Monday, February 06, 2017

BEHIND PICKET FENCES FOLLOWS FOUR FAMILIES




Behind Picket Fences
by Hend Hegazi



GENRE:    Fiction - contemporary

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION AT THE END OF THE POST!



BEHIND PICKET FENCES Blurb:

Behind Picket Fences exposes four families from behind their comfortable lifestyles and smiling faces. Sharing the same neighborhood, even spending time together, no family knows the truth about the difficulties the others face. 

On the outside, Sidra and Farris have the biggest house and the most expensive cars. What no one sees is their struggle to accept an unfulfilled dream. If they do not adapt to the blows of fate, their malcontent may give birth to deception.  

Mariam and Morgan’s modest home exudes the rich scent of family. With children playing in the yard, they seem picture perfect. But financial struggle is their continuous battle, and their only solution may produce an envy which is more destructive than hunger.

Summer and Porter enjoy youth and the freedom of self-employment. But discontentment and mental instability linger between them. If they are not able to bridge the gap, their search for happiness may have a fatal end.

May and Hasan enjoy peace and true happiness. Illness cares not, however, of letting them relish in their blessings. Only patience and time will prove if this unwelcome visitor is simply passing by, or if it will tear their world apart.

An honest portrayal of love and family, Behind Picket Fences opens our eyes to the difficult truths hidden behind each happy facade.





BEHIND PICKET FENCES Excerpt:

At half past six she began to get worried, but told herself to give him fifteen more minutes. “His will be the next car around the turn,” she assured herself. But the passing of more than a few cars and fifteen minutes made her unable to wait any longer. She dialed his number once, with no answer. She hung up and dialed again immediately. The second time, there was an answer.

“Hello?” the woman’s voice said.

The words Summer had been ready to speak got lodged in her throat and she stood there, barely breathing.

“Hello?” the voice repeated, a little louder this time.

Summer’s hand began to shake and a moment later she let the phone drop from her weak fingers. Her breathing became labored and she raised her hand to her chest to soothe the jabbing, but the pain would not cease. Rather, it spread from her heart and ran all through her body. Her legs suddenly became too weak to hold her and she fell seated to the floor.

What a cruel way to tell me, Porter, she thought as the tears streamed down her face. So cruel.

The guilt in her told her she deserved it. She had deceived him in the worst way possible and broken his heart; why wouldn’t he seek comfort in the arms of someone else?

But then why had he agreed to dinner? Simply to get revenge? To make me feel the pain that I had put him through? Really? Why did I let myself get my hopes up? Why did I think he could forgive me? Why did I not expect him to turn to another woman? All the questions ran through her mind as her heavy breathing turned to sobs and she cradled herself, rocking back and forth. Porter had just shattered the last bit of hope she had been clinging to, and broken any remaining pieces of her heart.

The tears flowed for what felt like hours. When they finally stopped, she stood up feeling drained and jaded. Summer cleaned up the kitchen, her body unable to move at its usual pace. She threw the food directly into the garbage instead of putting it away in the fridge; she wanted no reminders of the evening she had expected to have. Carefully, she walked to her bedroom and stepped out of her dress and into a pair of sweat pants and a tank top. Pulling her hair into a tight pony tail, she turned off all the lights in the house, and paused just outside the bathroom. The medicine cabinet seemed to whisper her name.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Hend 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 2014.

You can read her poetry and blog posts on her website, www.hendhegazi.com, and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorHendHegazi. For updates on giveaways and special offers, kindly opt-in to her free newsletter at this link http://eepurl.com/bZa7fH.

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


INTERVIEW



Where did you grow up? Siblings? Locale? Were you considered a “bookworm” or a jock? Married, single? Children? 

I was born and raised in Attleboro, Massachusetts. I grew up the middle child between two brothers. I enjoyed swimming (still do) but after the first season of swim in high school, I began to wear hijab, so I opted out of the swim team in subsequent years. (The burkini had not yet found its fame.) I was never fast enough to compete anyway, although I had ‘good form.’) I enjoyed being on the tennis team, but didn’t pursue it after high school. I attended Smith College, hated it my first couple of years then loved it. I graduated in 2000 with a degree in biology and a minor in religion (because a minor in chem was simply too much lab time!). I was enrolled in optometry school in Boston when my plans changed due to a sudden death in the family. I dropped out during the first week, then worked for a year as a chemist (go figure!) in a pharmaceutical lab on the outskirts of Boston. I worked for about a year, then I moved to Egypt (against my parent’s better judgment) to be with my now husband. We’ve been married for just shy of 15 years, and we have four kids ranging in age from 6 to 14. I’m the kind of person who acclimates easily to her environment, so moving here wasn’t too difficult, especially since the culture is the same that my parents raised us in. Nevertheless, there are some things I simply can’t adjust to (the crazy traffic is the first thing that comes to mind, followed closely by the atrocious educational system, just to name a couple).


Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres? 

My favorite author is Khaled Hosseini. And while I enjoy many different genres (from paranormal to crime fiction to the classics), my favorite is probably contemporary fiction. I relate easily to the issues contemporary fiction explores as well as the emotions it challenges us with.


Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

I don’t have a favorite quote, but I used to. It was ‘A baby’s being born,’ meaning that despite all the hurt or ugliness going on, right at this moment, a beautiful, innocent, pure soul is being brought into the world. That used to ease my heart, even temporarily. But now, that exact same quote increases my anxiety; the world is getting uglier by the day, and the children will be the ones who will (are already??) suffer the most. Unfortunately, I have become a bit of a cynic.



Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop? 

I definitely need quiet to write. Usually I sit at the dining room table in the morning, while the kids are at school. I prefer to handwrite into my notebook; yes, it takes much longer (because eventually everything must be transcribed onto the laptop), but I like the feel of the pen in my hand, I like not being tied down to the computer.


Are you a plotter or a panzer? 

I am a pantser, but I have sticky notes all over my notebook and comments all over my documents that guide me. I find outlines stifle the creative process. I am planning on writing a memoir in the near future, and for that, I will probably prefer the organization of an outline.


Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories? 

My characters are never replicas of real people, but they almost always have adopted characteristics from real people that I’ve met. For example, Morgan, one of the men in Behind Picket Fences, was modeled after someone I know and don’t particularly care for. With his inferiority complex and depreciating tendencies, you’ll find that readers won’t like him too much. Hassan, on the other hand, also adopted characteristics from real people. Despite his faults, readers will probably have increased compassion for him.


Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?


My writing goal is to write for about two hours per day. Somedays that means quite a few pages, other days, it means staring at a blank page for an hour and a half and writing only one page.

What do you hope your writing brings to readers?


I hope that my books teach people a bit about forgiveness and love. I hope that my characters—the ones who seem at first glance to be irredeemable—will, thorough their humanity, arouse a sense of compassion from my readers. I also hope that my books will teach people that, despite our different colors and religions, we all yearn for the same things: love and compassion. I hope that my readers will learn a bit about what it means to be Arab American, and begin to feel that reading about Muslim characters is just as normal as reading about characters who are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist, or anything else.

What long-term plans do you have for your career?

I’m currently finishing up the first draft of my third novel. It’s about a topic I have limited knowledge of (high functioning autism), so I still have much research and then re-writing to do. Once that book is complete, I hope to start on my memoir.


What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

OWN it! I don’t mean the pieces of writing that you produce, but your craft. Once you start calling yourself a writer, you start taking your writing career seriously; that is the first step in succeeding.


Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

I hate my handwriting. Weird, right? I mean, you’d think a writer, and one who tends to write with pen and paper rather than on a computer, would have developed handwriting that she’s proud of. But no. I hate it.


Share something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

I tend to be a quiet person, preferring to listen than to talk. I’m not really a trouble maker, never was. But…when I was a senior at Smith, one of my friends and I TP-ed our hallway! My friend was even quieter, more soft-spoken, and even less likely to start trouble than myself! We zigzagged the toilet paper, using tape to secure it all through the hallway. Our other housemates were surprised by the masterpiece that awaited them the following morning when they got up. We cleaned it all up, of course, but it was such fun creating it.



Where did you grow up? Siblings? Locale? Were you considered a “bookworm” or a jock? Married, single? Children? 

I was born and raised in Attleboro, Massachusetts. I grew up the middle child between two brothers. I enjoyed swimming (still do) but after the first season of swim in high school, I began to wear hijab, so I opted out of the swim team in subsequent years. (The burkini had not yet found its fame.) I was never fast enough to compete anyway, although I had ‘good form.’) I enjoyed being on the tennis team, but didn’t pursue it after high school. I attended Smith College, hated it my first couple of years then loved it. I graduated in 2000 with a degree in biology and a minor in religion (because a minor in chem was simply too much lab time!). I was enrolled in optometry school in Boston when my plans changed due to a sudden death in the family. I dropped out during the first week, then worked for a year as a chemist (go figure!) in a pharmaceutical lab on the outskirts of Boston. I worked for about a year, then I moved to Egypt (against my parent’s better judgment) to be with my now husband. We’ve been married for just shy of 15 years, and we have four kids ranging in age from 6 to 14. I’m the kind of person who acclimates easily to her environment, so moving here wasn’t too difficult, especially since the culture is the same that my parents raised us in. Nevertheless, there are some things I simply can’t adjust to (the crazy traffic is the first thing that comes to mind, followed closely by the atrocious educational system, just to name a couple).


