Updated: May 6, 2021
Note from P.G's Storybook Emporium: When I first signed up for this blog tour, I didn't know what I was doing. I had never even heard of Blog Tours, so I singed up for a number of "events" thinking that I may not be able to do them all. Thankfully, I do get to do them all! I got to read the book and review it for you (you can read that here) and later I'll even be sharing excerpts for you! The following, however, is a fun and insightful post written by Mrs. Singh herself! Beware, the last two paragraphs do hold some spoilers! Please enjoy!
Tell us little bit about yourself-you are, your writing process.
Born in 1976 in 1976 to Sikh converts in Orlando, I was sent-along with about 100 others in our little community- to boarding school in India. think Hogwarts, but moldier, with less supervision, more ghosts and no boys.
Left pretty much to my own devices, i missed the stories my mother would tell me every tnight and discovered reading books thrown aside by the older girls-mostly bulging-with-water damage Stephen King novels-writing plays I forced my friends to act in, and generally making stuff up, and that was the beginning of my obsession with reading a story.
But it wasn't until I grew up enough to no longer fear failure-36- that I finally began to write my first novel, inspired by the great YA writers of our day, who proved to me that anything is possible.
As far as my writing process goes, I like to outline in notebooks until each chapter is fairly detailed and planned out-and then start typing. That's pretty much it! I write every day, try to remain disciplined, and keep to the habit of writing at the same times in the same places and repeat until the book is done.
Can you share some behind the scenes stories about the inspiration for Exiled to Freedom an your experience writing it?
All my life I'd heard stories about Partition, even marrying a man who's grandparents on both sides lived through it-his mother's parents fleeing Pakistan soon after their marriage, and his father's father offering shelter and safety to more then 200 Muslim refugees in our village near Partiala- but my friend Parnita had grown up demanding her grandmother tell her every detail of her story, and it wasn't until she shared it with me that I finally went, "This! Someone should write this!"
I had the privileged of meeting Parnita's grandmother before she died, but it would be years and there urban fantasy books before Parnita and I would sit down to go over the outline for Exiled to Freedom together, with Parnita approving and rejecting my ideas, and calling her mother-and her mother's brothers and sisters- to fill in details as I asked questions about everything from bathroom facilities to shoes to hours to horses and Kilometers and where they stopped along the way.
Visiting her family in Punjab about ten years ago, I shared the idea of digging up the gold they'd buried (where it still remains, hidden beneath a new apartment complex in Pakistan) and giving it to the descendants of the men who saved them on the train- but they only laughed.
I still think it would make an epic end to their story, even if it's crazy and impossible. Maybe that's why we love fiction. Or maybe someday it'll actually happen. Who knows, right?