You may have seen her books around at the bookstore in the past few years, or maybe you have read about the recent launch of this particular UAE based author’s trilogy. This three interesting young adult books with a plot happening in the UAE follow the magical steps of a little girl in the as she battles Jinns and demons where the burden of defeating evil is hers to carry. Khaleejesque had the good luck of meeting Dedra Stevenson to talk about “The Hakima’s Tale” and the rest of the trilogy.
Dedra Stevenson is an avid reader and writer with a double Master’s degree in Library Sciences and Communication. Writing has always been a passion for her, especially writing children’s books. She also enjoys doing sports, working out and spending time with her family, of course.
Khaleejesque Team: Why are your books set in the UAE?
Dedra Stevenson: I wanted to write about the place my family comes from, and wanted to write about Arabic Folklore. I thought it was time for UAE based literature in English as that is very very rare to find.
KT: How did you manage to gather information about the culture? A lot of folklore is mentioned throughout the story, which is very interesting.
DS: I interviewed people, asked them about stories their grandparents had told them. I was always on the look out for something new, any story about Jinns and the supernatural. The Jinn house in my story is actually based on an actual house in Sharjah that is deserted at the moment and said to be haunted as well.
KT: What was your family and friend’s stand on your writing?
DS: My husband and family were very encouraging. And my friends, particularly my expat friends, were delighted to read something that was related to the place we all live in.
KT: What are some of the important messages in The Hakima’s Tale?
DS: Well, being proud of who you are and having self esteem is an important message in The Hakima’s Tale. As you know the books target young readers when they are going through a lot of changes; and reinforcing that it’s okay to be different and that everyone is special is important at this stage. An interest in the culture here and having a sense of identity are also themes that run through the trilogy.
KT: How do you find time to write? Having a family seems like a full time job!
DS: You’re right! There are always kids to drop or pick up from school and activities; a household to run and lots of other things. I try and make time for my writing however. I go to my favorite café or to the beach and try and forget about life and errands and just relax and write. That’s how I finished The Hakima’s Tale!
KT: Do you have anything in mind now that you’ve finished your trilogy?
DS: Right now, some people have shown an interest in turning my books either into a movie or an animated series and I’m very excited about that! I also have another book in mind, something other than the trilogy. All I can say right now is that it’s still going to be fantasy, but might be for older readers.
So if you’re still not sure what to pick up for your summer read, why don’t you head to the closest bookstore and pick up Stevenson’s trilogy? The books are available at Magrudys and Jashenmall bookstores and a number of other bookstores in the UAE.
-Najla Al Owais
Images courtesy of Dedra Stevenson