Sunday, July 5, 2015

Interview with Amita Trasi, author of 'The Color of Our Sky'



Amita Trasi was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She has an MBA in Human Resource Management and has worked with various International corporations for seven years. She currently lives in Houston with her husband and two cats. The Color of Our Sky is her first novel.  

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About the Book:

A sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends—one struggling to survive the human slave trade and the other on a mission to save her—two girls whose lives converge only to change one fateful night in 1993.

India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old girl from the lower caste Yellamma cult of temple prostitutes has come of age to fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute. In an attempt to escape this legacy that binds her, Mukta is transported to a foster family in Bombay. There she discovers a friend in the high spirited eight-year-old Tara, the tomboyish daughter of the family, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to a different world—ice cream and sweets, poems and stories, and a friendship the likes of which she has never experienced before. In 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s room. 

Eleven years later, Tara who blames herself for what happened, embarks on an emotional journey to search for the kidnapped Mukta only to uncover long buried secrets in her own family.
Moving from a remote village in India to the bustling metropolis of Bombay, to Los Angeles and back again, amidst the brutal world of human trafficking, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and redemption—which ultimately withstands the true test of time.

For More Information

  • The Color of Our Sky is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Read Chapter One here.

Thanks for joining us at the book club, Amita.  I’d like to start off by asking you when the writing bug hit? 

Amita: Thanks for having me here!  I think the writing bug bit me a long time ago. As a kid, I used to love telling stories. It was my grandfather who encouraged me early on to make up stories and narrate them to friends and family. When I was a teen, I maintained a daily journal. Writing a journal got me through a very tumultuous time in my life. As for fiction, I like to see the opportunity for ideas in life itself. A casual encounter with any person, a simple event, a brush with nature— just a strand of daily life is enough to prompt me to write.

Being a debut author, how does it feel to finally see your book with your name on the cover?

Amita: I am so excited! This book has been my baby for the last four years, and I am so happy to see it go out into the world and find its destiny.

The Color of Our Sky has such a sensitive plot which involves human trafficking.  Is this a subject you’ve wanted to write about for awhile?

Amita:  When I set out to write this novel, I only ever intended to write about the friendship between two girls—Tara who has a privileged upbringing like many girls in India’s cities and Mukta, a poor village girl who doesn’t really land the luck of the draw. Initially I hadn’t imagined that Mukta would be born in a family of temple prostitutes. But as I wrote, the characters took on a life of their own and it took me to places that I honestly didn’t think I would ever research or write about.
I always knew that there were women in India, especially in the poorer sections of society, who were exploited and pulled into the human trafficking trade. There are so many girls like Mukta who are sacrificed at the altar of Devdasi traditions that still torment some villages in India (even though there is a law against it.) This, I think, is common knowledge for anyone coming from India but Mukta took me to a place in my own heart that I never thought existed.  So for me, this novel has been an emotional ride. Writing about pain is one of the most difficult things to do and I hope I have done it some justice.

Can you tell us a little about Mukta?

Amita: As a child, Mukta is a quiet and peaceful kid who keeps to herself, mostly because she doesn’t have any friends in the village. She is completely in love with nature and finds joy in the little things. She yearns to understand the world around her but mostly she yearns to know and meet her father who she has never seen. By nature, she is docile and subdued and is surprised to see Tara’s rebellious spirit when they first meet.

I’d like to add that Mukta as a character is very close to my heart because she reminds me of Shakuntala, the daughter of a servant who worked for my family in Mumbai, India (where I was born and brought up.) Shakuntala and I were never really friends. In many ways, I imagine the construction of Tara and Mukta’s friendship is what our friendship would have looked like in another world.
If you’d like to know more about the story behind the novel or some of the true events that inspired the novel, visit my website http://www.amitatrasi.com/the-story-behind

Your story is also about the friendship between Mukta and Tara – the 8 year old who befriended Mukta.  Can you tell us a little about her?

 Amita: As an 8 year old, Tara is the bold, tomboyish daughter of the family which fosters Mukta. She doesn’t care a hoot about what society thinks of how a girl should behave, and so she forms a sharp contrast to Mukta’s subdued and frightened self. And yet, they become perfect companions. Tara inspires Mukta to come out of her shell and explore life. And the 10 year old Mukta whose world has been broken by all the adults around her, finds solace in an eight year old.

 They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down.  What’s one of yours?

Amita: I think the pivotal point is when thirteen year old Tara betrays Mukta to commit a crime. I will leave it to the reader to find out how and why she betrays Mukta and how the repercussions reverberate for years to come.

 What’s next for you, Amita?

Amita: I am working on my second novel—a love story set in a time of great conflict. Wish me luck!

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