Raising South Asian Voices

Cynthia Dettman:  Author

Novel Research- what a challenging adventure!

It’s very interesting to draft a novel and THEN do a lot of research to support the story’s plausibility and authenticity, especially a cross-cultural novel.  I’m beginning to really admire the novelists who do tons of research for their stories-  I haven’t understood how challenging it is.

Here I am in India, a place somewhat familiar to me as my childhood home.  And I have spent considerable recent time here, decades later, achieving some grasp of modern realities in India.  But as I launch into the thousands of questions I need to address, I feel overwhelmed and rather an imposter.

Asking a lot of questions and taking photos can come across as intrusive.

What are my topic areas of India enquiry?  Well, just to name a few:

  • criminal procedures in the case of suicide
  • death/cremation procedures in the case of suicide
  • law education
  • caste- what are the likely dynamics of an honour killing in modern Tamilnadu?
  • the likely exposure a young, lower-middle class woman would have to LGBT information and to folks who might support her as she struggles with being a lesbian (internet?  advocacy groups?)
  • the layout of Chennai, a sprawling city of 8 million, trying to locate a neighborhood where my protagonist could realistically live and commute to the specific law school I want her to attend, and do regular long distance running

Good luck, Cynthia!

2 Comments

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I am enjoying your blog posts. While it all sounds very challenging, you will surely come away from this experience with a wealth of images and accurate information to enrich your novel. I wish you all the best!

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