Ten Interview Questions for the The Next Big Thing

What is the Next Big Thing? The Next Big Thing Blog Hop is a chance for authors around the world to tell you what they’re working on. Authors answer 10 questions about their next book, and tags the person who first tagged them, plus at least 5 other authors. Many thanks to three of my colleagues who tagged me for this project: Christine Stewart, Jen Michalski, and Karin Davidson.

Below are my answers:

What is the working title of your book?
Working title is generic: Sikhi Holocaust book. The true title will come from the text, and from the Mul Mantar, the Sikh book of common prayer. Each chapter is named for a phrase or a line from this book.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I wrote one short story with a Sikh character after the 9-11 terror attacks and that one story led to others. When I learned about the Sikh Holocaust in 1984, the irony struck me that people fled their motherland for a peaceful life of religious freedom in the US only to be attacked for their turbans–one of their five articles of faith–in the US, the land that prides itself on its freedoms, particularly its religious freedom.

What genre does your book fall under?
Literary fiction

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? (post pics)
I think one of the actors would be the Indian actor Jon Abraham–I think that’s his name. I did not think about actors and actresses—don’t know enough about Indian actors and actresses to pick anyone specific. Attached is Jon Abraham. I probably have his name wrong but this is who I am envisioning for the Amritpreet character (Tej’s oldest grandson in the US)who is a recovering heroin addict in Baltimore.

John Abraham would make a good Qurban or Amritpreet.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Tej Kaur, a 78-year old survivor of the 1984 Sikh Holocaust who had marshaled her resources to send her younger son and his family–also Holocaust survivors– to safety in the US, battles an encroaching drug market threatening to ruin her tidy neighborhood, while her son and two grandsons struggle to retain their cultural identity as turban-wearing Sikhs and make a place for themselves in post-911 United States, where they and the Sikh communities nationwide face increasing hostilities due to their appearance.

When I think of Tej  I think of Zohra:

When I think of Tej, I think of Zohra, except Tej has striking green eyes!

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I hope by an agency and a publisher with ties to US, Canada and India.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
This is a work in progress, although two chapters have been published in Canada and India. I’ve been working on it already for three or four years. I do other things in between–such a review forthcoming novels, write other short stories, etc. but have given myself a deadline of Dec. 2013 for a completed 300 pg manuscript.

One of the published chapters is titled “Everything Is Yours,” and the other is “Let Your Mind Be.”

They can be found under the fiction tab of www.sikhchic.com and also in South Asian Ensemble, a Canadian quarterly. I’ve also posted them to my website.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I don’t know. It is hard to compare one vision to another vision. I hope it is unique. It is set in both Delhi, other parts of India and Baltimore. Anything by Shauna Singh Baldwin maybe. Trinity, Leon Uris. I hope to hit the high notes of those two authors and also Andre Dubus III’s work.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The research from having written the first short story, “Nine Twelve,” when I started reading about the 1984 Holocaust and about Sikhs, and then realized that my character could have escaped the Holocaust only to be killed by ignorance in the US. The murders of Sikhs in California and now recently in Wisconsin spurs me to continue what is a difficult project for me, being an outsider, and having to teach myself not only about Sikh tenets but also the history of India from 1937 to the present. I’ve been ordering lots of non-fiction books from Amazon UK.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Stellar writing.

Thank you to Christine Stewart, Jen Michalski, and Karin Davidson, all who tagged me in this Next Big Thing Blog. Their websites with their responses are listed above.