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Hairdresser, humanitarian and author: A guide to the many lives and books of Deborah Rodriguez.

When the routine of her daily life left her wanting more, Deborah Rodriguez decided to take action and do something different. Having trained in disaster relief, she packed a suitcase of medical supplies and travelled to Afghanistan in 2002. It was there that she was inspired by her beauty and hairdressing skills, and helped to build the Kabul Beauty School in 2003. It provided a safe place for Afghan women to learn and practise these trades, and became the basis for her first non-fiction book, The Kabul Beauty School, published in 2007. That same year she became part-owner in a coffee shop, inspiring the bestselling novels, The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul and Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul.

‘I’m a hairdresser and a storyteller. I never dreamed that I could be a writer. But I believe in the magic of life and not being afraid to try what you never thought you could do. With the encouragement of friends and family, my journey into the unknown as an author was born.’

After fleeing from Afghanistan to California, Deborah moved to Mexico and settled in a small seaside town where she would eventually establish Tippy Toes Salon and Spa, and write her memoir The House on Carnaval Street.

The Zanzibar Wife, set in both in Oman and on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, is Rodriguez’s latest novel and tells the story of three different women, each facing a crossroad in her life..

While her body of work comprises both fiction and non-fiction, the themes are consistent: the strength and endurance of both friendship and love, the transcendence of cultural barriers and the importance of home.

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