As part of the blog tour for East of India I am delighted to welcome Erica Brown, who has kindly agreed to an interview to celebrate her wonderful book.
Erica Brown is the pseudonym of a very successful author of women’s fiction and crime. She lives in Bath and has one daughter and twin grandchildren one of whom is dead set on becoming a writer.
What motivated you to become an author?
I had always been a story teller, but if you have a family and a mortgage to pay you always opt for getting paid as quickly as possible. So it wasn’t until I was unemployed and just about homeless that I began using my story telling skill to write novels and was published about 14 months later.
How did you come up with the idea for East of India?
One of my favourite books was A Town Like Alice. Another was Memoirs of a Geisha and another was Black Narcissus. These and my fascination with India and the far east combined to tell the story of a mixed race girl, a mixed race love affair and how war can affect people with divided loyalties.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
Organically. I never plan things out. I have a vague idea and write the first draft as a template. Both the characters and the plot strengthen as the story evolves.
Where is your favourite place to write?
I haven’t really got one. A friend of mine used to be a commissioning editor and is now copy editor to some very big names. She told me very specifically that the real storytellers don’t care where they are as long as they have a pen, pencil, a notepad – or even a scrap of paper – to hand. They can’t help but write.
What books have most influenced your life?
That is a very difficult question to answer. I have enjoyed many books and each and every one of them attempt to convey some kind of message. As far as East of India is concerned, my interest in that country began with The Far Pavilions.
Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
What lengths would you go to just to live another day, to survive at all costs and to find love in the darkest hours?
What are your future project(s)?
I am currently working on a number of projects, both historical, epic, a children’s novel/script and a fantasy novel. Quite a lot you may say, but there you are; I’m a natural born storyteller – I can’t help it.
Thank you Erica for this wonderful interview. Below is a link where you can go and buy this amazing book. My review of this book has also been posted today as part of the blog tour.
India, 1940. When Nadine learns that the Indian woman she thought her nanny is, in fact, her mother, she rebels against her English father and he arranges for Nadine to be wed to an Australian merchant many years older. She whisked off to his plantation in Malaya but as the Second World War rages throughout the East, Nadine is taken captive by the Japanese. She is held at a camp in Sumatra with other women and forced to provide sexual favours for the soldiers. In the most unlikely circumstances, Nadine finds an ally and protector in a Japanese-American general, caught up in the war. The two bond over the conflicted identities and gradually fall in love. But can Nadine survive long enough to find happiness?