Mercedes Fox ~ Author

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Meet Author Isana

Hola, lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Isana

Writing under the pen name Isana, the author is now happily married and has found peace.  This memoir is her contribution to helping other women who have experienced childhood and adult trauma in the hope that her healing will send a message that forgiveness is possible and that bitterness is not the only outcome.  Isana finally feels whole and wants the same for those who have lived through similar experiences.

Book Sample:  Unfinished – A Personal Journey of Healing, Self-Discovery and Resilience

Biography & Autobiography, Personal Memoirs

Born into a rigid fear-based Christian family to a mother with diagnosed post-par-tum depression, young “Frances” quickly learns her world is not a safe one.  Strappings are common for Frances, who suffers multiple forms of abuse at the hands of those closest to her throughout her childhood and adolescence.  To mask her fears and sensitivity, Frances develops a tough exterior and seeks means of distinction and success.  Desperate for love, she goes on to college to find herself involved with a young man whom she marries, convinced they are in love.  Later, in deeply different circumstances and a world away from where their relationship began, Frances confronts the fact that her marriage is not at all what it should be.  Through counseling, Frances confronts the traumas that have caused her so many difficulties.  As part of her renewal, she legally changes her name to “Isana” – meaning tenacious and strong-willed – and pursues meaning and justice in her career with unforeseen and devastating results.

Unfinished is a moving memoir that sees it’s gutsy protagonist triumph over remarkable odds to find herself and, ultimately, feel complete.

If you use a Pen Name why did you choose it?  When I decided to self-publish my memoir, I struggled with the choice to use my real name or a pen name.  Initially, I had decided to use my real name as I had spoken my truth and was ready to stand behind my words.  However, a friend expressed her concern of my safety since I was residing in the same city where I had called out people that I had worked with.  I evaluated the pros and cons: most of my life I had lived in fear, waiting for the attack, always uncertain of what would happen next.  That is when I realized that if I used my actual name, I would only be perpetuating the same.  By using a pen name, I honored myself by taking her out of the line of fire and protecting “her.”  “Isana” means strong-willed, tenacious: aspects that comprise my life as I have lived it. (hence, my choice)

When did you decide to become a writer?  I loved to read for as far back as I can remember.  I recall when I was 4 or 5 years old, I sat down and decided to start writing a book. I think subconsciously, that desire stayed with me but it wasn’t until many years later that my plan went into action.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?  After I investigated my past and began to come to terms with my abuse and the many layers of dysfunction, I contemplated the possibility of writing my story.  Initially, a sibling and I tossed the idea around to do a joint venture but I realized that it had to be mine, my own life as I had experienced it.  Finally, after several years of saying “someday,” on October 25, 2011, I signed a contract with myself to begin – and I did.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?  The hardest part was going back to the beginning and re-hashing and re-living all the crap that I had endured, a very painful experience.  Some days, a paragraph was all I could handle.  So much I had locked away, unable to deal with the reality of it but I can’t say how healing and liberating it was to finally confront it all.

Do you have any formal education in creative writing?  Many years ago, I went to a card reader and she told me that I had a creative ability, not yet discovered.  I didn’t give it much thought but not long after, I came across a brochure to submit to see if I had the ability to write.  I thought, why not?  Needless to say, I ended up acquiring 2 diplomas through the Institute of Children’s Literature – the foundation of where I began.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast?  I don’t think I could go wrong in picking Jaimie Alexander from “Blindspot” to play Isana.

 If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?  For each of us to look beyond all our differences and to simply treat others exactly as we ourselves want to be treated.

Do you have any fur babies to brag about?  Absolutely.  My dog Copper (from my book) became my writing buddy. Every time I went into my office to write, she was right there under the desk, her head resting on my feet.  As I struggled through the painful stuff, she was a huge source of emotional support, always knowing when it was time to put the pen down and take a break. MF: They always know; a true gift from God. Love the name Copper and such a beauty.

What do your readers mean to you?  My readers are everything – the sole purpose for my memoir.  It is for them, to give them hope that no matter what life throws at you, you can overcome and rise above.  For everyone who chooses to read my story, I am grateful.

Many thanks Isana for sharing! For more about Isana and her work, follow the links below. To get your own copy of her work, click on the cover image below:

Website / Facebook / GoodReads / AmazonCA / AmazonUS

Meet Author Mouhsine Benjelloun Zahr

Howdy lovelies! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Mouhsine BENJELLOUN ZAHR

He’s a self-published Moroccan author, who wrote two non-fiction novels while working in real estate in Morocco. He graduated with an MBA from University of Miami (Class of 1999) and a B.S.B.A. from American University (Class of 1996).

