Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Exclusive Interview with Rasana Atreya, Author of “Tell a Thousand Lies”

About this book: In a culture where skin color can determine one’s destiny, fraternal twins Pullamma and Lata are about to embark on a journey that will tear their lives apart. Dark-skinned Pullamma dreams of being a wife. She is aware that with three girls in the family, there isn’t enough dowry to go around. But a girl can hope. Fair-skinned and pretty Lata would rather study medicine. Unable to grasp the depth of Lata’s desire, Grandma formalizes a wedding alliance for the girl. Lata ends up poor, uneducated and married to a man she cannot abide. Pullamma, meanwhile, is living Lata’s dream -- she is rich, powerful, and married to a good man. The only hitch, from Pullamma’s point of view, is that she cannot acknowledge her husband in public. And, oh, the fact that superstitious villagers think she is Goddess. Tell a Thousand Lies is a sometimes wry, sometimes sad, but mostly realistic look at how superstition, and the color of a girl’s skin, rules India’s hinterlands.

What is this book about?

The book is a lot of things, actually. It is about the racism inherent in Indian society (though it is not thought to be an issue). It is about superstition, about women, about corruption in politics. I’ve tried to use humor to keep it from being a serious book.

How did you get the idea for this book?

Indian television is overrun with commercials from the manufacturers of skin lightening creams, called fairness creams in India, that promise everything from good grades to nirvana, if only you use their particular brand of product. Hence my tongue-in-cheek tagline for the book: Fairness Cream: Finding Solutions to Life’s Vexing Problems, One Application at a Time.

Is this your first book? If not, what else have you written?

The first that I have published, yes. But I do have another completed manuscript, and a couple more in various stages.

When did you start writing? Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

I quit my job in IT because my timings and kids didn’t go together. Writing had been my first love, so after I quit my 9-to-5 job, I went back to it.

Don’t be in a hurry to get your book out there. Polish your book till you can polish no more. Keep in mind that you get only one shot at a debut novel.

Why did you decide to write a book in this genre?

The commercials I talk about really bothered me though I am not a dark-skinned woman. Only recently it occurred to me that in our family, skin color was never an issue -- Dad was light-skinned, Mom was not. Never gave it a thought. For this reason I’m completely baffled by how color-obsessed we Indians are as a nation.

Do you plan a sequel or future books?

I do have a couple more books planned. Not sure of the sequence, or if one of them might be a sequel. Once I start writing, my characters take over, and I have no control over the storyline.

Do you have a website? How can we order this book?

http://ow.ly/9A83N [Amazon US]
http://ow.ly/9AJit [Amazon UK]
My website: http://rasanaatreya.com
My blog: http://rasanaatreya.wordpress.com
My video trailer: http://youtu.be/DMuo8cw0B1g


Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. All comments are moderated and will go live after approval.