Introducing Jasser Hammami, our youngest novelist. Jasser is doing what no one else his age has done in his country: write a novel in English.
Jasser Hammami is a young Tunisian author and a fantasy enthusiast. Unlike most authors, he didn’t grow up surrounded by books. As a child, he doesn’t recall ever seeing a family member or just about anyone in his surrounding reading a book or asking him to read one. Reading books wasn’t exactly a widespread culture among Tunisians. He never liked the fact that nearly 80% of the population of his country don’t read books. Or at least that’s what he read in an article back in 2015.
However, the thing about Jasser is… There isn’t anything in this world he loves more than a good story (if we don’t mention chocolate and cappuccino, of course.) He just couldn’t stop making stories in his head. Even as a little boy, he just couldn’t enjoy watching cartoons or a kids’ movie without spending the rest of the evening imagining a whole new scenario with the same characters or a whole different ending. He liked playing video games too, but mostly because he enjoyed the stories those games were based on. He spent so much time online that he developed a high fluency in the English language, and so he started unintentionally making stories in his head in English, which he found bizarre for a while, but then just got used to it. Then one day, he had the courage to discover the great invention called “books.” And let’s just say they worked on him like cigarettes, only one book was enough to get him addicted to them. He had started with some classics back then. Dickens’ Great Expectations was one of the very first books he ever read. The language was a bit hard, but it only motivated him to further develop his knowledge of this language.
Litterature wasn’t exactly the most appreciated field in his country or at least in his surroundings. “Focus on math and physics! Writers don’t gain enough money to live. Don’t waste your time writing. It won’t get you anywhere,” he’d been told hundreds of times. And it was a fact that authors or just about anyone working in the book industry in some countries including Tunisia had a horribly low income from their books. His first attempts at publishing his books in Tunisia, were dismal: he wouldn’t make it; he couldn’t possibly write something good enough to be accepted for publishing.
Eventually, he became the youngest and one of the very first Tunisians to publish books in the English language in Tunisia, a country where literature was thought to only exist in the French and Arabic languages. You can ask the Comar d’or Awards (the most well-known literature awards event in Tunisia) organizers. They still think so.
However, since he was an ambitious young man, this wasn’t enough for him. That’s why he decided to venture into the book industry worldwide and attempt to publish the first YA novel in his fantasy series with a foreign publisher. It has been quite the frustrating and hard journey to get a publisher from the USA to publish his book. (No author can deny how horribly hard it is. Even JK Rowling’s book had been rejected 12 times before it was published.) Eventually, Jasser realized it was all worth it when he finally signed a contract with Crystal Publishing, LLC for his first novel Jeremy Heimer and the Lady of the Frozen Owl.
Jeremy Heimer and the Lady of the Frozen Owl, forthcoming from Crystal Publishing.