Divya sent me a copy of her book for an honest review. I liked it. The premise hit home for me: the challenges women still face in the 21st century.
My page-turner check marks go to ✓Writing and ✓Premise.
About the book
Robert Brown, a movie star, is abducted for ransom in a strange country and Lisa, an ordinary girl, is the unintended, unwanted abductee. They develop a beautiful relationship during the ordeal but later, struggle to keep under wraps a terrible secret. Will love survive?
I really liked Divya’s writing. It has rhythm, cadence and an authenticity that made my soul smile. The story arc was also interesting and engaging.
I’m not sure why “Of Love and Distance” is categorized as contemporary romance. There is a love story but I think the it is secondary to the social content of the book. “Of Love and Distance” offers a candid view of the cultural taboos that still afflict women around the world and how these prejudices get in the way of women and their children getting the support they need.
I was outraged with the way Lisa’s family and community treated her for being the victim of a crime.
“Your mom told you what?”
“To stay away from you.”
“And why is that?”
“Because you are not a good person.” He ran away.”
“In India, they don’t tell you the sex of the baby before it is born. Many people tend to abort girls.”
This book goes to my XXFactor [Girl Power!] page for its message to girls and women not to give in to social and cultural pressure and to stand up up for their rights.
I commend Divya for daring to write this book!
About the author
Divya Jyoti Randev was born in India. She started writing this story in 2011 when her beloved dog was paralysed and she needed something to divert her mind. She is an assistant professor of journalism, a freelance writer and an off-and-on fashion blogger.
Since she learned the alphabet, reading interested her. She is a great fan of P.G. Wodehouse and J. M. Coetzee.
She has a Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. In between teaching Journalism, managing her fashion blog, and taking care of animals in and around the house, she loves to pen her thoughts down in her beloved journal. ‘Of Love and Distance’ is her first book.
D: Please tell us about yourself and your writing career
DJ: I am an Assistant Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication. As a child, I loved reading, something that helped me develop writing skills that I later put to good use during my short stints as a freelance journalist, instructional designer and copy editor.
Of Love and Distance is my debut novel.
D: What do you enjoy more? Writing fiction, journalism, freelance writing or blogging.
DJ: I love them all but fiction writing is my favourite. You have the power to create stories and make characters come alive on paper. You are like the puppet master creating and manipulating characters’ destinies.
D: Please tell us about the journey to publish Of Love and Distance.
DJ: I came up with the idea in 2011. My dog had been paralysed and I needed a window to let out my grief. I wrote quite a bit in those few weeks but got busy in office work later. Four years later, I decided I wanted to complete the novel and get published.
D: Please tell us about the team behind it?
I was the one-man (or rather, woman) team!
D: What inspired Of Love and Distance and its characters?
The story actually came to me in a dream. I knew I had to pen it down quickly before it faded from my memory. That is exactly what I did. Of course, it was only later that I created other characters and sub plots to create an entire novel. There are quite a few things that were inspired from my life, such as Lisa’s childhood escapades.
D: In what way your beloved dog illness influenced the story?
DJ: Grief is a powerful tool. It can give you the strength and motivation to do things that you never thought you were capable of. I don’t think I had to do much. My grief became Lisa’s grief and struggle and words flowed freely.
D: Of Love and Distance‘s premise hit home for me. I can’t believe women still face this kind of prejudice and discrimination in the 21st century! Have you or a loved one personally experienced something like this?
DJ: I don’t personally know anyone who has faced this first hand. Our culture is rich and vibrant but also has its flaws. Though things are changing rapidly, India is largely a conservative society. Rural women are struggling to be considered equal to men though their urban counterparts are somewhat better off.
D: What would be your advice to women and girls facing similar challenges?
DJ: I would want them to have the courage to speak up.
D: Any advice for aspiring authors?
DJ: Start writing today. We keep postponing things and never get around to doing them. Self-motivation is the key.
D: I think you have a promising career as an author. What are you working on now?
DJ: I am presently doing my Ph.D. and that takes up most of time. I hope to come up with something new very soon.
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