Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A stunning review for Fallout

I promise I won't smother you with all the reviews I get for my books. There are too many of them, for one thing, and you're not here to read my reviews for another, but I had to share this one because it's a review that really made me think about my writing and the choices I make as a writer.

Here's the link, first of all.

Now for the thinking part...

I don't write my books lightly, even when the result is light romance. I choose my characters, my settings, my situations, with care, and that's something this reviewer really seems to get. When she talks about Derek, and especially about Sambit, she sees that the choices I made weren't random ones. It's no secret I love India, the country, the culture, the people. I married a man from there, so yeah, no surprise, but one of the things I love about it is the dichotomy between this incredibly advanced technological country and the old-fashioned patterns of behavior, food, etc, that are still everywhere. Sambit's line when he asks Derek if he can make sambar? My mother-in-law told me once she judges every Indian household or restaurant she goes to by the quality of its sambar. If the sambar isn't up to snuff, she doesn't go back if it's a restaurant or finds a way not to go at meal times if it's a household. The reaction of the Indian community to Derek coming to Diwali in a kurta pajama (Derek's is the gold one, Sambit's is the turquoise one) has been played out at every Indian celebration I've gone to. "Who helped you put on your sari?" is the most common question. When I tell them I tied it myself, I'm immediately adopted because most of the Indian women who didn't grow up in India can't tie their own. They choose to wear a salwar kameez instead.

I haven't worked at a nuclear plant, but I learned a long time ago how to research things, and I take the time to do that research, whether it's into rally car racing (Overdrive), nuclear reactors (Fallout), or Australian sheep stations (Inherit the Sky and Chase the Stars). It's nice to see that research paying off in a story that feels real to the reviewer.

More than anything, though, it was this line that caught and held me:"the story of a real,wonderful relationship between two men caught up in a natural disaster." When I had my web site redesigned, I spent some time working out a new tag line: real characters, raw emotion, an authentic journey to love. That one line from the reviewer at Joyfully Jay tells me I did what I promise readers I will do. I lived up to my tagline and brought my readers another authentic journey.

So hats off to research and realism and making conscious choices in my books, but mostly, here's to readers and reviewers who take the time to get it.


  1. Ariel, I am glad you saw my review. Fallout is an amazing book for all the reasons listed and more. But you really brought me to a closer understanding of Indian customs and the people themselves. That was a real gift too.
    guest reviewer at Joyfully Jay and at my blog Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

    1. Thanks, Melanie. It's a culture I love exploring. I looked at some other parts of it in Her Two Dads and I have another one in the planning stages with yet another variation on an Indian character. He's a graduate student so focused on school he doesn't see what's staring him in the face. Luckily his potential lover is persistent. (Been there, done that. My husband was clueless!)

      First, though, I have to finish my next foray to Paris.

  2. Outstanding review! (Though I confess, I had to mouse around to find the link--I think I must be colorblind! :-)

    I really enjoyed hearing from you how your cultural experiences were able to bring a depth to this story that would be lacking in another person's hands. Very interesting--and now I want to know more about both characters and their story!

    1. Thanks, Sarah!

      Most of my books have a least some degree of personal cultural experience in them. That's why I set so many of them in France. I hope you enjoy the story if you decide to read it.