The book has found lots of fans, and I’d love it to reach even more readers. If you haven’t yet grabbed your copy, or you’d like to gift it to a friend, here’s your chance!
Here’s a favourite passage of mine from the novel that I’ve not shared online before:
Tears of grey clouds lay scattered across the horizon and daylight was slipping away as Akash returned to his in laws’ house in Bandra. Market-trading had ended and the streets were emptying. Each step he took was weighted with resistance and hope. Perhaps Jaya had just wanted to frighten him. Perhaps she had flung off her clothes and survived. His fear roped around his neck and clung fast, tight and unyielding. He approached the window he had been at hours previously. There, through the glass in the half-light, he saw the blackened floor, and just beyond, Jaya’s mother, weeping at Lord Vishnu’s shrine, wringing her hands. She collapsed in a heap on the floor as Akash watched, her face scrunched up with sorrow. No. It can’t be.
Bile filled Akash’s mouth. A man loomed into view, a hair’s breadth away, breaking Akash’s sightline to the mourning older woman. His father-in-law’s usually neat hair lay dishevelled against his forehead. Bloodshot eyes pulsed in anger as they met his own. The old man drew his finger to lips and motioned with a cocked head to the front door. Akash crossed to the entrance, his head clouded with horror. The door drew open, and Jaya’s father stepped outside into the balmy evening. He stood a head taller than Akash, his body sinewy from age and the Indian heat. A nerve pulsed in the corner of his downturned lips.
“Uncleji…” said Akash.
The older man’s voice erupted in hoarse rage. “You!” He rushed at Akash, planted two hands on his chest, and shoved him to the ground. Akash lay in the gutter. His father-in-law turned to the house to make sure no one had heard the commotion. “You are the reason she did this. I trusted you with my daughter and you betrayed us. Was one woman not enough for you?” The fault was Akash’s. There could be no question.
“Please.” Akash made no attempt to get to his feet. His body coiled as tight as a spring. He wrung his hands together. “I need to know, is she ok?”
“No. It will never be ok.” A shadow passed across his father-in-law’s face, washing away the sorrow and anger, leaving only coldness. “Jaya is gone.”
I’m also going to be publishing a short story called ‘The Dancing Girl’ soon, set in the world of All the Tomorrows, and looking in on Ruhi and Jaya before they were married woman. Sign up to my newsletter here to be notified as soon as it is ready. My cover artist Dale Robert Pease is working his magic as we speak.
We are, of course, in the middle of National Novel Writing Month, when I like to make headway on my new novel draft. It’s the time of year, when golden leaves fall from the trees and crunch underfoot, and the nights draw closer. I tend to take longer baths and cook more this time of year, while listening to podcasts.
Yesterday I caught up on Joanna Penn’s podcast at The Creative Penn, where she was interviewing Steven Pressfield. Steven wrote The War of Art, which I read early on in my writing journey, and has now written a non-fiction book called The Artist’s Journey (not to be confused with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way).
The interview was brilliant, and well worth a listen, and I’ll be buying the book. A lot of what Steven said and Joanna highlighted just made sense. I’ll be adding some of his quotes to the wall in my office to help ground me during my work day.
Quotes by Steven Pressfield, such as:
‘The artist is not expressing himself, he is discovering himself.’
‘The artist is a force for unity.’
Steven also talked about the prayer he says at the start of his work day, taken from the translation of Homer’s Odyssey by T.E. Lawrence. I’ve read it before, and I like the idea of calling to a kind of divine energy. This post from by writer Howard Andrew Jones shares the prayer in full and his more accessible version of it, which I liked.
Happy reading and writing,