By Claire Cooper
An exclusive interview with Bill Gates would be the pinnacle of many journalist’s career – but for Cuckfield’s Arif Mohamed nothing beats the moment when he laid hands on his first published novel.
“It’s incredible – the best feeling a writer can have,” says Arif. “We were so excited and the children were all dancing round the kitchen!
“Seeing my work in print, and welcoming my family and friends to my book signings has been a dream!”
Arif, who writes under the name Joshua Raven, is the author of the 5fingers series of supernatural thrillers. ”It’s a quintet of five books – the first three, 5fingers: initiation, 5fingers: vortex and 5fingers: trinity have been published and the fourth is well underway,” he says.
Aimed at teenagers and young adults, Arif’s books have been hugely successful, with many readers eagerly awaiting the publication of the fourth, due later this year.
For Arif, it’s the culmination of a dream which began when he was an avid young reader, spending many hours devouring books in Crawley Library. Inspired by Tolkein, Tolstoy and Dickens, among others, Arif started writing when he was 15. After leaving school he studied English Language and Literature at Leeds University before training as a journalist in Portsmouth.
He went on to become a news reporter working on high profile publications, including The Times newspaper and Director Magazine, travelling extensively and interviewing high profile business leaders including Bill Gates and Michael Dell while working for several leading business/IT magazines. “My scoop on Gates got syndicated around the world,” Arif recalled.
After meeting and marrying wife Phoebe, Arif changed direction. “We embarked on our ‘American Adventure’, moving to North Carolina to run counselling workshops in the Blue Ridge Mountains,” said Arif.
“It involved taking married couples and teenagers into the mountains to spend a week with us getting counselling, confronting events from the past and ultimately healing. It was an amazing experience for us all.”
On returning to England, the couple settled in Haywards Heath before discovering Cuckfield. “We moved to Cuckfield after the birth of our second child,” Arif recalled. “We were attracted by the feel of the village and the sense of community.”
Full article available on pages 16/17.