Nataly, tell us more in detail about your book, “MASKS.” What inspired you to write this novel?
My life choices, my desire and dream of fame, and the obstacles and consequences of that goal drove me to write my novel; so, after years of living in misery and sadness hiding behind my true self, I decided to share my experience with the world, particularly western women.
What is the novel about?
Masks is a fiction novel, based on true-life events. It narrates the adventures of a young Armenian girl born in Lebanon in the seventies. She dreams of fame and power in Lebanon and the Arab world and shows resilience and motivation beyond her years. The novel delves into the world of the protagonist, Anna, who is surrounded by social, religious, and sexual taboos. She fiercely breaks the chains to enter the world she has strived to reach, in a seemingly conservative society barely emerging from a civil war. She builds her success on her remaining values, challenging her fate and sparing no methods to attain her goals.
As a disappointment to her parents, she walks the challenging paths alone, making her way toward fame and fortune despite lacking the support system to do so. Doors begin to open for her, and she enters the world of Arab celebrities. She is now a public figure in the Middle East, living an immoral married life in a materialistic world surrounded by influential business people and royal family members. She tries, in vain, to fill the void in her soul with sexual adventures and controversy by taking a variety of lovers. Her adventures invariably end in misery, doing nothing to awaken her from her numbness. Still, her vivid, out-of-control personality helps her move forward while simultaneously getting her in trouble. In the early stages of her life, she has suffered the unthinkable, being bullied and raped, with the civil war a constant backdrop throughout most of her childhood. The novel delves deep into Anna’s mind as she has flashbacks of the trauma she has suffered, offering the reader a hint of an explanation for her behavior.
In a society in which men dominate women, she is one of the few who realize that fashion, social status, plastic surgeries, and bright smiles are not the answer to happiness. She lives in a world where a girl is only worth as much as her virginity, where women do not dare to ask for a divorce, where the fear of retribution keeps them locked in a cage that is very rarely gilded.
As fame, money, and power slowly eat at her soul, the arrogant Anna falls in love with a total stranger—a young, single bachelor from Canada—after a night of a secret passion. That is where the story begins to unravel as she returns home with a scandal in her back pocket, her eyes and ears and heart tuned to this man instead of her husband. Anna realizes that neither her marriage nor her achievements have ever made her happy, so she decides to throw it all away. The lies and deceit that fill the so-called glamorous life she has been leading are floating up to the surface, including her husband’s infidelity and the critical steps she has taken to reach the top.
Marriage, family, career—all destroyed to be united with the stranger. She starts a new battle, this time struggling to change her destiny for someone she barely knows, who lives oceans apart and offers her nothing except his heart.
She risks everything, turning her whole life upside down. Anna realizes that her happiness, inner peace, and love are found worlds away from her own, with someone she would never have expected to be her soul mate. Still, Anna’s sacrifices are not behind her, and the struggle has not yet ended, although she has found what she has needed all her life: redemption and unconditional love.
The stranger enigmatically hints at emotions that have been hidden behind the masks of her dark and shallow lifestyle. The characters in the story are the voices of so many who do not dare to speak up in a world where social and religious standards openly chastise the very actions that behind closed doors have become the ultimate paradigmatic way of life.
What do you do want your readers to be left with after reading your book?
I hope that my readers, particularly women, will take away a lesson about courage, awareness, and tenacity from the story of my novel “Masks”.
The truth is that any goal in life has a cost, and it is up to you to determine whether the cost is worthwhile.
What should the consequences of that goal be? Are you aware of genuine happiness? Why are we afraid of revealing our true selves to the world and how can we change that?
What is your coaching philosophy?
My coaching philosophy is that regardless of how much we study and learn to become excellent coaches, regardless of which degree we hold, I think that the lifestyle and events of a coach influence his or her development as a brilliant coach. Otherwise, we risk becoming more and more like a swimming coach who masters and teaches all the skills he or she has studied but has never been in the water or gone swimming.
We saw some of the testimonials that you have. They were fantastic! Tell us more about the clients that you have worked with. What do you think has been the differentiating factor that leaves so many good reviews about you?
Oh, thank you; now I’m blushing. I’ve trained people from all different countries, ethnicities, religions, and professions, ranging from businessmen to journalists, university students to housewives, business coaches to marine soldiers, and even family members of heroes of war. I had clients from Canada, Armenia, Australia, Artsakh, Lebanon, Iraq, the United States of America, Spain, Germany, and India. I’m sorry I can’t recollect all countries, but their testimonies make me feel so privileged to have been able to help them as a coach. As for why they leave such fantastic testimonials, I have no idea; I believe you should ask them; I’m literally laughing as I type these words.
Finally, is there anything that you’d like to leave us off with?
I would like to express my gratitude to you and the entire team at Influence Digest for selecting me as one of the top best coaches in Quebec Canada for 2021. It is a great honor to have such a title from you guys. My message to all your amazing readers and followers is to understand the difference between our wants and our needs in life. Once we can distinguish between these two facts and recognize them, life can become much easier and less complicated and happier.
Special thanks to Nataly Restokian for being part of this excellent interview.