Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Walk in the World of Island Girls’ Culture

The Other Side available HERE
By Zee Monodee

Hello beautiful people! 
I am delighted to be here today. Book 1 of my Island Girls trilogy, The Other Side, released officially yesterday, and I am still hopping around like a happy bunny on steroids (yes, the Duracell bunny will also do!). 
The Other Side is also the first story I ever wrote, my dive into the world of writing. The year was 2005; as a rabid bookholic, I had just finished the epic, 1000+ page novel by Vikram Seth, A Suitable Boy. On the backdrop of politics and the partition of India in 1947, Vikram Seth penned a sweeping family saga complete with overwhelming mother, aunties, busybodies, and other such society drama. Never mind that this story took place in the 1940s; the Indian culture resonated with me because even in the twenty-first century, I—and every other girl of Indian origins the world over!—were facing the same kind of gossip and meddling. 
But something was missing for me—the island flavour that Mauritius could bring. Mr. Seth wrote about his country; I wanted to write about mine, to share what the world I lived in was like. 
I set out to write a magnum opus. At the time, I was studying for my degree while my son was a toddler, figuring I’d be going back to the world of corporate work once he’d be into school. Writing was a hobby, something I’d wanted to do all my life, but thought it was a dream I’d reach for one day. 
Then one day came by, in the form of a breast cancer diagnosis. Forget about going back to corporate—the treatments had me knocked out and I couldn’t hope to get back in top shape any time soon. My focus was on getting better...and also on living, because I’d just had the wakeup call that life can end anytime, and so, as my husband made me see, one day is right now. You can go after your dreams right now; nothing’s stopping you! 
So this is how I started writing this story, aiming for it to be along the same lines as Vikram Seth’s super novel. 
But it turned out I was also a romance junkie who loved her category-style romances, and also the drama of Bollywood storylines and Zee TV soap operas. What can I say? I was fluffy and I knew it...and so, couldn’t pen a literary read. The focus shifted to the romance, the comedy, the lightness aspect of popular romance.... 
Once I made my peace with this I am fluffy notion, I haven’t looked back!

Today, I present to you the first story that sprang from my mind. Yes, there’s been a lot of rewrites along the way, but basically, this is the tale I wanted the world to witness. When the Ubuntu line rolled out at Decadent Publishing, I just knew this book – and it’s accompanying series – would be perfect to showcase ‘my’ version of Africa in Mauritius. 
I hope you’ll take a chance on The Other Side and its couple, Lara & Eric.

Divorce paints a scarlet letter on her back when she returns to the culture-driven society of Mauritius. This same spotlight shines as a beacon of hope for the man who never stopped loving her. Can the second time around be the right one for these former teenage sweethearts?
Indian-origin Lara Reddy left London after her husband dumps her for a more accommodating uterus—at least, that’s what his desertion feels like. Bumping into him and his pregnant new missus doesn’t help matters any, and she thus jumps on a prestigious job offer. The kicker? The job is in Mauritius, the homeland of her parents, and a society she ran away from over a decade earlier.
But once there, Lara has no escape. Not from the gossip, the contempt, the harassing matchmaking...and certainly not from the man she hoped never to meet again. The boy she’d loved and lost—white Mauritian native, Eric Marivaux.
Back when they were teens, Eric left her, and Lara vowed she’d never let herself be hurt again. Today, they are both adults, and facing the same crossroads they’d stood at so many years earlier.

Lara now stands on the other side of Mauritian society. Will this be the impetus she needs to take a chance on Eric and love again?


Jessica E. Subject said...

Zee, I love this story, and I'm so glad it's out there now for the rest of the world to read. Congrats! :)

Zee Monodee said...

Thanks, Jessica! Your words mean a lot to me :) <3 xoxo

Kiru Taye said...

Inspiring, Zee!

Zee Monodee said...

Thanks, Kiru! xoxo

Barbara Elsborg said...

It's strange isn't it, how you might want to write something different but you're drawn back to what you're most comfortable with. Every time I try to lose the humour, I struggle. Congrats on your release!