In her second novel, WHEN THE MOON IS LOW, Nadia Hashimi gives an identity to 20,000 refugees who flee persecution for a better life but suffer great hardship on their journey to the West.
Nadia, an Afghan American, tells the riveting story of Fereiba, an Afghan widow and her three children who flee Afghanistan only to face major obstacles as illegal immigrants passing through Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, bound for England.
Nadia is one of those overachieving people we want to hate but we can’t help admiring. In the past year she has released two novels, gave birth to her third child and oh yeah, she’s also a pediatrician. Nadia's first novel THE PEARL THAT BROKE IT’S SHELL became an international bestseller and I’m confident people will love WHEN THE MOON IS LOW.
Below is Q&A with author Nadia Hashimi about her life as multi-tasking mother of three and best selling author.
HUMAIRA: How did you juggle the birth of your third child and release of your debut novel along with the release of your second book—all within a year?
NADIA: It’s true that 2014 was a very exciting and busy year for us. We were happy to see THE PEARL THAT BROKE IT’S SHELL hit bookstores and make its way to readers’ hands in May.
There’s so much that goes into writing a book and it’s a huge relief when it’s finally “out there.” We also welcomed our third child in August. It was indeed a long, hot summer!
I attended lots of local book clubs and even went to a very passionate PEARL discussion one month after the baby was born. Since it was local, it was a great way for me to get out of the house and still be around for all those newborn needs.
Once my son was a few months old, I began traveling quite a bit for book events. I rely on the support of my husband and extended family. Everyone really came together to pitch-in when I need to travel or hop on the computer for a Skype session. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. In our home, it has definitely taken a well-coordinated village to raise our children and publish a book.
HUMAIRA: Give us an idea of what it's like in the Hashimi household on a given Wednesday?
NADIA: Our home on a Wednesday is probably like most other homes. We rise and shine just before six o’clock in the morning and get everyone dressed and fed.
Our two older children go to a Montessori preschool and our little one stays home with the nanny. My husband hits the road early in the morning to head to the operating room—he’s a busy neurosurgeon.
On any given Wednesday, I might be found in my husband’s office where I manage his practice or in the emergency room where I see pediatric patients or in a coffee shop writing, writing, writing. We all come together in the evening for dinner and playtime.
The day draws to a close when my husband tucks the kids into bed and I pull out my laptop to catch up on some book-related work. Thankfully, at night, my husband becomes the storyteller in the family and the kids love it. He manages to field some pretty interesting requests from them so if anyone ever needs a story where a unicorn, a rainbow and a ninja come together on a rocket ship, he’s your guy.
HUMAIRA: Are there some organizations that support illegal, political refugees that do great work?
NADIA: There are quite a few organizations out there that work with the displaced or refugees. I would recommend folks take a look at a few organizations and decide which model or mission appeals most. I also strongly advise using a resource such as Charity Navigator to check on to get an education on the organization before sending money.
Charity Navigator rates nonprofits and provides breakdowns of how much of their assets are allocated towards administrative costs vs programs, for example. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is a great starting point as their scope is quite broad (Sudan, Syria, Nepal, Columbia and beyond).
Besides donating money, there are a few other ways to help out. Some folks volunteer to teach basic English or provide driving lessons to the newly immigrated in their local communities. If we look at the problem with a broader lens, there are also ways to help individuals in their native countries. Organizations like SOLA in Afghanistan has opportunities for mentorship of Afghan girls via Skype sessions. By empowering young women in Afghanistan with education and leadership skills, these volunteers might just be putting productive individuals into society and stabilizing the country. A strong local economy with engaged citizens and a government representative of all will be much less likely to create a wave of political refugees.