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During my book tour, I had the opportunity to speak in front of many people who always had very interesting questions to ask me. Iíve compiled a few of them here.

A lot of what I know comes from observation and from interacting with people from all walks of life. Iím thrilled to have this fantastic privilege of sharing some of these stories and my insights in the book and here on this website.

If you have more questions, feel free to contact me and Iíll do my best to reply.

Where does your Spanish last name come from? Do you have Latin ancestry?

What was the reaction of your family when you said you wanted to go to Kabul? Were your children supportive of your decision?

There were constant threats against the beauty school. Groups have said they want to bomb it. Why would they want to do that?

What did you learn from the Afghan women?

How did sharing the story of your experience with an abusive husband with the Afghan women change the way that they saw you?

In the book you say that some women are in jail because men had raped them. Do you think that these acts of injustice against women will ever stop in Afghanistan?

From the book it sounded like you had no plans to leave Afghanistan until your son received a kidnap threat. How did you feel about leaving?

Do you have any plans to return to Afghanistan?

You married an Afghan Muslim man. Did you fall in love with him before or after getting married? How did the relationship grow if you could not communicate with each other?

How is your relationship with Sam now?

You heard that the book was going to be translated into Farsi so that Afghans could read it. In the book you tell some important secrets of people that you loved there. Are you afraid that anything terrible will happen to them now?

Are you still in touch with the women from the school?

How is your everyday life now in the United States? Did you go back to your former hairdressing school?

What are the projects you are currently involved in?

Where does your Spanish last name come from? Do you have Latin ancestry?
My last name came from a past husband. I have no actual Latin blood.

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What was the reaction of your family when you said you wanted to go to Kabul? Were your children supportive of your decision?
I had been doing volunteer work for many years so while they were concerned, they understood. My family was 100% supportive. My children, who were in university at the time, were old enough to understand how much this meant to me and let me go with their blessing.

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There were constant threats against the beauty school. Groups have said they want to bomb it. Why would they want to do that?
There are fundamentalists who don’t want any foreign presence in their country. They would rather see the women never leave their home and remain uneducated. Having a foreigner teaching their women is bad enough. The people rumored to threaten to bomb the school were gang related. Most of the crimes that happen in Afghanistan revolve around money.

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What did you learn from the Afghan women?
I learned so much that it’s hard to put it all into words. These women are so strong yet their lives are so hard. I learned that it is not about what you have or how much you have that makes you happy. It’s about family and friends. I learned to take time for family. I learned to smile during hard times.

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How did sharing the story of your experience with an abusive husband with the Afghan women change the way that they saw you?
In the beginning, I believe they saw an American woman living this perfect life and in their minds, American women don’t have problems. So many women in Afghanistan are in abusive marriages and if aren’t, then their mother was or their sister is. It’s so painfully common. When I told them about my situation, I think in their eyes I became a real person and not just a privileged American.

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In the book you say that some women are in jail because men had raped them. Do you think that these acts of injustice against women will ever stop in Afghanistan?
For the first few years I was there I did think things would change. But in the last 2 years things have become worse than when I first arrived in Afghanistan. There is much more corruption, and the influence of drugs and mafia money on the insurgency keeps growing. Afghanistan is going backwards again and I am not sure if there is hope at this point. Something drastic needs to happen to make changes in the country.

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From the book it sounded like you had no plans to leave Afghanistan until your son received a kidnap threat. How did you feel about leaving?
My plan was to stay in Afghanistan as long as I could. I always knew there was a chance that it would get to dangerous yet leaving the country was the hardest thing I have ever done. I left behind the women, my husband, the school, the beauty salon and a coffee house. Everything I owned on this earth was there. I had to leave because my son was in danger and there were some very bad men who were trying to scare me and extort money from me. They would have gone to any lengths to get what they wanted. Security in the country has gotten worse since I left and many people have been killed and kidnapped. There was an incident when a young foreign woman was gunned down on a street. It’s more dangerous than ever.

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Do you have any plans to return to Afghanistan?
My heart will always be in Afghanistan. I believe I will be able to do more projects in the country but it’s still too soon for me to return. I read a quote in a newspaper from the man who threatened to kidnap my son and who would possibly kill me if I went back. He said “This war make good people do bad things.”

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You married an Afghan Muslim man. Did you fall in love with him before or after getting married? How did the relationship grow if you could not communicate with each other?
Sam knew a little English and I knew a little Farsi. A lot of the time we were in groups and had a translator. The relationship developed and grew after the marriage, which is common in Afghanistan.

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How is your relationship with Sam now?
The relationship is not doing well at this point. Sam has linked himself to a notorious warlord and this makes it very unsafe for myself and I believe was a very harmful decision for Sam.

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You heard that the book was going to be translated into Farsi so that Afghans could read it. In the book you tell some important secrets of people that you loved there. Are you afraid that anything terrible will happen to them now?
The book has not been translated into Farsi, which I am thankful for. Several months after the book’s release we were a bit frightened. People assumed that the five women who worked for me in the salon were in the book, which they weren’t. I was very concerned for them when I left. But they are fine today and I send the five girls money from the sales of the book. The other 200 graduates from the school are fine as well, and I believe that a good number have found good jobs because of their solid training.

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Are you still in touch with the women from the school?
Yes, I am still in touch with them. I send them money from the book and I am helping one of the women with her husband and four children to come to the states.

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How is your everyday life now in the United States? Did you go back to your former hairdressing school?
Life in the U.S. is so much different than in Afghanistan. I’ve gotten used to having electricity constantly again. Now I only do the hair of friends and family because a lot of my work is with the book and speaking engagements. I am also working on my 2nd book. It’s fiction and is also based in Afghanistan. It’s the story of six women, both Afghan and foreigners, who open a coffee house set in the middle of a war zone.

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What are the projects you are currently involved in?
I co-founded and work with a non-profit organization called Oasis Rescue. Our current project aims to reach more women on a larger scale. Our organization produces training kits called Beauty Shop in a Box and we partner with organizations in countries that work with women whose lives can be improved by learning hairdressing skills. We train trainers in-country and provide the beauty shop in the box along with products and a video. The local organization selects the women and the location, and provides the logistics to screen the video and other things required for the school.

The wonderful part of this training is that it is portable and we can train in refugee camps, homes, inside and/or outside. The system is designed to train women in conflict and post-conflict areas, with a particular focus on women in Muslim countries, where their situation can be very challenging.

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