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Posts Tagged ‘louisiana catch’

It’s a pleasure to welcome Sweta Srivastava Vikram to Diary of an Eccentric today. I’ve read several of her poetry collections and found them to be quite powerful, so I am looking forward to finding time to read her latest release, the very timely novel Louisiana Catch. Please give her a warm welcome!

Louisiana Catch is a novel about a grieving daughter and sexual abuse survivor from New Delhi who must summon the courage to run a feminist conference in New Orleans, trust a man she meets over the Internet, and unravel the mystery of an online predator in order to find her power. While the female protagonist is Indian and both the male protagonist as well as antagonist are American, the story is relatable and universal because it represents the tales, trauma, humanity, and relationship of our times.

Louisiana Catch is layered. It touches on woman’s rights and violence against women, multicultural romance, journey to female leadership, the impact of grief, and online predators, amongst others. Every layer was added over a period of time after tons of research. And, sometimes, conversations with psychotherapists. I started to think about the book in late 2011/early 2012. And started to write the book in early fall of 2012. There were several conversations simultaneously going on around me: Role of social media in mobilizing people and bringing the world together during the Arab spring and the trials and triumphs of online dating my friends had shared. I teach yoga to rape and domestic violence survivors, so some of what I had witnessed in my class lingered in my subconscious.

Vulnerability—it can put us in spaces we never expect to find ourselves. When I was working on Louisiana Catch, a woman at a party walked up to me, “You come across as a happy and sane person. Your husband seems like a decent guy. Why are you a social issue advocate then? Why do you go out looking for ‘such’ stories? And making your family miserable? Write happy stories and get another drink.” Mind you, this conversation was a part of nothing. The lady was inebriated and felt the need to lash out and dictate what I should write about. I don’t talk about my projects until they are completed—the fear of absorbing other people’s opinion through osmosis and in the process, ruining my work, scares me? But people make their own deductions given what they believe about you. As this woman poured wine into her glass and words into my ears, I stood still. The sharpness of her words hurt. But her questions made me think.

Yoga has taught me to be an observer of thoughts and ideas without judging them—so, I watched where these thoughts were leading me. Here is what I’ve learned: You don’t have to be a victim or a survivor of violence to join the fight against ending it. For the most part, stories choose their writers. I, for one, will not explain my voice or stories to anyone.  I am just a messenger and a storyteller. My stories pick the vessel—fiction, nonfiction, poetry—how they want to be conveyed. First, there is a seed. I water it with ideas and time. Slowly, there is a bud and then the fully blossomed flower of a solid idea. Some stories take very long to shape-up, like Louisiana Catch; and, other times, they take a few weeks—like some of my poetry collections. Ultimately, “Stories are a communal currency of humanity.”

It’s a sheer coincidence that the book is coming out at a time when the #MeToo movement is creating space for women to publicly share the abuse they have endured. No Excuse, the Conference that Ahana, the female protagonist organizes in the book, takes it a notch further: the fact that there should be “no excuse” for sexual abuse, in short, zero tolerance.

Louisiana Catch is a humane book about actual human beings, and I hope the readers enjoy it.

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About Louisiana Catch

Ahana, a wealthy thirty-three-year-old New Delhi woman, flees the pain of her mother’s death and her dark past by accepting a huge project in New Orleans, where she’ll coordinate the Annual Women’s Conference to raise awareness around violence against women. Her half-Indian, half-Irish colleague and public relations guru, Rohan Brady, who helps Ahana develop her online presence, offends her prim sensibilities with his raunchy humor. She is convinced that he’s a womanizer. Meanwhile, she seeks relief from her pain in an online support group, where she makes a good friend: the mercurial Jay Dubois, who is also grieving the loss of his mother. Her work in the U.S. and the online medium brings the two men into her life, and Ahana learns that neither is what he seems. With their differing sensibilities on a collision course, Ahana finds herself in a dangerous situation—and she discovers a side of herself that she never realized she had.

Louisiana Catch is an emotionally immersive novel about trust and who we project ourselves to be in the world. It’s a book about Ahana’s unreliable instincts and her ongoing battle to determine whom to place her faith in as she, Rohan, and Jay shed layers of their identities.

As Ahana matures from a victim of domestic sexual abuse into a global feminist leader, she must confront her issues: both with the men in her life and, ultimately, with her own instincts. Whom can she rely on to have her best interests at heart?

Check out Louisiana Catch on Goodreads | Amazon

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About the Author

Sweta Srivastava Vikram

 

Sweta Srivastava Vikram is a best-selling author of 11 books, a wellness columnist, and a mindfulness writing coach.  Featured by Asian Fusion as “one of the most influential Asians of our time,” Sweta writes about women, multiculturalism, and identity. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and other publications across nice countries and three continents. Louisiana Catch (Modern History Press 2018) is her debut U.S. novel. Born in India, Sweta grew up between the Indian Himalayas, Northern Africa, and the United States collecting and sharing stories. Exposure to this vast societal spectrum inspired her to become an advocate for social issues and also to get certified as a Holistic Health Counselor. In this avatar, Sweta is the CEO-Founder of NimmiLife through which she helps people elevate their productivity and creativity using Ayurveda and yoga. A certified yoga teacher, Sweta also teaches yoga and mindfulness to female survivors of rape and domestic violence. She lives with her husband in New York City.

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Giveaway

Sweta is generously offering a copy of Louisiana Catch as part of the blog tour. To enter, you must use this Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

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For more about Louisiana Catch and to follow the blog tour, click the button below.

Thank you, Sweta, for being my guest today and for your thought-provoking guest post. Congratulations on your latest release!

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