Beginner's Guide to Laos: The Opposite of Hate

I married a man who everyone assumes is Chinese because of the epicanthic folds of his eyelids. I didn’t know Laos was a country until I heard my husband explain over and over again that no, Laos was not another name for Cambodia. That was the beginning of the idea of a book, loosely based on the experiences of my Laotian in-laws as they immigrated to the United States. I say “loosely” because in the tradition of Hollywood, the inspiration for the story then veered into characters who behaved other than the real life events.

Nearly 3 years later, and on my 8th wedding anniversary, here’s a look at how history can bring us together and life tear us apart in the Land of a 1000 Elephants where more bombs were dropped during the Secret War than ever before.

Opposite of Hate

My Writing Process Blog Tour: The Mohadoha Stop


2013-12-12 Reflections on writing process
2013-12-12 Reflections on writing process (Photo credit: sachac)

Thanks to Kate Lord Browne for asking me to participate in this blog hop. KLB is the author of ‘The Beauty Chorus’ and ‘The Perfume Garden’, which was shortlisted for Romantic Novel of the Year. She also writes the Ahlan! magazine Book Club column, the first of its kind in the Middle East, and lives in the only true desert country in the world with her family. 

Courtesy of this blog hop, you’ll get a window into world of writing via me and three other writers as we answer the same 4 questions.

1) What am I working on?

My mind, or shall I say computer, is a bit of a muddle right now because I’ve got 2 books that need heavy revisions and not enough hours in the day. One is a novel that’s set in the Arabian Gulf and explores the relationships between maids and their employers called The Dohmestics. This is my second title due out in paperback this summer. The other is a novel set in Laos in 1975, about war in Southeast Asia and immigrating to America, The Opposite of Hate. This is my next eBook. Looming deadlines are good motivators to get going as is controversy; the sequel for my banned novel, as yet unnamed, is lingering at 15000 words. Needless to say, it will be a busy summer of writing.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My work is a blend of history, culture, and place. The books stand out because they explore places that many readers may not know about: Laos or Qatar – examining spaces within these countries that wouldn’t be accessible to outsiders.
3) Why do I write what I do?

I write to take the reader places s/he couldn’t go on their own.
4) How does my writing process work?

Dear oh dear it’s not streamlined. I am usually writing a draft of one project, revising another one, and marketing all the published ones (8 to date). Generally I’m working triage, on whatever title is getting a facelift or scheduled for next for publication or promotion.

I’m tagging Scott Bury and Rob Chazz Chute as the writers next in line for the blog hop. Head over to their sites to see how and why they tell their stories.

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Sunday Supper: Homemade Shrimp Pad Thai

My husband’s family is from Laos, a country that shares borders with Thailand and Vietnam. We love Asian food and for me, noodles in particular. A casual night in with friends (and four toddlers) was the perfect excuse to try my hand at pad Thai. Not as hard as you’d think. I’m often intimidated from making dishes like these because of the number of ingredients. Besides the garnishes, this didn’t require a whole lot.

I used this recipe and we were pleased with the results. No leftovers is the sure sign of something going well. For a side dish, we had Thai cucumber salad which had a nice crunch and yummy dressing.

What dish have you been trying to make? The hardest part is getting ingredients together.

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