Be Inspired by Books Q&A
- Can you tell us a little bit about your new book, East of India?
This is a book that asks the question, how far would you go to survive? EAST OF INDIA begins in the India of the dying days of the British Raj, only a few years before Independence when Britain expects her colonies to help win the war. Nadine is of mixed race, but does not know that until she discovers that her Indian nurse is also her mother. Her mother had taught her how to dance like the nautch dancers, the erotically charged and very energetic dancing that was a precursor to that you now see in Bollywood films. Angry at her father, she marries a man much older than herself and is in Singapore when it falls to the Japanese. She uses her dancing to survive in a Japanese comfort house that is also a prison. It’s there she meets her soul mate, a man of American/Japanese descent who feels as isolated as she does, divided between two worlds. Each day may very well be the last – for each of them. The dreaded possibility at last comes and they have no option but to escape, brave the ocean and head for Australia.
- What inspired you to write this story?
I used to work with a man who had been a soldier in pre-independent India and he told me some anecdotes of what life was like in a culture that was very different at that time. One of those anecdotes was about a woman with two malnourished children. She was a widow and needed to feed them so appealed the soldiers to give her money. Lifting her skirts she exposed her nakedness leaving them in no doubt that they would get in return. So how much would you give to feed your children? Or like Nadine and her friends, how far would you go to live one more day, one more hour?
- The story takes place during WW2. Did you need to do some research in order to write about how women were treated during the war? If so, how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
In reply to how long the research took, I don’t remember. Research takes as long as it takes. You keep going until you are satisfied you have everything you need. I have written many books set in WW2 as Lizzie Lane, though never in the Far East before.
- How long did it take you to write the book?
Writing a 100,000 word book usually takes me about three to six months.
- Did you always dream of being a writer?
It never occurred to me. I was always an avid reader and story teller. It never occurred to me that telling stories off the top of my head was a very unique skill and not something anybody could do.
- What is your writing process like?
I tend to get as far as writing 60,000 – 80,000 words and then using what I’ve written as a template. To this template I add more rich detail and develop the characters with greater depth than at first concept.
- How many hours a day do you spend writing? Do you ever get writer's block?
I don’t set any time limit or punish myself if I only waffle around a bit. Some days I write 500 words, sometimes 5,000. The average is 2,000 words a day. Writers’ block is completely natural. It’s that moment when you’re not satisfied with the work as it is and need to refill the glass – the brain that is. Be patient and the good ideas will reveal themselves.
- What do you do when you are not writing?
Catch up with the laundry, the washing up and all the other things that are really not so important as writing. There are fun times too with my family including my two granddaughters.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Your first priority is to be a story teller. As P D James said, I didn’t get my first book published until I took on board that I am an entertainer. That’s exactly what a novelist, a fiction writer is. It’s fiction! If you are a natural born storyteller, then you’re extremely lucky. All you need then is stamina and persistence. The world cannot resist a good yarn and a good writer cannot resist telling one.
Title: East of India
Author Name: Erica Brown
Previous Books (if applicable): Daughter of Destiny, The Sugar Merchant’s Wife and Return to Paradise (Strong Family Saga)
Genre: Exoctic Saga, Historical Fiction
Release Date: 16th April 2018
India, 1940. When Nadine learns that the Indian woman she thought her nanny is, in fact, her mother, she rebels against her English father and he arranges for Nadine to be wed to an Australian merchant many years older. She whisked off to his plantation in Malaya but as the Second World War rages throughout the East, Nadine is taken captive by the Japanese. She is held at a camp in Sumatra with other women and forced to provide sexual favours for the soldiers. In the most unlikely circumstances, Nadine finds an ally and protector in a Japanese-American general, caught up in the war. The two bond over the conflicted identities and gradually fall in love. But can Nadine survive long enough to find happiness?
Don't miss this emotional and powerful saga about a women's determination to beat the odds, perfect for fans of Renita D'Silva, Dinah Jefferies and Julia Gregson.
Links to Book:
Erica Brown is the pseudonym of a very successful author of women's fiction and crime. She lives in Bath and has one daughter and twin grandchildren one of whom is dead set on becoming a writer.
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