Who are your favorite authors and favorite genres? 

My favorite author is Khaled Hosseini. And while I enjoy many different genres (from paranormal to crime fiction to the classics), my favorite is probably contemporary fiction. I relate easily to the issues contemporary fiction explores as well as the emotions it challenges us with.


Do you have a favorite quote that sums up how you feel about life?

I don’t have a favorite quote, but I used to. It was ‘A baby’s being born,’ meaning that despite all the hurt or ugliness going on, right at this moment, a beautiful, innocent, pure soul is being brought into the world. That used to ease my heart, even temporarily. But now, that exact same quote increases my anxiety; the world is getting uglier by the day, and the children will be the ones who will (are already??) suffer the most. Unfortunately, I have become a bit of a cynic.



Where do you prefer to write? Do you need quiet, music, solitude? PC or laptop? 

I definitely need quiet to write. Usually I sit at the dining room table in the morning, while the kids are at school. I prefer to handwrite into my notebook; yes, it takes much longer (because eventually everything must be transcribed onto the laptop), but I like the feel of the pen in my hand, I like not being tied down to the computer.


Are you a plotter or a panzer?
 
I am a pantser, but I have sticky notes all over my notebook and comments all over my documents that guide me. I find outlines stifle the creative process. I am planning on writing a memoir in the near future, and for that, I will probably prefer the organization of an outline.


Do you use real events or persons in your stories or as an inspiration for stories? 

My characters are never replicas of real people, but they almost always have adopted characteristics from real people that I’ve met. For example, Morgan, one of the men in Behind Picket Fences, was modeled after someone I know and don’t particularly care for. With his inferiority complex and depreciating tendencies, you’ll find that readers won’t like him too much. Hassan, on the other hand, also adopted characteristics from real people. Despite his faults, readers will probably have increased compassion for him.


Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?


My writing goal is to write for about two hours per day. Somedays that means quite a few pages, other days, it means staring at a blank page for an hour and a half and writing only one page.

What do you hope your writing brings to readers?


I hope that my books teach people a bit about forgiveness and love. I hope that my characters—the ones who seem at first glance to be irredeemable—will, thorough their humanity, arouse a sense of compassion from my readers. I also hope that my books will teach people that, despite our different colors and religions, we all yearn for the same things: love and compassion. I hope that my readers will learn a bit about what it means to be Arab American, and begin to feel that reading about Muslim characters is just as normal as reading about characters who are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist, or anything else.

What long-term plans do you have for your career?

I’m currently finishing up the first draft of my third novel. It’s about a topic I have limited knowledge of (high functioning autism), so I still have much research and then re-writing to do. Once that book is complete, I hope to start on my memoir.


What advice would you give to unpublished authors?

OWN it! I don’t mean the pieces of writing that you produce, but your craft. Once you start calling yourself a writer, you start taking your writing career seriously; that is the first step in succeeding.


Share a fun fact readers wouldn’t know about you.

I hate my handwriting. Weird, right? I mean, you’d think a writer, and one who tends to write with pen and paper rather than on a computer, would have developed handwriting that she’s proud of. But no. I hate it.


Share something about you that would surprise or shock readers.

I tend to be a quiet person, preferring to listen than to talk. I’m not really a trouble maker, never was. But…when I was a senior at Smith, one of my friends and I TP-ed our hallway! My friend was even quieter, more soft-spoken, and even less likely to start trouble than myself! We zigzagged the toilet paper, using tape to secure it all through the hallway. Our other housemates were surprised by the masterpiece that awaited them the following morning when they got up. We cleaned it all up, of course, but it was such fun creating it.



GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Hend Hegazi will be awarding one copy of NORMAL CALM and a copy of BEHIND PICKET FENCES (U.S. and International) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


5 comments:

Caroline Clemmons said...

Thanks for sharing your new release with readers today.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

hend hegazi said...

Thank you so much for allowing me to share my work with your audience.

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the interview, thank you.

Lisa Queen said...

I would love to read this. The interview was very interesting. Thanks!