Exiled to Freedom By SGD Singh *An Interview with S G D Singh; find out what inspired her to write her stories -- Excerpt -- Giveaway***
This is my stop during the blog tour for Exiled to Freedom by SGD Singh. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 12 till 25 August. See the tour schedule here.
Exiled to Freedom
By SGD Singh
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Contemporary
Age category: Young Adult
Seventeen year old Joti lives a peaceful life on her ancestral farm in Punjab, far from political turmoil, foreign wars, and the struggle for independence. Until the summer of 1947, when her country is suddenly partitioned to create two sovereign nations—Pakistan and India.
Punjab erupts into a shattered land of nightmares, torn apart by death and destruction. Before the violence subsides, millions of people will have lost their lives and Joti will find herself amongst the countless refugees fighting to survive one of the greatest tragedies of the modern era.
In the summer of 2018, seventeen year old Priya travels from her home in New York City to her great grandmother’s farm in Punjab. Searching for meaning in her materialistic and shallow existence, she becomes determined to uncover the mysteries of the past and heal her family’s wounds, left too long unattended.
Priya soon finds herself on an adventure of discovery, learning what it is to love and what it means to know true peace.
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An Interview with the Author
S G D Singh
Welcome to JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder. We’re excited to be showcasing Exiled To Freedom today. Is it a new release?
Exiled to Freedom was released April 28th, 2018.
Please tell us a little bit about it?
This story is attempt to introduce young readers outside of India to the events of India’s Partition of 1947 and how the tragedies of those days affected families in Punjab at the time.
What inspired you to write it?
My husband’s grandparents lived through Partition—his father’s parents in Punjab, and his mother’s parents fleeing Pakistan soon after their marriage—but it wasn’t until my friend Parnita shared her grandmother’s heart-wrenching story with me that it struck me that this particular story needed to be told. With a few exceptions and additions of other’s experiences, this is her story.
There have been so many people displaced over the years for many different reasons. Is this issue close to your heart?
Getting to know and connect face-to-face with people who have actually experienced displacement makes a huge difference, and I had the great privilege of meeting the woman Joti is base off of—as well as Parnita’s mother, who was only one day old when her family had to leave their home, her first memories being those of suffering in a refugee camp. Almost everyone you meet in Punjab can tell you stories of their or their relative’s tragedies, so yes, this issue is definitely close to my heart. But more than that, as a Sikh the tragedy hits home for us, leaving so many of our beloved historic places on the other side of the border, so many of our brothers and sisters slaughtered. That being said, there is so much for all of us to learn about every one of our human tragedies from places all over the globe.
Can you share a short excerpt from Priya’s great grandmother Joti’s part of the story?
Sure! The passage at the end of Chapter 19—As a little kid, Parnita would demand her grandmother tell her stories about Partition, and the first thing she always said she remembered was the sound of women singing. I like to imagine her family holding onto that.
From that day forward, through all the hardship of living like wretched animals, through the pain of hunger, the afflictions of sickness, through the cold, and the filth, my mother always made sure each and every day, to bring song back into our lives.
And little by little, the other women joined in too, until I could close my eyes and almost feel as if I’d been transported back home again.
Titles and names of characters are always interesting. How did you choose yours?
Obviously, the names had to be Punjabi—Sikh names mostly—so that made it fairly easy. From there, I tried to choose words that U.S. readers wouldn’t find too challenging visually, words that wouldn’t irritate the reader, plus names that aren’t too similar to each other. Additionally, I chose names that have meanings that go along with the characters as much as possible.
What do you hope readers learn or receive from this story?
I hope readers are inspired to learn more about India’s rich history and culture—and feel a deeper connection to our human family.
What authors have inspired you over the years, and what is it that drew you to them?
So many authors have inspired me over the years! Starting with Stephen King when I was 8, skipping class to read his books in boarding school in India. He has such an awesome way of making the impossible, the magical, the horrifying seem real! I was an ancient fifteen when I finally discovered classic literature, and I was blown away by so many mindbogglingly talented writers—Shakespeare’s utter perfection! Dostoevsky’s ability to weave faith into a story was so inspiring! Dumas is a true master storyteller! Dickens, Twain, Stoker! Oscar Wilde’s genius! Tolstoy and Maugham blew me away with their beautiful and heartbreaking depictions of the human condition. And how did Emily Brontë bring to life so flawlessly the feeling of a fevered nightmare in Wuthering Heights? And Stevenson! My God, he could tell a story so flawlessly! Don’t even get me started on Zola, there’s no time. And Jane Austen! Brilliance personified! The list goes on and on—and there are so many masterpieces I still haven’t read! Mystery is one of my great loves, Christie to Connelly, Child to Morgan! There are too many to name! Hilarious writers like Wodehouse, Stout! So much love for all of their work—it would take me all day to list my favorites!
But it was the fantabulous YA writers of today who inspired me to stop dreaming of writing and actually do it myself though. Brilliant women like Laini Taylor, Leigh Bardugo, Maggie Stiefvater, Jandy Nelson and so many others showed me that anything really is possible.
Thank you so much for joining us. Good luck with Exiled to Freedom.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read my work. I appreciate it more than words could ever describe!
About the Author:
SiriGuruDev Singh lives in New Mexico and Punjab, India with her husband, two daughters, and various extended relatives and animals. She is the author of the YA urban fantasy trilogy The Infernal Guard and Exiled To Freedom, a YA historical fiction novel about India’s bloody Partition of 1947.
You can find and contact SGD Singh here:
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Exiled to Freedom. There will be 5 winners who all win a signed copy of Exiled to Freedom. Open International.
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