Greetings readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors and welcome to The ToiBox of Words. I’m your host Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse, and today I’m sharing a special interview with author, Amie Ali, about her fiction book entitled, Whispers from the East. Enjoy!
Where did the idea for Whispers from the East come from?
I am a part of a support group for Western women who are born to non-Western born Muslim men. The stories I hear from the women who pass through and my friends who have committed to the group are amazing. Some are wonderful, some are terrible, and some are just like any other relationship that doesn’t cross cultural and religious barriers. I felt like these stories needed to be heard. None of the characters are based on any one person or experience. I think every woman I have spoken with that is in this type of relationship will see a bit of herself in all the characters.
How did the title of this book come about?
The title was the result of a huge amount of brainstorming. Plays on words and phrases that are catchy and memorable, in the hope it might entice a reader to look closer. Whispers from the East was a title that I was excited about the moment it was presented to me. This is the story of three women with ties to South Asia, a land they have been drawn to through their experiences and love lives. One was born there, and two were gently coaxed. There were no loud sirens or declarations to the East…just the whispers of their hearts.
What genre is this book and why did you choose to make it so?
The book is Literary Fiction under the sub-genres of Historical Fiction and Women’s Fiction. I didn’t choose the genres, the genres chose me!
What would you say is the overall message or the theme of this book?
The overall message is that there are many, many different kinds of love. It doesn’t fit into a box. People have different expectations on what a relationship and a marriage should be like, and no matter where you are in the world, ultimately we are all looking for love.
Tell me about the experience of writing this book; how long did it take.
I’ve actually only been asked this once before and even I find the answer to be quite shocking. I wrote Whispers from the East in under 90 days. Once I started, it just poured out of my soul.
Who is the protagonist of this story?
There are three women in this book who all share the role of protagonist, and they are Ammi, Carolyn, and Ivy. Ammi is the Pakistani mother of three sons, two of whom immigrate to America and eventually marry Carolyn and Ivy. The story is told from the point of view of each woman.
Who is the antagonist of this story?
The antagonists are misconception and miscommunication. All of the protagonists have their own internal battles to fight, and their inner struggles are the only antagonists in Whispers from the East. And those demons are fierce!
Where and when is this story taking place?
There are three distinctive time settings and three locations the stories take place. Ammi is a migrant in the 1947 Partition of India, so we see her move during that time from New Delhi, India to Lahore, Pakistan, where she raises her family. We then meet Carolyn in the 1970’s San Francisco Bay, followed by Ivy, in 1980’s Florida.
Who is your favorite character in this book?
Ammi is central in the story and, as their mother-in-law, in the lives of Carolyn and Ivy. She’s definitely the one who pulls at my heart strings the most.
Are there elements of your personality or life experiences in this book?
You know, it’s almost impossible to not have bits of yourself in what you write. Where Amie Ali is in Whispers from the East is in the scenery. I have traveled pretty extensively and that tends to translate onto the pages. It would be hard to write about a place I have never experienced first hand, but thankfully, I don’t have to!
What is one thing from this book you wish was real or could happen to you?
I wish I could buy canned chickpeas instead of uncooked, but my husband wouldn’t go for that!
Let’s say your book is being turned into a feature length film; quick- cast the main two characters and pick a theme song or score.
I have THREE main characters and I’d give them to: Mahira Khan (young Ammi), Amanda Seyfried (Carolyn), and Anna Kendrick (Ivy).
As for the score, I’d have to leave that in the expert hands of Hans Zimmer.
Do you have any special plans for this book in the near or far future?
While Whispers from the East is a stand alone and not the start of a series, I do have a tie-in to follow it that will be out next year. Exciting!
Okay readers, bloggers, geeks, and authors, that’s all for today. Be sure to follow this blog to see who will be visiting next time. To obtain your copy of Whispers from the East, a Reader’s Favorite, please visit the links provided.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords