A question I get asked a lot is: “Was the second book easier to write?” The answer is complicated.
Teatime for the Fireflymy first novelslipped out easily into the world. I wrote it in my own sweet time: I never imagined I would get a 3-book deal. That was two years ago. Teatime has gone on to become a favorite of book clubs, garnering rave reviews and I have my readers to thank for that.
With the second novel, not only did I have a publishing deadline but I was plagued with a barrage of self-doubt and fears. The only way I could get past all that and write this book was to pretend nobody would ever read it. It worked!
Braiding the plot and characters together had its usual challenges but the revision process was easier the second time around. I now knew what to expect. I learned a lot when I worked with my first publishing editor on Teatime for the Firefly. I shared my experiences in an article I wrote for the Writers Digest:“Working with a Publishing Editor.”
So here we are: another milestone. Thank you all for your love and support. I could not have done it without you. I can’t wait for you to read FLAME TREE ROAD. Cheers!
Last Saturday I was in Ajo (pronounced ‘Ah-ho’) a wee mining town– a stone’s throw from the Mexican border. Ajo is as cute its name (population 3,500). The other Arizona town that rivals Ajo in its teeny name is the town of “Why”. I learned from the folks at Ajo the residents of “Why” wanted to name their town “Y” because it is located at a Y-shaped intersection – but the post office does not accept a single letter for a town name and that is why Why came to named Why! So much for trivia.
The “Friends of the Ajo Library” – a volunteer organization had invited me to give a talk. Ajo is a 2 hour drive from where we live, and what a beautiful drive it was through a highway lined with wildflowers. I wished I had stopped to take pictures but I worried I’d be late, so we drove straight on. The quaint little Ajo Salzar Library is located right in the middle of the town plaza and the Friends of the Library gave me a very warm welcome. After my slide show and Q&A there was small reception with the most delicious baked treats and tea. We drove around the town and up to see the big open pits and a cute little historical museum. Here is a picture of me in my rather loud dress standing outside the mining museum. What a gratifying day! Thank you Ajo!
“Patel’s remarkable debut effortlessly transports readers back to India on the brink of independence, with intriguing details about the tea industry in Assam while Patel deftly incorporates into the story add yet another layer of richness…enthralling characters, exotic setting, and evocative writing style.”– Booklist, starred review
“Debut author Patel offers a stunning, panoramic view of a virtually unknown time and place—the colonial British tea plantations of Assam—while bringing them to life through a unique character’s perspective.” Kirkus Reviews
“The historical detail makes this debut novel a rich reading experience.” Library Journal