I have come to the realization that the professionals I have looked up to my whole life are now (at least age wise) my peers. The doctor who examines my children is not some wise old man but rather a father with a preschool age child just like me. He has no secret powers, he just went to school for a very long time. The super successful lawyer, she isn't some glamours woman off the set of Ally McBeal, she lives down the street and has a jog stroller. The writer who creates novels sold on the shelves of my local book store, she may actually attend the same playgroup that I take my children to.
In fact I do actually know and spend time with plenty to doctors and lawyers. And now I can honestly say that a published author did attend one of my playgroups. I don't know why I was so surprised. Just who do I think writers are? I guess I envision brilliant, yet reclusive introverts working away in a cabin on an isolated mountain top, but duh, writers (and doctors and lawyers) are just people. They are mothers, and fathers and they go to playgroups. They may be smart and talented but they are still human.
When I first met Shanthi she said nothing about the fact that she had written and published an actual book. She talked about her son and her life in Berkeley. It wasn't until we became friends on Facebook that I learned she had in fact created a real-life novel. A book, with a shiny cover and her name on it. A book that people will pay money to read because well... heck I did.
I am reading A Prayer Room now. I have been reading a lot lately, thanks to the time I spend commuting in and out of the city. Some of the books are better than others. The last book was pure candy, just a guilty pleasure-a love story that was written as a page turner driving the reader to the end just to see how everything is resolved. The author told a story, but gave little thought to the words that spun the tale.
Shanthi's book (A Prayer Room) is different. She is extremely talented at painting a picture. All of the words seem to be carefully chosen. In stealing from some of the reviews that I have read the beauty of the language is almost more important than the story. Don't get me wrong the story is interesting. It is about an Indian woman, her English husband and their triplets. It is about love and family and cultural identity and it is certainly holding my attention. But I am not a book critic so I will leave that to the experts.
So where am I going with all of this? Another blog contest, of course! One lucky reader will win a signed hard copy of A Prayer Room. All you have to do is a) Be a "follower" b) post a comment to this blog post by June 5. c) check back on June 6 to see if you are a winner. d) Tweet a link to getrealmama, or post one on Facebook, and your name gets entered twice. Drawing will be done at random.
If you are in Berkeley and wish to see the very talented Shanthi in person, she is participating in a reading on June 12th at The Layover in Oakland at 7pm. She is amazing, and that makes me semi-amazing by just knowing her right?
Good luck and happy reading!