A labor of love – Nadia Hashimi

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By Nadia Hashimi

When I was expecting my first child, I got the wild idea to start writing a novel. Knowing I was an avid reader and lover of words, my husband gave me that important little nudge and I suddenly had the space and confidence to try my hand at penning a story. It was quite a leap from my “day job” as a pediatrician but I decided to give it a go.♥

The PearlREV3_1DWhen I wasn’t seeing patients in an urban children’s emergency room, I started crafting characters, researching the laws governing refugee processing in Europe and plotting out a storyline that would ultimately be When The Moon Is Low. I finished the last chapter and managed to send off twenty query letters to literary agents just a week or so before my due date. That had been my goal, knowing I wanted to devote my seven weeks of maternity leave to our new son.

Imagine my shock when, while draped in a luxurious hospital gown and tethered to an IV pole, I received a voicemail from a literary agent who had read my manuscript and wanted to represent my novel. Was my epidural playing tricks on me? While nurses and my obstetrician checked on my contractions and pain level, I watched as the literary agent’s number light up my phone a second time.

There are few missed calls a woman is willing to return while in labor with her first child – a message from a literary agent is one of them. Luckily, my doting husband was at my side and happily called the wise Helen Heller back to describe to her that I was indisposed for the time being but was otherwise anxious to speak with her. She laughed, he told me, and said she would call again next week when I would be more capable of carrying on a conversation.

For me, writing has been a labor of love. In the past six years, I’ve been blessed with four children and, during each pregnancy, have been inspired to write a story. This year I’m publishing my third and fourth books – all represented by the Helen Heller Agency and each book dedicated to one of my beloved children.

As I write this post, I think of how my life has changed since I started writing. I have found a way to put the stories in my head into the hands of readers around the world. I have found a way to bring art back into my life. I have found a passion I might not have explored without my husband’s confidence that his pediatrician wife could also be an author of novels that challenge the world’s views of women and the disenfranchised. And I remember often that my manuscript did not catch the attention of the other nineteen literary agents I’d contacted. Most of my query letters ended up in wastebaskets where I can only pray they were ultimately recycled into a higher purpose.

Housewithnowindows HCBut the happy truth is that I only needed one agent to believe in me and, luckily, I found her. The fastest road to success, if you ask me, is to surround yourself with people who lift you up and encourage you to dream big. Then, and this part is so hard but so important, whisper sweet words of confidence to yourself as you tap on your keyboard, envision your manuscript as a galley and then a polished hardcover, picture a book club discussing your characters. This recipe has allowed me to rewrite my own story as well as the legacy I leave my four beloved muses.

Nadia Hashimi was born and raised in New York and New Jersey. Both her parents were born in Afghanistan and left in the early 1970s. Nadia enrolled in medical school in Brooklyn and went on to complete her pediatric training. With her rigorous medical training completed, Nadia turned to a passion that had gone unexplored. Her upbringing, experiences and love for reading came together in the form of stories based in the country of her parents and grandparents (some even make guest appearances in her tales!). Her debut novel, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, was released in 2014. Her second novel, When The Moon Is Low, followed in 2015. A House Without Windows will be published in August.


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