Book blurb: The book “Moroccan Culture for all” takes the readers through the cities of Casablanca, Marrakesh, Rabat, and Fes to make him or her discover 10 different cultural activities as lived by Moroccans.   The readers will find a presentation of the history, present, and potential future of Moroccan cuisine, sports, literature, cinema, television, theater, comedy, fine arts, music, and fashion.  The book “Moroccan Culture for all” is unique in its genre because it combines the non-fiction, fiction, and biography genres.

Why do you write? As long as I can remember, I’ve always been told that I don’t communicate verbally enough with other people whether it is in a personal and/or professional situation. I discovered that writing is the best way for me to communicate with others. I can express my ideas, opinions, and thoughts freely without holding back and better if I just explain them orally.

When did you decide to become a writer? I had written 6 unsold scripts starting 2009 until 2014. A screenwriter loses the control of his script once it’s sold. Therefore, in 2015, I decided to write my first non-fiction book to self-publish it.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? My first book “My weight versus me” took only 3 months to write because it is an autobiography. My second book ‘Moroccan culture for all” took 6 months. There is no specific duration to write a book.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? In December 2008, being unsatisfied with my job, I made a retrospective of my life because I needed to know whether I’m capable of doing something else than real estate. I realized that I’ve been a book reader and a cinema lover ever since my childhood. Thus, it came to me the idea of combining both my long time passion into one and I started writing scripts.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I write after work in the evening during about 4 hours and during the week-ends.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? I listen neither to music nor watch TV/movie while I write. I write only in the comfort of my own living room and with complete silence.

What have you written? I’ve written “My weight versus me”, a non-fiction book about my life from birth until the age of 41 focusing on the evolution of my weight, sports exercises, and diet routines throughout the years and countries. I wrote about how an almost underweight teenager gained weight to become an adult on the verge of being obese and how he lost weight in 2 months to reach a normal weight against all odds.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? So far I designed my own book covers.

Which writers inspire you? The writers who inspire me are: Amin Maalouf, Edward Said, Aravind Adiga, Paulo Coelho, Amadou Hampate Ba, and Elif Shafak.

What is the current book you are promoting? “Moroccan Culture for all”

Do you have any formal education in creative writing? If not are you planning to go to school? I don’t have any formal education in creative writing. I studied French literature in high school, but I always was an average student. I took an African writers class while an undergraduate student at American University. With no formal education on creative writing and literature, I decided to write non-fiction books instead. I don’t plan to go to school or write literature novels.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast? Even though my book is mostly non-fiction, the fiction story can be used as a basis to be made into a romantic comedy movie. I’d cast Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp who shared the screen in “The tourist”, which was shot at beautiful places in France and Italy.

What one person from history would you like to meet and why? Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan world traveler, is the one person from history I would like to meet. I saw in an Imax movie theater a documentary about him and his travels. I read all three books relating his entire travel around the world. In the 14th century, he traveled during 30 years in about 100 countries (at the times) throughout Africa, middle-east, India, Asia, and Europe. I love to travel and want to meet him to ask him so many questions about the various civilizations he encountered.

Who is your favorite author and which of their books is your favorite? Amin Maalouf is my favorite author. He’s a French Lebanese author and his books had such an impact on my life and my reading habits. I mentioned him in both my novels. I read all his novels. While “Leon the African” was the first of his books I read and loved, my favorite novel is by far “Ports of call”, a great love story that defies history.

What are some of your favorite books and why? I love reading world literature from known or unknown authors from diverse parts of the world. Reading this genre is a great way to travel through time and distance to discover new countries, cultures, and stories.

What book are you currently reading or just finished? I just finished “Smile, you’re in Tunisia” by habib Selmi published in 2013. It is about a Tunisia professor living in France who returns to Tunisia on vacation and realizes that nothing and nobody seems to be what it or he/she looks like. I just started to read “Sea of Poppies” by Amitav Ghosh.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others? I’d like to recommend “Forty rules of love” by the Turkish female author Elif Shafak. The novel counts two stories simultaneously: one is about the meeting between a poet and a Deverish set in Turkey in the 14th century and the other is a contemporary story between an American Jewish housewife and a European soufi author.

How can readers discover more about you and you work? Readers can discover more about me and my work on amazon, goodreads, and facebook.

There ya have it! Thanks much Mouhsine for chatting! For more about Mouhsine and his work follow the links below:


Website / Facebook / Goodreads

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