Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The collision of two worlds - Whispers From the East by Amie Ali

Ammi, a pregnant 24-year-old, flees New Delhi with millions of Muslim migrants in the early hours of the 1947 Partition of India, clawing her way through a controversial caste system and into the heart of Lahori society. 


Ammi, a pregnant 24-year-old, flees New Delhi with millions of Muslim migrants in the early hours of the 1947 Partition of India, clawing her way through a controversial caste system and into the heart of Lahori society. 

A family broken by betrayal.

Two of Ammi's beloved sons immigrate to the United States and secretly marry dazzling, contemporary American brides. One bride converts to Islam. The other commits apostasy, the sin of all sins. 

Three women who stand to lose everything.

The collision of two belief systems—two worlds—come to a head as Ammi, Carolyn, and Ivy fight to keep their own marriages, families, and futures secure.


When it comes to making sure a book is relatable to readers, an author has to turn their attention to everyday life scenarios. From the mundane to the insane, if you want to captivate a reader and make your story and characters come to life, a writer cannot take short-cuts. I write stories about women in interracial and interfaith relationships, and the crossing of culture, tradition, and religion always—ALWAYS—finds its way into the bedroom. It's inevitable when you have two people who are born worlds apart, they might not jive right out of the gate. Whispers from the East has a heat factor of about 2 on a 1-10 scale, but the little sizzle it summons still required me to learn this element of the writing craft. 

Here are the five biggest things that helped me bring realistic passion to my pages. 

1. Keep it real. 
Everyone says this about virtually everything, but when it comes to writing it is especially important. The reality is, most people don't speak in clich├ęs while in the throws of passion. Seriously. Have you ever had someone ask, "Are you ready for my torpedo?" 

Good fiction will draw you out of real life and place you somewhere you might not normally go, so I'm not saying to keep it all vanilla. Take it as far as you are comfortable going…just don't make it cheesy. Be bold. Be fun. Be crazy. But in doing all that, keep it real. 

2. Don't use scientifically accurate names for intimate body parts. 
If you are unable to come up with clever synonyms, Google is the pal that never disappoints. If your issue isn't coming up with the words, but an actual discomfort in using any words you didn't learn in health-class, you should leave the scenes out altogether. Whatever you decide, make sure it doesn't include the line, "Is your vulva ready for my torpedo?" 

3. Employ all the senses. 
Description is key to any story, and when writing about passion the act is usually less important than a readers' connection to it. Sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste are the characterizations that matter most. A warm, velvety breath against a flushed collarbone. The gentle brush of fingertips down a quivering jaw line. When you are able to tap into all of the senses, the rest tend to fall naturally into place. 

4. Don’t be afraid to get silly. 
Passion can be fun! Who said it always has to be serious—even in a serious book? Sometimes we laugh, sometimes it's awkward, and sometimes we think about how we really need to do the laundry. This gets back to keeping it real. There's nothing wrong with injecting a wee bit of malarkey into your prose. If it suits your characters, it will likely suit your story as well. 

5. Keep writing. 
No matter what, always remember you have a whole story to tell and love scenes are just a small part of that. Keep writing. Even the most provocative romance novels have only a couple of detailed encounters. You might not have noticed, but if you go and count there is usually around four: the "discovery" kiss, the first real encounter, a second encounter, and a finale. All good books have a story to tell and it is important that you make that come to life. If you are struggling with a passionate scene, skip over it until you know your characters better. But whatever you do—keep writing.

About the author:
Amie Ali's stories focus on the lives of Western women who find love among the cultural breadth of Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian countries. Weaving western expectations of love and family with extensive cultural and religious differences, she enjoys writing stories that bridge divides and offer a peek into these diverse, often controversial relationships.

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