Saturday, September 29, 2012

Torn Together by Emlyn Chand - Review, Interview and Giveaway

Happy Saturday!

Reading Addiction Blog Tours 


Welcome to my stop at Torn Together Blog Tour! This tour is organized by Reading Addiction Blog Tours  together with the author Emlyn Chand. My stop includes review of Torn Together, interview with the author Emlyn Chand and a giveaway.

Let's start with the review!


Author: Emlyn Chand
Title: Torn Together
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Release date: 15th of August 2012
Genre: Adult: Women's Fiction
Pages: 274
Source: Review copy received from Reading Addiction Blog Tours for reviewing

Summary:

From her cheating boyfriend to her dead father and cold, judgmental mother, Daly knows she can’t trust others to be there when it counts. This cynicism begins to melt away when she meets Kashi, a light-hearted charmer from India, who decides he cares too much to let her fade into the background of her own life. After a series of false starts, their quirky romance carries them to India, where Daly must win the approval of Kashi’s family in order to seal their “forever.”


Meanwhile, Laine struggles to cope with the pain of early widowhood, fleeing into the pages of her well-worn library and emerging only to perform her duties as a social worker at the crisis pregnancy center. Although her daughter wants nothing more than to work as an artist, Laine doesn’t know how to redirect Daly to a more suitable profession without further damaging their tenuous relationship.

Can Laine look past her pain to learn from an unlikely mentor? Has Daly finally found someone whom she can trust? Will the women recognize their common bonds before the relationship is broken beyond repair?

My review:

Emlyn Chand is a wonderful author and her novel Torn Together well-written. The language flows very smoothly, it is easy to read and you find yourself in a world which you can easily relate to and amongst captivating characters.
What caught my eye even before I really could start reading was the design of the book. Not so much the cover, but inside the book. Each chapter starts with a small artwork together with the sentence which describes the chapter and besides that, you can actually see, from which point of view this chapter is told from. I liked the idea a lot! It's a brilliant way of both catching the interest, but also describing the main story line. Loved it!

Plot:

Daly is a lonely young woman with cheating boyfriend, emotionally unattached mother and dad, who died several years ago. This is the picture which you get quite quickly when starting reading.

When Daly meets Kashi, a very charming man from India, Daly's world changes. She is step by step finding her faith again, learning how to open up and start trusting. Besides Kashi, Daly finds another unexpected friend in a teenager mom Meghann, who is introduced to Daly through her own mother. Daly's mother, Laine is Meghann's councilor and what start like a favor for Laine, Daly actually finds a wonderful friend in Meghann.

As Kashi's and Daly's relationship develops, it gets more certain that these two belong together and they have both deserved happily ever after. But this is where the author surprises you and turns the story to a very unexpected path. I think that was one of the best things which happened in Torn Together - the sudden story development which is both heart-wrenching as it is surprising and brilliant.

After a tragedy, everything changes again and Daly finds herself in the middle of the worst and biggest battle of her life.

Characters:

Daly was a nice young woman, who seemed a tad boring for my taste in the beginning of the book. boy, does she grow during the novel! I grew on Daly quite quickly right after she decided to take a huge step and travel to India with Kashi. For me, this was the turning point for a good book turning into a very good novel. I loved seeing Daly grow as a woman and as a person. I cheered for her when her relationship to her mom improved and I ached for her through her losses.

I think that I have a slightly different opinion on Kashi compared to many other readers of the book, but I was not a very big fan of Kashi. Don't get me wrong, I did like him, but I did not love him. I think he was weak in the moment where Daly needed him most. When his own family got more important and he was obeying his parents wishes, I found myself thinking: Daly you are so much better off without him. It's probably because I have never and will never understand how grown up man can not defend the love of his life in front of his mother and turns into what I call a mommy's boy. I do understand that it is due to cultural differences and the circumstances in the story also changed, but I would probably not have forgiven him as easily as Daly did.

Meghann was my favorite character in the novel. She was so admirable and strong for her age. I loved the way the author saw her: with strong faith to God and better life, very mature love for her unborn son. She was a person, I would love to meet in person. Alone against all the odds, she had a will made of iron and heart made of gold.

