Oasis Magazine Articles

Romancing Egypt

By Jenyfer Matthews

September 01, 2007

Romance Author and Expat Resident, Jenyfer Matthews, answers questions about her life, her writing and her experience in Egypt.

When did you arrive in Egypt and what brought you to the country?
I arrived in Egypt in August 2006 when my husband accepted a job here. Visiting Egypt had been a lifelong dream of his so when he was offered a wonderful job as well, who could say no?

What would you say was your biggest obstacle to overcome since your arrival?
The air pollution and the traffic certainly took some getting used to, but the biggest obstacle has probably been getting the kids settled into a new environment. Prior to coming to Egypt, we were in the United Arab Emirates long enough for them to think of it as “home”. They have had a tough time grasping the idea that we are in Egypt to stay (for the meantime anyway!) and miss their old friends very much. One of the biggest benefits of living abroad is meeting so many wonderful people from all over the world, but one of the biggest drawbacks is the speed with which these same wonderful people come in and out of your life. As a mother it’s hard to watch my children learn such painful lessons at such a young age.

I understand you are a published romance writer. What made you start writing?
Honestly? Being disappointed after having read one too many poorly written books! I love to lose myself in a great story and have always loved to play “what if” games in my head. Once I finally had a little more free time in my schedule I started to try to develop some of the ideas that had popped into my mind over the years. Getting the ending I want every time helps too!

Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?
Just about anything can set me off! Faces, sights, sounds, music, scents. The first story I ever wrote was inspired by the sound of someone whistling. I was taking a walk across a deserted college campus with my husband one evening. As we were walking along in the twilight and we heard someone whistling a sad tune. I got to thinking about what it would be like to be walking alone and hear that, how creepy it would be. Especially if you heard it more than once, on different occasions, in different places…  (That story is now languishing in a metaphorical drawer but it was fun to write!)
My current project was inspired by airports. We expats spend more than enough time in those so I don’t suppose it was such a leap for me to write a story about a woman who takes off traveling from one exotic place to another, trying to heal a broken heart and find a new path in life.

Can you give a brief overview of how e-books work and the benefits to the expat community in Egypt, or in any other country for that matter?
An e-book is essentially a digital copy of a “real” book. They are available in several different formats which you select depending on your reading preference.  You can download the book to your computer or laptop and read on the screen. If you like to be more mobile, you can upload e-books to a handheld computer or dedicated e-book reader, such as the eBookwise reader.
I really think that e-books are a great option for expatriates. Oftentimes the bookstores in our new homes don’t carry the most up-to-date or widest selection of genres and authors. And ordering things through the mail is not only risky but can be expensive! e-books are an economical and practical way to satisfy your need to read, instantly. In addition, e-books are extremely portable which not only makes them great to take along on trips, but there are no boxes to pack when you move on to your next posting. You can tuck your whole library in your purse. How can you argue with that?

Any chance you will be setting a romance story in Egypt in the near future?
Knowing the way my mind works, it’s entirely possible!  There will definitely be a section of my current work-in-progress set in Cairo as my character globe-trots her way to a new life.

Jenyfer Matthews
ONE CRAZY SUMMER – September  2007

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