Raising South Asian Voices

Cynthia Dettman:  Author

An Author Interview Webinar

Friends,

Please forgive my silence on this blog!  It’s been a pandemic.

I flew back from Chennai to the US on February 20, 2020 to be greeted by the rapidly growing Covid crisis in the US.  Also, I had already planned to move from one state to another, so I proceeded with that plan in spite of the pandemic!  It’s been a strange, bizarre, busy and sometimes joyful time.  Thankfully, we got Trump out of the White House.  Thankfully, the vaccines are (slowly) being administered.  And thankfully, I have relocated to a quiet little village in Southern Oregon where I can watch deer, geese, birds and swaying trees from my back porch.

My heart is broken, however, by the current state of Covid in India.  I can only pray that the pandemic slows soon, that the BJP and Modi lose power, and that a more humane administration helps to expand healthcare prevention and treatment services in India.

My novel has been on the back burner this year. But it’s on the front burner again!  I’m back to the serious topics in my novel-in-progress – the coming of age and coming out story of a young lesbian in Tamilnadu as she faces an honor killing in her family, police corruption, and pressures to accept a traditional marriage.

I was honored to discuss my book in February during a live webinar interview hosted by my former missionary boarding school in India!  We discussed the story, the very modern issues it raises, including women’s and gay rights, caste-related violence and police corruption.  We also tackled the thorny questions surrounding a white American writing an indigenous South Indian story.  Do I have the “right” to tell this story? All my characters are Indian.  Only one minor character has lived in the West.  A major character is an ayah, an outcaste. My parents were white Christian missionaries, albeit liberal ones.  What literary and ethical challenges does cross-cultural and cross-class storytelling raise, particularly in the context of India’s colonial history?

The interview was recorded but I won’t be publishing that until I finish editing it- the live interview is too long and there’s too much boarding school chit-chat before and after as the audience contained folks who attended my school.  I do hope to get a shorter, edited version on You Tube in the near future.  If you are not currently following this blog and would like to do so, please go to the left side of the blog home page and enter your email address. I want to hear your comments as the story progresses!

 

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