I also liked Laine. During the first chapters when I realized that she loved reading, I already liked Laine! Laine was complicated character. She loved her husband and she died inwardly together with her husband. I can understand that, for me she was easy to relate to. I was so happy to she when she helped Daly through the tragedy, was there for her and I admired her when she manned up for the last scenes in the book, taking Daly with her to a plain trip. It was beautiful and emotional, so I cried while reading.

There are many other wonderful characters in Torn Together. Emlyn is absolutely wonderful character creator and did an excellent job with all of them!

Generally:

Torn Together by Emlyn Chand is a fantastic read. The story is engrossing and you will be carrying the characters of the book with you in your heart long after the book is finished. It was really that good!

5 Flowers!
5 stars.

About the author:

Emlyn Chand emerged from the womb with a fountain pen clutched in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm Novel Publicity. Best known for her Young Adult novels, she is also developing a small, but devoted, following to her children's book series and is beginning to dapple in other genres as well. Emlyn enjoys connecting with readers and is available via almost every social media site in existence. Visit EmlynChand.com for more info. Don't forget to say "hi" to her sun conure Ducky!


Contact Links:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
GoodReads

Purchase Links:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Evolve Publishing


Emlyn agreed to give an interview to Me and Reading. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the author of Torn Together, Emlyn Chand!



The interview is divided into several sections. First section is about Emlyn, second section is about her book, writing them, about characters etc, third part is about her favorites.


Part I

MR: Please describe yourself with few sentences. Who are you?

EC: I’m Emlyn, a 27-year old author of YA, women’s fiction, and children’s books. I am also the president of Novel Publicity and a crazy bird lady too. And, oh yeah, I emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in my left hand (at least that’s what my Twitter bio says).

MR: What inspired you to want to become writer?

EC: Hey, what did I just say?! :-P I was born with a fountain pen grasped firmly in my left hand... But seriously, I do believe writers are born into the craft—we haven’t got much choice, but it’s a great calling to have. I’ve been writing since before I could write, if you know what I mean. I’ve always loved inventing stories or “tall tales” as my parents call them. I wrote and illustrated children’s books for my younger brothers when I was still in grade school. In fifth grade, I wrote a short MG novel. I tried writing screenplays in high school but never got very far with those. Really, I started writing seriously about two-and-a-half years ago when the local paper offered me a book review column. That gave me the courage and consistency to write novels. Torn Together is technically my first novel, although it’s my third published.

MR: Who did you want to become when you were a kid? What did you dream about?

EC: I’ve always had the storytelling bug, but... When I was really little, I planned on being a zoo keeper. In elementary school, I was going to be a Disney animator. In high school, I was going to be a lawyer. And in my early years of college, I was going to be Ambassador to Russia :-)

MR: What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have any hobbies?

EC: Oh, my life is painfully one-dimensional. I work with authors as part of my business. I write and market my own books. I serve as advertising coordinator for a publishing house. And sometimes I even read! I take frequent breaks from my bookish frenzy to play with my dogs and birds and to dance around the house to show tunes, though!


MR: If you wouldn’t be a writer, what would you be and do?

EC: Not a writer? Are you trying to depress me...? In all seriousness, I’ve learned that I’m a very good business owner, and despite the inherent stress, I love bringing a company to life, building a team, and changing lives. I would really like to open an indie book store one day in addition to everything else. Just have to find the time to get it all done!

MR: Who or what is your Muse?

EC: India is my eternal muse for this and everything I write. Torn Together, in particular, was influenced by my real life love story. The character of Kashi was based on my then husband. I wrote this novel three years ago, back when we were happy and had the joy of revising it during our divorce. I almost lost all my marbles on this one. It was emotionally draining.

Part II

Let’s talk about your books!

MR: How do you write? Do you sketch a plot first, create characters first and then starting to write?

EC: First, the spark. Inspiration strikes (usually while driving, which is why I’m such an awful driver). I spend some time kneading my inspiration like a goopy ball of dough. If it holds, the next step is character development and research. I can spend months in this phase, because I believe strong characters are key to great fiction. And like any other person, it can take a while to truly get to know them. I don’t keep written outlines, but I spend so much time daydreaming, that it’s definitely fair to call me a plotter. I always start with the characters, though.

