Sahar Abdulaziz is a gifted and prolific author whose collection of published books travel across a broad range of genres, themes and plots in the form of both individual and series. She is an author of eleven books––including The Broken Half, As One Door Closes, Expendable, Tight Rope, Unlikely Friends, Devoted Friends, The Gatekeeper’s Notebook, and her latest release, Unexpected Friends. Her work of fiction highlights the core of very realistic issues and challenges from domestic violence, mental health to romance. She is eloquent, مَا شَاءَ ٱللَّٰهُ and my favorite quote of hers from my interview with her is, “I believe my responsibility as a writer lies in telling the stories that need to be told without trepidation.”
R. Your writing genres include thrillers, suspense, satire, family, and even women’s fiction. Is there a genre I am missing?
S.I do write in a diverse plethora of genres. My first book, non-fiction, is called, But You LOOK Just Fine: Unmasking Depression, Anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a unique and practical resource packed with innovative information that compassionately highlights those struggling with depression, anxiety disorders, and other mood disorders––while offering readers candid counsel. This book acts as a user-friendly guide and a unique tool for mental healthcare providers.
Since then, I have written thrillers, suspense, and satire novels. My work covers a wide range of hard-hitting topics: mood disorders [depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, SAD, PPD], domestic violence and sexual assault, marital and family dysfunction, racism, sexism, and prejudice. Most of all––survivorship.
R. What is the latest book release titled?
S. My latest release is a satire called, Unexpected Friends, the third book in the Abernathy & Crane Series. This is a heartwarming series that unpacks friendship, family, loneliness, trust––all mixed with hilarity lead by a grumpy bibliophile––curmudgeon. This series was an absolute blast to write. Each of the characters is deliciously quirky and fun, but most of all, kind.
The Gatekeeper’s Notebook, a psychological suspense, was released in 2020. Like many of my other works, this novel is also character-centered. While fictional, my characters are complicated personalities who often find themselves embroiled in life-altering dilemmas and struggles. My psychological suspense/thrillers and domestic suspense novels unveil hard-hitting topics, such as domestic violence, sexual assault, emotional abuse, narcissism, secret keepers, infidelity, and bigotry. Some of my characters will have you rooting for them, sympathizing with their trials, while others will keep you perched nervously at the edge of your seat, craving their eventual comeuppance. Ultimately, these books highlight the kinds of hidden lives and struggles from personalities we all probably all know. They demonstrate how various dysfunction levels can collide with humanity and the heavy emotional toll each person caught in the labyrinthine is called on to pay.
R. “Secrets That Find Us.” What genre is it, and who is your target audience?
S. Secrets That Find Us, a psychological suspense/thriller published in 2015, is a story that tackles domestic, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse with unapologetic realism and accuracy. My target audience is anyone searching for a glimpse into the lives of the unprotected and the disposable.
R. I love everything about your books, the titles, the writing, the cover images. Every bit is simply captivating, مَا شَاءَ ٱللَّٰهُ.
S. Thank you, الحمدلله. I put a lot into each book so it’s truly wonderful to hear that they have made an impact.
R. Do you have a part in choosing these together with your publisher, Djarabi Kitabs Publishing?
S. Djarabi Kitabs Publishing [DKP], published Tight Rope [political Thriller], Expendable [Domestic suspense] and The Gatekeeper’s Notebook, [psychological Suspense]. I am truly blessed that DKP has given my creative spirit a wide berth to tell my stories without restriction.
Limitless Publishing published Unlikely Friends, and they, too, were extremely encouraging and enjoyable to work with.
Shaggy Dog LLC has published Devoted Friends and Unexpected Friends, and they have been fantastic and supportive.
In short, no publisher I have chosen to work with has ever tried to curtail the subjects I choose to write about. They have all been gracious, welcoming, and reassuring.
In terms of topics, I write the stories that choose me, whether commercially viable or not. I believe my responsibility as a writer lies in telling the stories that need to be told without trepidation.
That’s not to say I haven’t written a few books that I knew would cause a stir, or that I didn’t experience pangs of uncertainty while writing, but through it all, I try to remain committed to the bigger platform and goal––using fiction to impart truths.
R. When did you discover you wanted to write and one day publish?
S. Not entirely sure. I’ve always enjoyed the writing process, but especially words. I love the etymology of words; learning about a word’s origins and how it developed throughout history is fascinating to me, but I digress.
I think I always knew I wanted to write books, especially those that made a difference. Stories that tell the uncomfortable, complicated, and sometimes painful stories that are important to share, but all too often ignored, dismissed––or purposely hidden.
R. Tell us one piece of advice you have for aspiring writers.
Sahar. Read. If you aren’t reading, you won’t be much of a writer.
“You learn to write by writing, and by reading and thinking about how writers have created their characters and invented their stories. If you are not a reader, don’t even think about being a writer.” Jean M. Auel, international phenomenon, American writer, and best-selling author.
R. Where can we purchase your books and follow your journey?
S. All my books are on Amazon (Kindle and softcover), but they are also available at Fofky’s Online Book and Coffee/Tea Shop.