Thanks so much, Delilah, for having me as a guest! And, don’t worry, I came alone — I didn’t bring my voices! Many authors talk about how their characters “speak” to them, and there’s frequently that teasing back-and-forth argument you have with a scene you’re currently writing: “Stop that. I’m in charge. Go sit in the corner.” I’ve certainly felt that way on more than one occasion. But I also have other voices: when I’m reading aloud!
Recently, I engaged in my first-ever public appearances as an author — reading from my debut Samhain novella, Spice and Smoke. Set completely in India and featuring an all-Indian cast of characters, it’s hardly text that matches my high-pitched, Valley Girl-Betty Boop patter. Let’s face it: I’m a tiny little Indian-American chick who cusses like a longshoreman. Bollywood hero or heroine, I’m not! But my third person narration, at least in my head, is that of a warm, husky, Indian accent…and the voices of my leads — from Avinash Kumar’s rough rumble to Michael Gill’s more casual mix of British and Indian — are distinct as well.
So, when I got up to the microphone, first at NYC’s Happy Ending lounge for Ravenous Nights (ravenous.journurl.com), and then at Madame X for Lady Jane’s Salon, I read in accents. Yup, I did voices. And, I’ll be frank, you never know if you’re going to sink or swim until you’re in the middle of it, praying people are engaged or laughing or fanning themselves. My dialogue, fortunately, offers a lot of cues. Many multilingual Indians effortlessly blend their languages, throwing a little Hindi into their English and vice versa — and I utilized that in my writing. When you’re dropping in a “yaar” (pal/buddy, sort of operates like “dude”), or a “na?” (no, used like a Canadian “eh?”), it really helps enrich what you’re sharing with an audience. It forced me to inhabit the bodies of these tall, handsome, desi boys…who wouldn’t know a Valley Girl if she walked up and kissed them full on the mouth!
To join the conversation, check out Spice and Smoke; it’s available at all major e-tailers, as well as the Samhain Publishing store.
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Editor, writer, American desi and lifelong geek, Suleikha Snyder published her first romantic short in Ravenous Romance’s 2011 TOUCHDOWNS anthology. 2012 brought a bevy of releases, including Suleikha’s first novella from Samhain Publishing, SPICE AND SMOKE, a Wild Rose Press short story called HEART MURMURS, and a short in Cleis Press’ SUITE ENCOUNTERS. Suleikha lives in New York City, finding inspiration in Bollywood films, daytime and primetime soaps, and Hell’s Kitchen wine bars.