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.
Yes, that’s right, my pick for New Classic Reads is a Laotian coroner you have probably never heard of — but should absolutely pick up — called the Dr. Siri Paiboun series. As a reader, a classic is a book that presents familiar ideas in a new way, whether through characters, setting, or inventive plot. The Dr. Siri stories accomplish all three; murder mysteries set in a unique corner of the world and featuring a cast of original characters that make me jealous I didn’t think of them. Another aspect to a classic: the author has created a work all to (in this case) his own which cannot be mimicked as a fad.
Few people know where the country is (a landlocked country that borders Thailand and Vietnam).
I stumbled across the series when doing research for my upcoming novel set in Laos in the 1970s. There’s a dirth of fiction set in Laos — volumes against the turbulent times in Cambodia, Thailand, and of course, Vietnam.
Full of history, culture, crime, and mystery, this seventy plus year old coroner is not only a shaman for spirits, he also solves crimes. The author, Colin Cotterill, is English and has lived in Southeast Asia for some time. He is my hero for bringing this part of the
world to life in such vivid and cantankerous prose.
Here’s the cover of the first book in the series. And the great thing about a series, is that you can firmly fall in love with these characters because there are over ten books.
I’m not the only one posting on this theme, so check out the Linky. for hop.
If you’d like to see the books by the sponsors of this blog hop, check ’em out below.
Mark of the Loon – Molly Greene
Synopsis: What happens when a workaholic serial remodeler falls in love with an old stone cottage built by an ornithologist and his eccentric Irish wife? If you’re Madison Boone, you kick your budding romance with handsome Psych Professor Coleman Welles to the curb and lose yourself in a new project.
Madison renovates distressed homes in addition to her busy real estate sales career. When she hears about a quaint house on a private tract of land overlooking Lake Sonoma, she climbs in the window for a private tour and falls in love with the place. Good fortune enables her to purchase the Blackburne’s property, but far more than a new home and lush gardens await discovery during this renovation.As Madison works on the remodel, she’s drawn into an old love story with dangerous consequences. She unearths buried secrets and discovers herself in the process. Good thing she has three wise, hilarious friends to advise her along the way! Mark of the Loon is the skillful combination of history, mystery, and romance in a novel that explores deep friendship, choices, and how individuals cope with loss.
At the heart of the seemingly perfect Tyler family stands sixteen-year-old Leah. Her proud parents are happily married, successful professionals. Her adoring younger sister is wise and responsible beyond her years. And Leah herself is a talented athlete with a bright collegiate future. But living out her father’s lost dreams, and living up to her sister’s worshipful expectations, is no easy task for a teenager. And when temptation enters her life in the form of drugs, desire, and a dangerously exciting boy, Leah’s world turns on a dime from idyllic to chaotic to nearly tragic.As Leah’s conflicted emotions take their toll on those she loves—turning them against each other and pushing them to destructive extremes—In Leah’s Wake powerfully explores one of fiction’s most enduring themes: the struggle of teenagers coming of age, and coming to terms with the overwhelming feelings that rule them and the demanding world that challenges them. Terri Giuliano Long’s skillfully styled and insightfully informed debut novel captures the intensely personal tragedies, victories, and revelations each new generation faces during those tumultuous transitional years.
Recipient of multiple awards and honors, In Leah’s Wake is a compelling and satisfying reading experience with important truths to share—by a new author with the voice of a natural storyteller and an unfailingly keen understanding of the human condition…at every age.
Second Chance Grill – Christine Nolfi
Synopsis: Dr. Mary Chance needs a sabbatical from medicine to grieve the loss of her closest friend. But when she inherits a struggling restaurant in Liberty, Ohio she isn’t prepared for Blossom Perini. Mary can’t resist falling for the precocious preteen—or the girl’s father. The bond they forge will transform all their lives and set in motion an outpouring of love that spreads across America.
Welcome back to Liberty, where the women surrounding the town’s only restaurant are as charming as they are eccentric.
Second Chance Grill is the prequel to Treasure Me, 2012 Next Generation Indie Awards Finalist, which The Midwest Book Review calls “A riveting read for those who enjoy adventure fiction, highly recommended.”
Synopsis: Welcome to bestselling author Rachel Thompson’s newest work! Vastly different in tone from her previous essay collections A Walk In The Snark and The Mancode: Exposed, BROKEN PIECES is a collection of pieces inspired by life: love, loss, abuse, trust, grief, and ultimately, love again.
For the past year or so, I’ve been hard at work on a novel manuscript, set in Laos, a landlocked country near Cambodia and Vietnam. I wasn’t sure how to tell this story about a place most people couldn’t pronounce, much less point to on a map. Luckily, during my lull, I was asked to be part of the blog tour for Khanh Ha‘s novel, Flesh.
Nothing is as great for writer’s block as entering the world created by another writer and Ha’s book proved this to be truer than ever. He takes us into the life of a boy, Tai, searching to avenge his father. The quest takes us deep into the culture and history of Vietnam. I was impressed by the inclusion of a Western character, a priest, which adds depth to the story overall. I’ve been wrestling with the inclusion of an American male character in my own story but Ha creates someone who is humane and still a product of his own society without being stereotypical.
I was enthralled by the rich character descriptions as well as the details that bring unfamiliar environment to life for the reader and gained renewed enthusiasm for telling my own story set in Southeast Asia. For the reader looking for a cultural read that is delivered through a dramatic character arc.
Enter the Rafflecopter contest! I’ve posted the contest form below, or you can enter on the tour page linked above.
About the author: Khanh Ha was born in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam. During his teen years he began writing short stories which won him several awards in the Vietnamese adolescent magazines. He graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He is at work on a new novel.