “If not now, then when?” and that was the only motivation I needed. Plus, I can target English readers all around the world.
NQD: What’s it like being a self-published author in Bahrain? What have you learned on this journey so far?
B.K: Being self-published has its pros and cons. Being a mother of two young boys, it is much easier for me to phase out the marketing needed to better suit my schedule; I would not be pressured to be available in exhibitions, book fairs, or attend book readings unless it works for me. The market I sell my books in is bigger, anyone who has access to online stores can order a book, which is very important since they are written in English. I learned that things need time to be done correctly and I am in no rush.
NQD: You’ve been invited to different institutions/schools to read your books to young kids. Tell us about that overall experience.
B.K: Reading to children is amazing. Seeing their eyes light up when you make a joke or having a shy child hide behind his friend with his hand covering his mouth is just priceless. This may be one of the most rewarding experiences I have and what makes it more special is that their innocent and pure reactions are because of words I wrote. Connecting with the children at their level and trying to listen to each and every one of them is great, which is why I take so long in signing my books. They don’t see me as me, they think of me as this “amazing writer who wrote this book” and whether or not they will appreciate my work when they grow older doesn’t matter to me; all that matters is that when I was reading to them, I made eye contact, when I wrote their names and a little note, I smiled and made them feel special for this one minute. I wish they would at least remember how I made them feel that day because what they made me feel is more special tenfold.
NQD: What were you most afraid of when you decided to publish a book on your own?
B.K: I was mostly afraid of not having tough enough skin to handle critics, but I believe that the more you listen to your readers, the better you are at seeing your shortcomings.
NQD: How do you see yourself contributing to the world with your books and your blog?
B.K: There are a lot of hardships in this world and many readers feel helpless and sometimes lost. Just as many authors were (and still are) there for me in my good or bad days, I wish to be available for my readers every day.
NQD: Any upcoming books in the near future that we can tell our followers about?
B.K: I have three written books- all for adults, and I hope to be able to finalize the work to have them published in 2020. My new projects include one more children’s book and a fantasy (probably targeting young adults as well). Fingers crossed!
About The Author
Bedoor Khalaf is a Bahraini poet and author of short stories and children’s books. Her passion towards writing started at a very young age where she saw poetry as the perfect means to describe her emotions and make sense of life as she saw it.
Bedoor stopped writing for a period of time to focus on her career only to find her infatuation with the written word again in 2013. A proud working mother, Bedoor is currently finalizing her other writings for future publications.
Uncover more of Bedoor’s writing on www.bedoorbluemoon.com