Mourad describes the young adult novel as mixed genre, including elements of culture, romance and religion as Davina, the main character, navigates through self-discovery.
Mourad came to America in the eighth grade from Egypt, where her family, as Christians, faced discrimination in the mostly Muslim country. Parts of the story reflect aspects of her life, but it is not autobiographical.
The song “Alone, Part II” by Ava Max and Alan Walker sparked the idea for the book. It was December 2020, when the Concord resident felt that many things were beyond her control – just as many young people also experienced.
While stuck at home, doing school online, the story emerged in her mind. She thought, “Why not write it down?” It was something she could control. “The story kind of wrote itself,” she added.
A story that needed telling
Mourad had never written a story before or even thought of being an author. It was just something she needed to tell.
The novel takes place in Germany, Norway and America, and Mourad had to do research on Germany and Norway to get the setting right. She also took a creative writing class during her junior year and got feedback from her teacher, Nick Hansen.
The writing took about two years, and she published it as an e-book on the Kobo platform. You can download it for $6.50.
Mourad is president of the Clayton Valley Culture Club, whose mission is to welcome and accept the cultures from which we all come.
“America is a pool of different ethnicities,” said Mourad. “We need to embrace where we come from, so we understand who we are. My ancestors have shed blood for my family and my religion, and I would not be honoring them if I didn’t embrace my culture.”
She is also a singer and artist, singing in the school choir and volunteering at her church to teach children to sing. She plans on studying nursing next year at San Francisco State.
“I want to help people. This seems like a career where I can help people the most,” Mourad noted.
Patrick Lefiti Jr., a counselor at CVCHS, has worked with Mourad over the past two years. “She has been through a lot in her life, and she has a bright future,” Lefiti said. “To write a book at her age is a unique accomplishment.”
Read more stories by Kara Navolio.
Kara Navolio is a freelance writer, telling stories of real life heroes and interesting people for several local newspapers since 2015, including The Pioneer and Lamorinda Weekly. She is also the editor of a local magazine, Northgate Living, and her debut children’s picture book Everybody Can Dance! was released by Brandylane Publishers, Inc. in May 2019. She has lived in Walnut Creek with her husband for 30 years and is the mom of two now grown children.