Author Interviews

Interview With Amjed Altayar

Secret of God Interview with Amjed Altayar   British / Iraq ( Author, Screenwriter and Actor  

Who is Amjed Altayar?” 

“I was born in Iraq in a family of 5 children I was the middle one, so my home was always full of life and that’s where my brain got kickstarted from a young age, I always had these stories from my imagination that I tell my friends and family, and it grew with me.”

“At School, I didn’t show my talents because inside the school they cared for reality more than the imagination until I got into academic life and studied different specialities. I was known as the person who sold love stories to the students, then after I got my 2 BA degrees in Political Science and English language I moved to Spain, specifically Barcelona. I studied civil aviation and graduated as a private pilot, worked onsite for a couple of years and soon afterwards I moved to the UK and dedicated my time as an author and a screenwriter, when I have time in the future I wish to continue my studies and get the MA in Creative Writing.”  

What influenced you to start writing the novel “Secret of God?” 

“I had a lot of questions at a young age. My passion was to find a way to reveal the truth of the universe. I read a lot of books, but I found no answers to my questions. I kept asking myself: What is the truth? What are we? Who are we? So after my success in the Middle East as a self-development writer and after I failed to find the answers I decided to create the answers by writing the novel “Secret of God” with great doses of thriller, fantasy, and romance, following this path for my questions.”

When did you realize becoming an author could answer your questions?” 

“I was writing for myself first before I knew I could write professionally. There was a realization between myself and others who saw my writings that answered their questions and now it has been a couple of years since I realized, I could do this professionally. Later I sent my work to a publisher in Beirut, and they said “Wow, is this really you?”. So, I wrote more and discovered I could write a book in a couple of days, this is when I thought maybe I have a talent. There is a friend of mine who is a director, and his script wasn’t really working so after a chat, I helped him amend it and the response was also encouraging, confirming to me I have the talent to do this as a job. So, I kept writing and writing until I published my first book that helped to answer a couple of questions.”

What kind of reception did your first book receive?  – The Enlightened.”  

“It was amazing, and it is why I keep writing. I said I would write a book, and the publisher was pushing me to do it, but I said only if it works and there is any sign of success, if not it’s just an experience — I will just forget it and not tell anyone. The sales so far are in the thousands of copies. Following that, the publisher asked me to write them a new book, but I wasn’t getting full support so I decided to start from zero — stop my job as a pilot and go full force into my writing here in the UK. I left some time for my thoughts and feelings to marinate, out of respect for my craft and then just focused on writing again.”

What inspired your most recent novel, Secret of God?” 

“I think the novel had been calling me. I’d been wondering — what if we found God? What if we knew who he/she was? Each person has their idea of God but what if someone sent you gifts every day, knocking on your door and you had no idea who they were — wouldn’t you be curious to know who the sender was? I know if I worked at a company, and the manager or the owner is hidden, but it’s a great company (the universe is like a company working perfectly) I’d want to meet them. So, after that, the idea developed itself. I said to myself, what if I wrote a couple of these questions down and then wrote back to them with answers? My questions were: Who is God? What if we found God? Where are they? Who am I? Time after time, I went back to those questions, and I answered them with spirituality. I decided it could be a fictional novel as I felt I couldn’t just write to the readers “I am looking for God,” but I should do it dramatically. And so instead, a powerful King is looking for God, does he want to fight him? Does he want to thank him? You’ll find out when you read the book. 

The King of the Mulberry Kingdom conspires with sword, magic and curiosity to reveal God’s secret to find God and kill him, but do the angels have another opinion of those intentions?” 

What is the main intended takeaway for readers?” 

“I want them to release focus from any drama in their own lives because life is just a journey and we have to see how much magic there is in life, not just the dramatics — at work, at home, in every part of our lives there is drama. I want to release readers from these things and at the same time I want to delve into the secret of what real life is because I can’t be in the company without contributing my bit. I want people to consider that we are 7-8 billion people on earth, everyone has within them a secret message and if we know its source, we will know our message. I want people to get to know their real lives, their real universe, their real God. It’s not about religion, it’s about creation, where we came from, and where are we going after death. I want others to join me in asking these questions. I hope that this will reveal to some people the secret of God. I put a lot of joy and mystery in the novel too, so I want to help reveal these questions and I am of course trying to do so with joy.” 

What is your writing process like?” 

“I prepared before writing. In each section, I would imagine and plot in a general sense, and then I could allow it to flow, writing line by line, connecting to my imagination, the characters, and their actions. If you prepare well, you will not have writer’s block. If you know where you are going, you will know the way. You have to have the novel mapped out before writing, writer’s block often happens because you have too many options, not because of a lack of ideas. Except for the end of the novel, which I changed, and which triggered a huge shift within the novel, it was all prepared beforehand. My destination changed as I went, but that’s okay. As a spiritual novel, I used signs to direct me, I felt connected to the universe and it helped me craft my message when I reached the end of the novel, I wrote a good dramatic ending, but then I received information by what I can only describe as angels and they told me how to change it and it opened the gate for the secret of God.” 

How was it translating one of your novels for the first time?” 

“I have a BA in English Language and I speak Arabic and Spanish (because I lived there and have a diploma) so I have an idea about languages, but I am not a perfect literary translator. When I write in Arabic, there are words which are effective but in English, there are other interpretations which are more effective than in Arabic, Spanish or French, so I just use the language that I am working with to find the best expression for my ideas, always starting with the one language I am best with though. I have tried translating in Spanish too, but I give priority to Arabic and English because that is where my widest readership lies. Either way, you always lose a percentage of the real description when translating, which is what sets writers apart — anyone can tell a story, but the tools of telling the story, the descriptions, the way that you imagine and write — this is the most difficult part to translate. The whole story, I can tell to you, but the description is the most difficult.”

Have you got a continuation in the works?” 

“Not yet. When I have an abundance of secrets, an abundance of imagination, I write so I am not the controller of that, but when I finished The Secret of God, I got the whole idea of the next novel — it’s connected — so one day soon.” 

Are you working on any other projects?” 

“I created a group for creative writing called IPen — it’s for producing books and a kids’ magazine called MiniMOON for smart, creative children to be given a voice. So yeah, still focusing on writing. When you mix a talent with a career choice, you reach a perfect altitude. I am aiming to provide joy for readers, and I want to make a difference, highlighting the value of writing, which is often underestimated.  

It is an epic of fun and knowledge that carries with it the magic that connects fantasy with reality.  It is a series of answers sufficient to decipher the unknown.  It is from the scriptures that belong to the Truth, it is the secret of God.”

Additional questions…

“What other talents do you have?” 

Professional Acting  

“The book Enlightened was the first step into the light, the publisher asked if I was interested in making a short film to advertise the book in a fun and creative way so we made it and that got the attention of many people. One of the directors saw the advertisement and contacted me, a British director who has many international awards, he included me in his new series ( the City of Fog ), an action and drama series where I had a small role in the series and after filming the first scene, I was applauded by everyone, and then I discovered my acting talent. After the scene ended, the director decided to enlarge my role in the series, and an agreement was made with me on one of his new films.”

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