Hazy Dusk: A Debut Fantasy by Orjuana Khudari
Orjuana Khudari grew up in Saudi Arabia, with Arabic as her first language. She has since moved to England with her family, learned the challenging language and successfully published a book in English, Hazy Dusk: Yesterday Morning the Sun Shone Bright, Today Earth Saw No Light. Having written Hazy Dusk at the juvenile age of seventeen, Orjuana has a long career of writing ahead of her, that she is hoping to pursue in the near future.
We interviewed Orjuana to find out how and why she wrote such a successful debut novel. She told us all about the challenges she faced in the writing process, including moving across countries, starting new schools and taking many exams! Though no matter how much life may have disrupted the process, Orjuana’s passion for writing encouraged her pursuit. She has been writing since she was eight years old, at this time it was mostly song lyrics. We asked Orjuana what the most rewarding aspect of writing is to her, she told us… “I think one of the most rewarding aspects of writing this novel was re-reading. Whenever I re-read what I’ve written, I get surprised of my work. Surprised at how good it sounded at times and that was nice. Another rewarding aspect, was writing under genre of science fantasy. A genre I love mostly because of how, as both an author and a reader, I can fantasise and make up little details which are imaginary but some scientifically possible or unknown”.
The novel comes under the genre of science fantasy, specialising in astrophysics. Readers will learn the life of a star, precisely the sun, as well as Orjuana’s made-up version of the inside of the sun. Also, readers will live through how earth would be like if the sun were to disappear. A summary of the novel is as follows: Without the sun, the earth would be nothing and humanity would not exist. So what if one day the sun suddenly collapses? And humanity is challenged? Seventeen years old Roxie Williams lived through the change and discovered her new abilities which she once believed were only in books and movies. But more discoveries were on her way with the fading of warm spring days. The icy air and snow blankets of April rose questions of following the wrong calendar and the differences between time zones but the truth was beyond the imagination of humanity. The truth challenged the intelligence of everyone.
Whilst Orjuana’s personal experiences did not influence her novel, she found inspiration from documentaries by the well known English physicist, Brian Cox. This together with personal research and some physics lessons at school allowed Orjuana to create a scientifically accurate and interesting novel covering the realms of science, an achievement we may not always expect from a teenager.
There are many themes touched on in Hazy Dusk including friendship, forgiveness, ignorance, bravery, family, revenge and many more. Whilst Orjuana tells us that she hopes for each one of these to deliver a message, her main message is how we don’t notice all the changes around us nor do we question them, when we probably should. We also asked Orjuana why she writes and what it means to her, she told us… “To me, writing is everything: my way of expressing thoughts, my voice and true love. I was young when I started, but my passions for both writing and reading grew up with me. I started off with Arabic. I then learned English during my teenage years in England and began writing in English too. I fell in love with English literature right away, as well as poetry.
For readers that are not educated in astrophysics, the existence of a possibility for the sun to disappear or collapse may be a surprising find in Orjuana’s novel.
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