A 12-year-old is capable of a lot of things – but becoming an author? You definitely don’t hear that everyday. Maya Okasha, author at just 12 of children’s book The Enchanted Mirror, is an inspiration to many. Growing up with an obsession for books, and burning through multiple in a day, Maya always had her head in the books. Because of this life-long love she had for reading, writing out her own stories came very genuinely to Maya.
Maya expresses how letting out her creativity through writing has always just come so naturally to her. “I never thought of it as a big deal back then – I was just writing because it was just what I wanted to do after reading so much of other people’s work,” Maya explains how she began her first book.
When recalling how the story of the book came to life, the young Dubai-based author explains how she used to play a game regularly with her family friends, which inspired the main aspects of the book. As playing this game, called the power game, became a family tradition between Maya and her family friends, they felt quite close with their given characters in said game. The teenage fictional author explains how their game characters spilled over into the stories she would write, because she just knew those characters so well and it just made sense. As a result, Maya describes how the characters of the book were basically them, in a way, which made it much more special and personal to her and her family. These characters are part of a society called The Elites, and the story just kept unwinding from there, as the characters set the foundation of the plot.
Now the story was written in chunks here and there, the next step was to publish. Having a highly supportive family, Maya was lucky that her mom pointed out how impressive it was that just a 12-year-old was able to put together a rough idea of a “book” – something Maya herself was unaware of, seeing as she was quite young. With the help of her mom, the talented writer was able to successfully publish the book with one of the world’s leading publishers, Penguin Books.
As Maya’s mom took on the technicalities and logistics of the publishing process, Maya was able to enjoy the fun parts of the process, like choosing the cover art. Maya was able to join with an Arts college student on creating the perfect cover art.
Now at just 14 years old, Maya Okasha already has two unpublished books; one that’s a romance/fantasy, and the other which is a murder mystery. When describing how exciting it was exploring different genres, Maya stated that murder mystery was by far her favorite. It makes sense given that Maya wishes to become a lawyer and feels intrigued by such a career. Her passion for the law likely goes hand-in-hand with her interest in writing within the genre of murder mysteries.