I get this question: "What inspired you to write this?" a lot. I cite a number of factors--my observation of conflict between immigrants and the family members they leave behind, stories that my husband told me about his childhood in India, my own position in his family as an “unsuitable bride”.
For VS Naipaul, "finding the centre" was paramount. For me, it’s the liminality of threshold that holds the most fascination, though my pale skin and blue eyes may brand me as one of ‘them’ writing about the ‘other.’
Several characters in my novel have divided loyalties. I constructed them using books, articles, imagination and personal experience. My desire to create the story focused on the search for home, cultural identity, and the reconciliation that ended the power struggle between mother and daughter-in-law. I wanted to convey the complexity that is at the heart of the momentous act of immigration, even the temporary, visiting type. These are my themes, and I keep returning to them.
How can I write about a community to which I do not truly belong? Perhaps, the answer is I can write about it because I do not truly belong. My handicap positions me neither behind a closed door, nor in the thick of things, but rather in the archway, a good place from which to observe. And a novel can be a conversation with an author's own divided heart.