Monday, 14 May 2018

BLOG TOUR: Q&A with Savita Kalhan, author of The Girl in the Broken Mirror

Hello, fellow bookworms! Today I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for The Girl in the Broken Mirror with a Q&A from the writer herself, Savita Kalhan!

Hi Katie, thank you so much for inviting me here on your blog today! It’s so exciting having The Girl in the Broken Mirror out in the world – and then taking it on a blog tour with amazing bloggers like you!

Hi, Savita! Can you tell us a little bit about your novel, The Girl in the Broken Mirror?
The Girl in the Broken Mirror is about a Jay, 15 year old British Asian girl, who goes from riches to rags, and from a liberal home to a super-strict traditional Indian home where she struggles to fit in. Then she is brutally assaulted by a relative and her life implodes. It’s a story of love and loss, of a girl and her mother, of guilt, of betrayal, but ultimately it’s a story of hope and where help can be found even in the darkest moments of life.

Jay is such an interesting character who faces a lot of tough situations, what was it that inspired you to write her story?
In many ways, I was like Jay. Without going into details, I faced a few of the tough situations in my life that Jay faces in the book. This was a story that I had never read when I was growing up. I didn’t even know of any British Asian writers, and kids like me never saw ourselves in books. I didn’t know that the struggle I was going through was not unique to me – and I’m not just talking about the culture clash, which is a big enough subject on its own.

There is also that issue of male patriarchy, which exists in many communities, where boys and men are considered to be better than girls and women. Growing up thinking in that way, whether you are a boy or a girl, is not the way forward.

All of these reasons made me want to write Jay’s story for YA readers.

The Girl in the Broken Mirror deals with some very serious topics, what sort of research did you do when preparing to write the story?
Some books require lots of research. This book required very little. I had the background for almost all the story. With the #metoo and #timesup movement, it’s so easy, and horrifying, to find the rape and sexual assault stats. It was really important to me to add the names of all the charities and help lines who can help anyone facing the things that Jay goes through. I don’t want girls going through difficult situations to think they are alone – and it doesn’t matter which community they come from, I’m talking about ALL girls.

Why do think Jay's story needed to be told?
It’s a story that hasn’t been told before. In fact there are very few YA stories that deal with the rape or sexual assault. Anne Cassidy’s No Virgin and Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It are pretty much the only two in UKYA. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was the first book I read about rape – it’s an incredibly moving book and I highly recommend it. As for a story with a young British Asian girl as the protagonist, there were none.


What was the most difficult part of the writing process for you, and what was the most rewarding?
The Girl in the Broken Mirror was probably the hardest book I’ve ever written. To write about the themes that are in the book without being graphic, without being sensationalist or insincere, or overly sentimental, was hard. Finding the right title of the story was difficult too – there were several working titles before I found the right one for the book.

The most rewarding part of the writing process was the final edit and the feedback – that was SO incredibly rewarding!

Finally, what do you hope readers will take away from your story?
I hope it helps readers understand the struggle some teens face living with two cultures – one at home and the other outside.

The culture clash struggle is not just confined to Asian kids growing up in two cultures – it’s about all teens facing clashes of conflicting views, ideas, opinions with a different generation. Understanding what it is can help in some way in dealing with it.

I would like boys to read the book too as it’s so important for them to know the boundaries, recognise the consequences, the repercussions and the terrible pain of the trauma someone like Jay goes through.

Ultimately, I want readers to take hope with them at the end of the story. There is always hope.

Thanks so much for having me here, Katie! If your readers want to know anything more about me or The Girl in the Broken Mirror, here’s my website www.savitakalhan.com, or I’m always happy to chat on Twitter @savitakalhan

A huge thank you to the lovely Savita for stopping by! My review of this powerful story will be posted very soon. Be sure to check out the rest of the wonderful blogs taking part in the tour:

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