lørdag 3. mars 2012

My novel

Me - the published author. Such a strange feeling, to have reached ones goal, and still feeling as if it was just the first step.

"Naken i hijab" (Nude in hijab) was published on the 25th of august 2011 in Norway.


Norwegian girl Liva tags along with a friend to a holiday in Egypt. It turns out to be a country that fills her heart and soul. An overwhelming romance evolves between her and local boy Kareem. She has to return to Egypt to find out how deep this affair runs, and ends up signing a contract of marriage. The young couple agrees to spend one year in Egypt before making the move to Norway, and Liva is warmly welcomed in the family and village, where she finds values she feels the Norwegian society has lost.
She starts to comprehend the magnitude of her own choices when she learns she is pregnant with Kareems baby and also come to understand how he never intended to move to Norway. She gradually find more truths about her husband than she looks for and needs to make new choices. Is she able to maintain her own integrity, and the safety of her child?
A novel about both the beautiful and difficult sides to cultural differences in a relationship.

 Publishing "Nude in hijab" has been such an amazing journey. One of the major highlight was of course being nominated for The Norwegian Booksellers Award as the only debutante among nine well-seasoned and well established authors. I am so grateful for the positive attitude and how my novel has been recieved, it gives a lot of motivation to keep writing, and ...

And of course... To keep coming back to Egypt!

fredag 29. juli 2011

They blamed the muslims

One week after the terror in Oslo I finally find myself able to write again.

76 people died and there is massive damages to Oslo city centre and the government buidling after a mad mans doings one week ago. The most schocking thing is the majority of those who died were youth, who were dedicated to keeping Norway an open and peaceful, multicultural community.

They blamed the muslims. WE blamed the muslims. Just minutes after the boms went off my facebook feed was full of the accusations. No more than 1-1,5 hours later the shootings at the youth gathering at Utøya started. My fear that those who blamed the muslims were right, came to an end. It was a blonde, blue eyed man, dressed as a police man. He was Norwegian. He was my age.

He said, "Come to me, I have some information", he lined them up, he executed them. He shot those who threw them self to the ground. He shot those who ran. He picked them one by one. He shot those who tried to hide. He shot those who threw themselves in the water, trying to swim ashore.

They blamed the muslims. I saw a muslim woman on the news. She thought it was islamists too. She dreaded the times to come, where she knew all muslims in Norway had to carry the blame. She was wrong, they were wrong, he was one of us.

Some months ago I had a blog post on my Norwegian blog. It was about everyday racism, and got more than 200 comments. More than half of these comments were hateful and agressive. My post was about friendship, kindness, openness towards others. More than 50 of those who answered could have been the terrorist, I have read through it all again... He is not alone. We must never believe he was the only one out there.

The Norwegian people have reacted with sorrow - and with love. The terrorist wanted to stir up hate and anger. But there is a wave of care and solidarity and togetherness that washes over Norway. A wave of compassion. An ocean of roses. Many of you have also shared your feelings on my facebook wall.
Oslo and the rest of Norway flows over of meetings over the borders of ethnicity, language, age, origin... One of my friends was deeply touched that a veiled woman had put her arms around her and called her "sister".

Those lives that are lost can never be replaced. We shall honor their memory and remember their ideology.

Islam was not our enemy.
Hate and fear was.
We will never, never allow it to win.

lørdag 22. januar 2011

I love dieting..!

... What a strange thing to say, don't you agree??
After a Gastric bypass surgery nine months ago I've now lost more than 30 kilos, but I still need to lose 20 more. I am not used to so sweet and fatty foods as before. The healthy foods taste more and better to me now. And as I've lost weight being active and excersising is much easier than before.

But still - surgery does not "fix" everything. I still need to watch my diet and see to that my body is active, to lose more and to keep the weight off. That was demonstrated during the christmas week! Probably due to the aquavit and Norwegian christmas beer I drank - I gained 2 kilos in a week and was shocked! Isn't it strange how we are soooo surprised by this, although the math with the calories is so easy?

Christmas gave me a wonderful opportunity to start: My boyfriend looked at himself in a picture and said: OMG, I need to lose weight!! I was so happy to hear that - it's so much easier to lose weight with a team mate. Now we have used the first month in the new year to establish good habits - smaller meals more often, choosing healthier foods like fish, white meat and loads of greens.
In addition to this we go swimmong three times a week. Maybe not the hardest form of exercise, but it is a lot more than we used to do!

The weight from christmas is gone, and three more kilos with it. And I never thought I'd say this - I love every moment of it! It is so much fun, being a chef I always loved cooking, and specially varying with fish is a fun challenge. It's amazing what tasty veggies and herbs can do - Try for instance baked cod with cherry tomatoes and leek, or salmon with paprica sauce! The other day we had grilled halibut with chili and lime with salad and mashed potatoes. It's delicious!

If we continue like this, I think we are facing a long and healthy life. After all it's not so important what you eat between christmas and new years, as what you eat between new years and christmas!!

tirsdag 21. desember 2010

Christmas Greetings!

That's me in the lower left corner at the Blue Colour Works christmas party.

Hard to believe that another year already passed. Last christmas was special for me, the first one with my partner and his family in Gol. We had a wonderful time even though it was strange being away from my parents for first time at christmas. This year we will split it up, staying with his family and also with his 5-year old daughter until boxing day, and then going home to that "fair valley of childhood" and my family until after new years.

