Gathering Together

        Introducing Edward Shafik



When I was born, a relative looked at my big head and told my father that I’ll have a big future. My father believed this projection and insisted I become a doctor. I didn’t know better then, so I agreed but was smart enough not to sign a contract. Later my mother wanted me to be successful but happy. After a little talk, I convinced my mom that I could not be both. Mother struck a deal that I become a successful doctor.

Early in my childhood, I discovered the thrill of reading mysteries and Tarzan adventures. Even in Arabic, my mother tongue, they were more fun than playing ball in the streets. Year after year I would read more and more, faster and faster. Eventually I started to write poetry and short stories. Not to disappoint my parents, I also studied hard, but despite my big head, my grades were not good enough for medical school. I majored in science to become a chemist. Thank God, my parents still loved me as a chemist.

With the persecution of Christians in Egypt and the scarcity of prospects for young graduates, our family made immigration to America an objective, no matter the cost. Like Christopher Columbus, I was the first to arrive in the New World (New York, actually). I then prepared a place for my family to live upon their arrival few months later.

I earned a master’s degree in chemistry, and my career as environmental chemist soared as I became a supervisory chemist and a division chief in the U.S. Army. I traveled back to Egypt to marry my sweetheart. My career took us on a great tour through New Mexico, Kentucky, and Maryland. During the first five years of our marriage, the Lord blessed us with an adorable daughter and a handsome son. I wrote two speculative novels during those years, but my priorities were God, family, and job.

After retirement, I finally could accomplish my dream to be a fulltime writer. Some days I could write till midnight; other days I had to be content composing the next chapter in my mind while engaged in other tasks.

In 2010, Muslim terrorists killed six young Coptic Christians as they celebrated Christmas Eve in Nag Hammadi Egypt. The massacre opened a large wound for the Copts all over the world. As the details of the crimes unfolded, I began to write Paradise Regained.

With this novel, I wanted to do more than simply record current events. Accounts of one martyr dressed in a tuxedo like a bridegroom—as if for an appointment with destiny—compelled me to speculate about what kind of welcome he would receive in the hereafter. The result was a virtual reality tour of the Third Heaven, my attempt to give readers a glimpse of what no mortal eye has seen and no mortal ear has heard. In these pages you will experience what God has prepared to those who love him.

A note of happy ending: my father went to heaven few years ago, but my mother is still alive, and in May 2012, she will see her grandson (my son) becoming the health care professional my parents always wanted me to be.