Friday, July 23, 2010

Shiva's Arms - Blog Tour Stops Here Today!

Take a moment to read through my interview with author, Cheryl Snell and also my review of her book, Shiva's Arms.

Have a question for Ms. Snell? Feel free to leave it in the comment section of this blog spot and Ms. Snell with answer them for you.


Hello Ms. Snell;

Tell us a bit about yourself - I am a classical pianist married to a mathematical engineering professor. We've lived in Washington DC for nearly 30 years now. I published my first book at 51. Nine other books have followed, alongside many journal publications of my poems, fiction, and book reviews.

Did you always want to be a writer? I always loved words. I was a serious reader from a very young age, and wrote for my own amusement. But my career as a pianist was all-consuming, and there was no room for a second one until recently.

Shiva's Arms was a very poignant book - why this subject? I'd been reading Indian novelists, and was struck by their depictions of samsara, the "householder" stage. The term haunted me for awhile, the sibilance of a word that can connote drowning. I'd always been drawn to stories of immigrant families thrashing in their domestic seas. The plight of characters who straddle two continents, the lives they make here, and the families they leave behind, raised the question when one belongs to two cultures, which part of a divided self goes, and what stays? I thought it would be interesting to pit an American believer in individual freedom against a traditional Indian joint-family, headed by the ultimate Amma. And I also thought the complexity of the culture would lend itself to the devices used in literary fiction.

Do you have any direct link to this subject? I'm an American married to a very non-traditional Hindu Brahmin.

Was it difficult to write about this culture, weaving the words and phrasing in aswell? How much research did you have to do? It was very difficult, but I had already immersed myself in the culture to gain a better understanding of my husband, whom I found fascinating of course. I read the books, mastered the cuisine, parsed the customs, celebrated the festivals. But my observation of conflict between immigrants and the family members they leave behind was the most crucial research in molding a story about divided loyalties and the search for home.

What's your next project? Anything you can let us in on? I'm collaborating on another art and poetry book with my sister Janet Snell. There's another novel in the works, and my micro press is preparing to release the second edition of Nanette Rayman Rivera's memoir.

Anything else you'd like to add? I'd love it if your readers would take a good look at my blog,

There is a trailer, an excerpt read by me, and lots of links to all things Shiva.

Thanks so much for your time :)

Thank you for yours!

Okay folks, now let's get Ms. Snell busy with your awesome questions!


Cheryl Snell said...

Good morning! I'm happy to be with you at the cafe today, and I'm feeling chatty, so ask me anything!

nanette said...

Hi Cheryl,

How are you? I have a nosy question...what are some of the things that your husband thinks are odd or funny about America? Also, I'd like tell Imagination Cafe's readers how much I enjoyed your book, Shiva's Arms and how I've introduced curry into our dinner menus now.


Cheryl Snell said...

Hi, Nanette -
Well, he thinks I'm pretty funny, and occasionally odd! He's been here for a few decades now, so nothing much surprises him, but as a new grad student, he noticed that Americans use a lot of sound effects to illustrate their point. "And he was all, like, [explosion]over it!"
And all the hugging surprised him. Brahmin men are not usually touched by anyone other than their wives, and lately everyone's been kissing both cheeks too. What to do? as Amma would say.

Donna M. McDine said...

Fantastic interview! Cheryl, what have you found to be the best marketing tool so far?


nanette said...

Hi Cheryl,

Wow. That's so true - Americans do use sound effects for words...

"What to do?" yes!

I like Donna's question too.


Cheryl Snell said...

Hello, Dionna -

My blog is home base, and an essential tool. It provides a backdrop of South Indian life for my readers, and a billboard for my credentials.

Facebook has been good to me also. The immediacy of the interactions and the sense of community balances the solitariness of writing.

I use other social media too,like Twitter, Red Room, YouTube, and Good Reads, but I don't think grazing at too many places is useful, and each of these organizations demands time.

The conventional wisdom has it that it takes 10 passes of your message to sink into a reader's consciousness. That's up from 7! Our work is cut out for us...

Imagination-Cafe Magazine said...

Thank you Cheryl for taking the time to stop by Imagination-Cafe blog, we really appreciate it!

Best of luck with the rest of your tour :)

Sandie lee

Post a Comment

Check Out All the Fun We're Having

Here's Some...

Here's Some...
Sign up for our FREE monthly newsletter - The Cafe Buzz at;