What we've seen of winter so far this year has been extremely cold and we've burnt so much wood already it's hard to believe. Just like last year, only this year it started earlier! Well then it's good to think about the winter soltice, that everything is now turning around and we're facing the brighter season. We've had a lot of trouble with cars, water and wood, even been blowing fuses due to the cold, and are thankful it's not this hard each year.

My feeling for the year to come is optimistic. I and my little family here have a lot to look forward to. One of them is going to Luxor - for the first time in 2,5 years. Another is having my Aussie friend over for two weeks in june and if all goes as planned we will go for a two week long hike!! God, what have I gotten myself into?! The coming year's greatest event will be - hopefully - publishing my first novel in fall. Almost to good to be true... But I promise you a lot of hard work lies behind it!

Well, then all that remains is wishing you all a blessed and peaceful christmas! Cheerio and see you all in the new year. And I won't let my tradition down; here's my favourite christmas video that I hope will bring you all into that cheery mood; Merry Christmas - With bells on!

tirsdag 12. oktober 2010

Writer's news october 2010

So far I haven't experienced much glamour in my life as an author. After all I'm still in the cathegory "promising", My book is still not published and has no cover. But everything is looking better every day, faith is getting stronger! ;)

A couple of weeks ago I was at a meeting with the publishing house that has shown interest in my novel, a very exciting and interresting experience. It is strange, but nice, to sit around the table with three people who are so positive, and so enthusiastic about what I.m doing. One thing we all agree on: The title! The rest of the story is not so easy...
Allright, it isn't that bad. But some work still needs to be done, I have made loads of rookie mistakes. So I delete and write and delete again. But my team at the publishers are cheering me on, they like the story and they like my language. "This is going to be great", they say. Let's hope they're right!

 "Just hang in there", they say. Hang in there??! As if there's an alternative? I aim to spend the rest of my life writing books so of course I hang in there. Even though the release date keep moving as a fata morgana in the desert it seems?? I drag myself slowly towards the goal- and still I do it with joy! Wish me luck.

So what's my book about? Well it's four years of research in Egypt coming out - I have translated a page for you even though I can not guarantee that exactly THIS page won't be deleted from the final result. Maybe I could name the novel "Diary of an orfi wife???"
-Should we sit down, Kareem interrupted, and laughed at his convincing older brother..
-I mean it! Love is the most important thing in life and it does not wait. When it lands in your hand you must take good care of it, promise me that, honey, Mahmoud said with a wink.
I smiled shyly as Mahmoud showed us into the livingroom. What Mahmoud just said was nice, but it was also true, I thought. No doubt the things people regretted the most was what they had not dared doing, even though they dreamed of it? They thought about it until it was too late. I didn't want to do that mistake. Love had landed now, and if I didn't try, I would never find out...
The three of us sat down in the big white sofa. When I sat back between the pillows I felt as if I was six years old, I almost disappeared in that massive piece of furniture. 
-It's Annes English furniture, Mahmoud explained, somewhat unneccesary.  -She brought them by ship from England to Alexandria, it cost her a fortune to get them through the customs. I suggested she should sell them and buy new furniture here, but she didn't want to. Mahmoud rolled his eyes. -The lady sure knows how she wants it!

søndag 10. oktober 2010

The woman I wish I was

Why am I not happy with who I am? Who am I?

The woman I wish I was gets up in the morning, she has a peaceful cup of tea in her tidy kitchen while solving a crossword puzzle and listening to the news in the radio. After, she goes and has a shower, when she meets the day her legs are shaved, her eyebrows are plucked, her hair is done. She wears jewellry. She smells of a discrete perfume and lotion.

 She smiles.

She is self employed, an author and owner of a small, cozy coffee-shop she loves but isn't dependent upon. She has time and energy to gather friends and family around her in the evening.

 She exersises. She loves healthy, delicious food and shares it with her loved ones.

She's a spiritual being. She's at peace with herself and offers comfort and council for those who are not. She's got kids. She takes them travelling. She loves seeing the world and implements her experiences in her novels.

I love that woman. I wish I was her.
Am I her?

Can I be?

torsdag 7. oktober 2010

Beautiful Barcelona

French balconies

So what was best about first time in Barcelona??  Definately not the hotel. Me and my cousin booked it at hotels.com, and when we arrived, it was so anonymous we nearly missed it. Small, cheap, somewhat shabby and with hookers on the doorstep. The room was very small as well... and dark. It had one small window, but it faced nothing but a shaft in the middle of the building.
We tried to be positive. I said, we didn't come here to stay in the room did we? As our week went, the jail-cell we lived in became quite a joke... But of course we were very happy to stay in walking distance from many main sites and also the beach.

That was one of the things I loved the most about Barcelona... That it faces the sea. Or actually, a guide told us Barcelona lives with it's back towards the sea, because the poorest fishermen lived near the water, the richer inhabitants built their villas as far up from the sea front they could get. Anyway, i thought it was splendid to be able to spend two days during this holiday at the beach with three of my best friends: My cousin, my pen and notebook..! Got a really bad sunburn though...

Of course Barcelona is a lot about arcitechture, and as seen on the picture I was in a cheery mood in the towers of Sagrada Familia... And after seeing this great cathedral (It REALLY is a construction site!!) and La Pedrera, I fully understand that Anthoni Gaudi was declared a genious. And I fully understand that I will never fully understand Anthoni Gaudi. Did you get that one?? ;)

I left Barcelona with the best feeling one can have after a sucessful holiday: That this city still has so, so much more to show me, and that I have to return. The world's so big and still so much to see. But the best thing to collect, is happy memories - agree? ;)