Recently I wrote a review of a short story called The Ward, written by a fellow blogger Nadine Banna (@NadineBanna). Having found her story to be thrilling and extremely intriguing, I approached Nadine with the idea of a follow-up post featuring an interview with herself, to find out who, when and what inspired her to write and what makes her creativity tick.
“I was surprised how much words on paper could affect you.”
Growing up as a ‘huge bookworm’ Nadine loved all kinds of fiction and after reading each book desired to become a writer herself. When asked what really inspired her passion for writing she replied that being a huge Harry Potter fan she was surprised ‘how much words on paper could affect you’.
Having grown up in Cairo, Nadine went to an all-girl French Catholic school which did not change all through (what she calls) kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school (for us that would be nursery, primary and secondary school). I asked whether there was any specific event or reaction from this environment that encouraged her to write. She told me that she was asked to write her high school graduation speech which was her first real ‘piece’ of fiction. When asked what it was about Nadine stated that ‘It wasn’t really a speech but more of a story about young girls growing up inside the walls of a castle and wanting to get out of there as soon as they can to see the outside world, they had to make a deal with a witch called Time. They finally got out, but at a price.’ Nadine went on to explain that ‘All through my speech I could see her [Marina, (Nadine’s best friend)] and a lot of other childhood friends crying as they identified with the all-too-eager girls who wanted to finally leave the ‘castle’ but at the cost of losing their school friends. Their response and the nun who asked me to write the speech, she came up to me afterwards and hugged me and said to never hide my talent, that it was a gift and that I was meant to grow it. Their reactions towards my speech were amazing and her words and everyone else encouraging me to keep on writing has meant that I’ve never stopped since!’
“I was trying to see how different people would react to what I write and from their reaction see how I could improve my work.”
Nadine’s retelling of those events had me emotional and gripped to find out more, especially about The Ward which she published on her blog on the 22nd June 2017. Although Nadine hasn’t professionally published any of her books, she certainly hopes, in fact, plans to in the future. Speaking of publishing, I asked what made her publish The Ward on her blog and why she thought blogging was a good idea. ‘I started the blog in March [of this year] to try to build a readership and to get wider feedback on my work. I was trying to see how different people would react to what I write and from their reaction see how I could improve my work before taking the step towards professionally publishing. I used to publish my work on Facebook but the community was closed and restricted to people around me.’ Having read several of the comments about her short story and of those I got from my review of The Ward, this ambitious move definitely seems to have paid off.
“I am particularly fond of works of fiction that have an unexpected twist.”
The latter part of our conversation focused more on The Ward, the short story that I recently reviewed. I found that the genre of this short story was hard to identify, in fact, I thought it would be restrictive to label it as belonging to only one category and Nadine reassured me that that was the entire point. ‘I am particularly fond of works of fiction that have an unexpected twist at the end, that can make you revisit the entire piece to make sure you didn’t miss any clues as to the truth of the situation, for example Snape’s story in Harry Potter… I don’t think you can restrict this effect to one genre because it can be used in drama as much as in thrillers or mysteries.’
Nadine’s mentioned of Harry Potter and being a massive fan of J.K. Rowling myself I was compelled to asked whether this story had an impact on her work. ‘Oh definitely… as I was saying, Snape’s story was a big inspiration as well as Neville’s parents who ended up in a ward.’ Speaking of authors, Nadine mentioned that she was also a huge fan of Dan Brown’s mysteries ‘which heavily rely on this effect too.’ These books helped with elaborating the idea which she revealed stemmed from one of her dreams. I asked if she could elaborate further on this point, which she was more than happy to do, stating that ‘I dreamt that I was visiting someone in a psychiatric ward and I was told that I was the one who was sick. I liked the idea and further elaborated it with a richer background story and tried to make it more emotionally engaging.’
The popular response to this story meant that I had to ask whether she was planning to write anymore. I can confirm that she is! I managed to extract that the story will be called The Gift and that it is about relationships.
I finished the interview asking if she had any advice to writers and her response was ‘write, write and write some more… A finished imperfect piece is better than a perfect unfinished piece. I believe that feedback negative or positive is very constructive. But it is only the negative feedback that makes you notice the loopholes in your writing and would make you a better writer.’
If you have found this interview interesting like myself and found that you want to read more of Nadine’s work then just click this URL link to find more: https://nadinebanna14.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/the-ward/