International Writers: Zvezdana Rashkovich – Dubai Wives

May 19, 2011 | By | 10 Replies More

International writer and author, Zvezdana Rashkovich, writes about her multinational and traveling upbringing, and her residence in the United Arab Emirates, as the backdrop for her novel, Dubai Wives.

Dubai Wives by Zvezdana Rashkovich

Dubai Wives is the first novel by international writer, Zvezdana Rashkovich

I grew up in an eclectic mix of cultures. My mother is Croatian, my father Serbian and my stepfather, a Muslim Sudanese. Being  multicultural is what I know.

What would it feel like to have lived without the intoxicating, exotic mix of languages, cultures, religions, and races? As a child I craved the normalcy of my Croatian friends’ lives and the assurances that they took for granted: attending the same school every year, living down the street from their best friends for decades and going to Grandma’s for lunch every Sunday.

It was by good fortune that I was born to an adventurous, brave woman who was not afraid of…anything it seems and who had embedded the love of travel in me. A woman who challenged conventional Balkans of the seventies by marrying an impoverished, African Muslim student, and then following him to his far away country. Her zest for travel and thirst for learning about other cultures led her on a series of impulsive travels across Asia, Europe, and Africa with my equally free-spirited stepfather…always, my sister and I, in tow.

Due to them, I have lived in Tripoli, Libya, a country of magnificent Roman ruins, white beaches, and stunning Mediterranean waters. We spent months in Baghdad, enjoying kebabs and kofta by the murky Tigris. We drove across Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey.

In Greece, we boarded a ship to Africa, drove across Egypt, and after days on a train through the Sahara, arrived in Sudan.

My parents’ favorite means of transport were by car, by ship, and by train.

Zvezdana Rashkovich, the author

Since becoming an adult, wife, and mother of four, I inexplicably found myself following my parent’s footsteps.

The steady parade of vibrant characters that I met through growing up in Africa, being a foreign student in the US, and an “expat” in the Middle East,  dazzled me. Inspired by their colorful variety and hard-to-believe life stories, I started to record them in my teenage journals and stacks of now-yellowed copybooks.

Dubai Wives: A Novel

This lifelong fascination with writing and all things multicultural resulted in my first novel – ‘Dubai Wives’. Set in a city that defies the norm, I recorded the trials and tribulations of a group of women whose lives intersect here.

A metropolis that teems with complex characters and baffling personal evolutions, Dubai is an ideal backdrop for a multicultural tale.

Here, my imagination seemed timid in comparison to real life events. The stories my characters share are universal. Betrayal, friendship,love, faith, lost innocence…these themes abound in every corner of the globe.

Dubai with its unique blend of old and new, wealth and exoticism gives the plot certain elements exclusive to it alone. An intangible aura of mystery surrounds its towering skyscrapers built on shifting sands, its lavish lifestyle, and its hodgepodge of culturally diverse inhabitants. Unique but yet familiar to all, the novel attempts to bring some clarity, understanding and maybe even compassion for these ambiguous ‘Dubai Wives’.


We all draw from our lives to write, for some it’s the mundane that gives it richness, for others it’s the exotic. What do you draw from your life when you write?


Are you following authors on Twitter? Follow international author, Zvezdana Rashkovich:  @SleeplesinDubai on Twitter. Read her blog. Visit her website. Order her novel, Dubai Wives from Amazon.

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Category: Croatian Women Writers, Expatriate Writers, Multicultural Writers

Comments (10)

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  1. Katie Foster says:

    Here you say you crave the normalcy of living in the same town your entire life and yet you eagerly embraced the opportunities to travel in so many interesting places. As one who 60+ and lived my entire life in my hometown (except for 4 years in college), I am totally envious of your adventures. That is why I leaped at this late in life opportunity to live in Dubai. As with you, the “intoxicating, exotic mix of languages, cultures, religions, and races” are an adrenaline rush! Dubia Wives is next on my reading list and I know it will be a great read! Looking forward to meeting you!

    • zvezdana says:

      Thank you so much Katie!True I crave the normalcy but yet cannot live outside a multicultural environment. I guess I am more my mother’s daughter than I realize.
      Wish you many more “Arabian” and other adventures!I think you are more brave than you think. Bravo!
      Would love to meet you:)

  2. Francine says:

    I’m so glad you became a writer. It would be a shame if we couldn’t read about all of your interesting adventures.

  3. Carol Bowman says:

    The discription of the normal Croatian lifestyle sounded like America and gave me a feeling of common ground , we are all more alike than we know,she showed me our mothers make our lives different. Her children will have a story as well. We all love lavish lifestyles but I look forward to reading about them from the perspective of a woman who uses the word “hodgepodge” in the same sentence…another common ground.

    • zvezdana rashkovich says:

      I am so pleased by your comment and for your kind feedback Carol. Thank you very much!
      Your support for my writing and faith in it have helped me tremendously and you will be missed in the Writer’s Group and by me personally:)

  4. Maha Osman says:

    I’ve known Zvezdana as a classmate in SSK (Sisters’School Khartoum).It was fun having her in the class and amazing enough she managed to learn Arabic so quickly and knew all the colloquial Sudanese expressions!! That ‘s a proof of her talent in languages .Even at that earlier stage of her life, Zvezdana did show her creative and descriptive writing skills, when we were asked to write an essay about any topic.

    She is a friend I admire and highly respect. I enjoyed reading Dubai Wives which just carries the reader to that region. While reading I could relate to the culture,sounds ,smells etc of Dubai.

    To sum it up, Zvezdana is a kaleidoscope of cultures annd adventures!

    • zvezdana rashkovich says:

      I am humbled by your generosity and support Maha. Thank you so much for this kind comment and for stopping by. You have always been a courageous and uplifiting force in my life and I admire you for it. Many thanks and hugs:)

  5. What a fascinating life, Zvezdana. Thank you for sharing this. Did your children pick up your same love of travel and adventure?

    • zvezdana rashkovich says:

      Thank you so much Holly. We traveled by car with the kids from the Middle East to Europe (a two week trip) the youngest was 2 then! We have also taken them across the Saudi desert, Europe and in the US on some ill planned but in retrospect wonderful trips. As they get older am sure they will embark on a series of their own adventures.I can feel their restlesness:)

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