MR: What do you think is the most important thing while writing?

EC: To remain focused and committed to your story and the characters within it. Simple as that. Don’t force unnatural situations. Don’t take wild tangents. Don’t do yourself a disservice.

MR: Would you briefly give us an overview what is Torn Together about?

EC: Torn Together tells the story of Daly English, a 19-year-old aspiring painter whose life just hasn’t gone the way she would like it to. Still recuperating from the early death of her father, her relationship with her mother has been broken beyond repair. An exotic stranger pushes Daly out of her comfort zone when she least expects it, and she finds herself en route to India to win his parents approval. Above all, this is a story about the hardships women face. From managing relationships to teen pregnancy to fighting against cultural expectations for gender, being a girl isn’t always so easy!

MR: Where did you get the idea for Torn Together from? How was it born?

EC: It started with the idea of someone who collects something that cannot be collected. In early drafts, Daly collected emotions in her journal, and each chapter was shaped to hit really hard with one specific emotion (emptiness, infatuation, gratitude, awe, etc). The story that evolved loosely follows my own life, especially the third of it that takes place in India.

MR: Which character can you mostly relate to in Torn Together? Why?

EC: That is a great question. When I first wrote Torn, I most related to Daly’s mother, Laine, who just so happens to be the antagonist. I gave her my own coping device—escaping into books when real life gets too difficult. While going through my divorce, I began to identify with Daly. I mean, I was acting almost exactly how she acts for most of the novel... But after escaping that situation, I realized the character I actually am is Meghann, the pregnant 15-year-old. Her life was a mess and then she got pregnant. Rather than letting it destroy her, it made her stronger. Her pregnancy is my divorce. Everyone expects me to be a wreck, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’ve even found love again!

MR: As a reader it seems to me that you have a very close relationship to India and know a lot about the country and their traditions. Is Torn Together a personal story to you? How much did you have to research and how much of the story is coming from personal experience?

EC: I didn’t have to research India at all for this story, other than confirming some of my usage of Hindi and Punjabi in text. I was with my Indian ex for over eight years. We traveled to India together twice (once for four weeks and once for five). We were married there in a full Hindu ceremony. I lived in this culture, and I feel like I’ve learned it well. Even though our relationship didn’t work out, I am still enamored with this land’s alluring customs.

MR: Please give 3 reasons why readers should buy Torn Together?

EC: To laugh. To cry. To love.


Part III – Favorites

Who is your favorite author? JK Rowling. Yeah, I’m a Potterhead. If Hermoine had Hagrid’s baby, it would probably be me :-)
What is your favorite book or series? My favorite book is A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Nobody invents characters like ol’ Irving, and this book moved me to my emotional core. Just wonderful!
What is your favorite song? Anything by Frank Sinatra. His music always puts a smile on my face no matter how far my frown reaches toward my chin. It’s what I call “happy music.”
What is your favorite season? Winter. I love the snow. I love how people slow down and smile at each other sometimes. I love the peacefulness and cold air on my cheeks while holding warm cider between my mittens.
What is your favorite food? Chocolate! And ice cream! And chocolate!
What is your favorite car? Teehee, the one I drive—a 2011 Buick Regal. It’s a good car, gets me places.
What is your favorite color? Gray. I used to spell it “grey” than a certain book happened. So, yeah, grAy.
What is your favorite movie? I love Moulin Rouge, because it meets three very important criteria—originality, compelling love story, and awesome soundtrack!
What is your favorite time of the day? Oh, I’m one of those annoying morning people. I bound out of bed ready to begin the new day!
What is your favorite weather? I do so enjoy the rain. I even sleep to the sound of thunder on my little sound spa alarm clock.


Thank you so much, Emlyn for taking the time to answer all my questions! It is appreciated!

And now, last, but not least, giveaway!



Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the fab review, Inga, and the thoughtful interview questions. Believe it or not, yours was the first interview I answered for Torn Together! I <3 you, Inga-Binga :-D

    ReplyDelete

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