By Angie Seth @kateygoalie
Seeing Through Stones: A Review and a Personal Chat with Author Rajdeep Paulus
For anyone who has read “Swimming Through Clouds”, the sequel, “Seeing Through Stones” is the perfect ending to a very hard, passionate, frightening, and determined story. I completely fell in love with characters Talia, Jesse, and Lagan the first time I met them in “Swimming Through Clouds.”
The author, Rajdeep Paulus has taken a very difficult subject and told its story through gentle, innovative, strong, scary, and twisted words. Despite the issue however, the reader wants more and in “Seeing Through Stones”, you get it. If you have not read either book, here’s a little tease.
The story is about a young girl whose life is marred by a violent father, the heart breaking loss of her mother, and constant struggle for survival for her and her brother. But then there is a light at the end of the tunnel for her – a boy who would do anything to make her smile. “Swimming Through Clouds” takes the reader on the first half of Talia’s heartbreaking journey.
The sequel, “Seeing Through Stones” completes it. To describe the second book in just a few words, I would say: brilliant, smart, brave, and daring. Rajdeep Paulus answers all the reader’s questions in this second book. It is a pure page-turner and certainly speaks to the strength of women. Talia is our warrior, and Rajdeep Paulus gives her a roaring voice in “Seeing Through Stones”. It is a must read. Now being an author is not easy. Being an author, wife, and mother of 4 girls requires super powers. Rajdeep Paulus seems to manage it all. Here’s an up close and personal look at Rajdeep and how she juggles her career, motherhood, family, and getting a lot of laughs.
ANGIE: Tell me about your journey to becoming an author?
RAJDEEP: Sure. Should have referenced if you wanted the two-second tour or my life story. Ha! 🙂 Here’s the journey in a nutshell: I have always loved to write. My first spiral bound book emerged from a fourth grade writing project, and I remember it like it was yesterday. Fast-forward a few years to my senior year in high school, and I took the dreaded step of informing my traditional Indian parents that I didn’t want to pursue med school. They were shocked.
But when the tremors of my earthquake news settled, they supported my pursuit of a degree in English Literature. Took another decade, a wedding, and few babies before I actually finished writing my first full book. That was about three years ago when my youngest began to attend school and hubby asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I said, “Give me a year, and let me see if I can’t make something of my writing. If nothing happens, I’ll get myself a ‘real job.'” So blessed to be able to call writing my full time job!
ANGIE: “Swimming Through Clouds” where did the inspiration come from – its a hard yet graceful, and important story to write?
RAJDEEP: The crazy thing about my first book is that the story was a little like a Lego project. I just started building. I had no idea what would happen next to my characters, but day by day, I kept writing their stories and the next thing I knew, I had created a very precarious world of pain and love, heartache and hope. Granted the key issues are very important to me, and I want to be an advocate of justice for women and girls through my stories, but that was not the underlying intention. The primary goal was simply to tell a great story.
ANGIE: Was there a huge demand for a sequel?
RAJDEEP: Yes! But I knew the story wasn’t finished so I had already begun penning the sequel before the first book was published. And what I didn’t see coming was a chance to let readers ask questions about Swimming Through Clouds that I could attempt to answer or satisfy in the sequel. I definitely credit readers for their feedback in helping me shape up Seeing Through Stones.
ANGIE: Family is very important to you – motherhood is critical – I see it in your writing. What kind of Mom are you? What kind of masalamomma?
RAJDEEP: A major work in progress! To sum it up. I love being a masalamomma of four princesses, but they know my squeezy hugs as well as they know my crazy screaming voice. I am a very passionate person, and this comes out in my parenting. I’m sure my kids cringe here and there at how “loud” their mom is. I’m the mom crying the hardest and clapping the loudest at the end of Frozen. I’m also the parent who cheers like crazy during their basketball games but also screams at them when I’m coaching their team. I also pull them into my lap for spontaneous hugs when they pass by me, and I try my best to do one on one dates with each of them to give them individual time and attention.
My girls are my best treasure and my biggest fans. Even my six year old who hasn’t read my books hands out my business cards to strangers at a restaurant and can rehearse my one line pitch from memory. No joke. And I, like most women trying to juggle roles, struggle with keeping it all in balance. We do take out more when I have a deadline and then one day, I’ll be sick of pizza and cook up a mean curry chicken and rice dinner and the smiles on the girls’ faces make my day. And hubby will walk in and joke that I found the long lost pots. Yeah. We joke around a lot as a family. I think that laughter is a huge ingredient to our family recipe. That coupled with grace. Lots and lots of grace.
ANGIE: How do you juggle the demands of your children and the characters on the page?
RAJDEEP: Today is a perfect example of how I have to decide on a daily basis to keep my family first. My daughter’s school called, because my six year old had an earache. I could scream and pull my hair out, because I have a lot of blogs to pump out to get the word out about my new book, but I took a deep breath and thanked God for some unexpected special time with my littlest princess. I picked her up, took her to a coffee shop with me and we shared a nice treat and some giggles. The doctor checked her ears and she’s perfectly fine.
But I think with the craziness of this week, she just really needed some mommy time, and I’m glad I didn’t miss this moment. I don’t always get it right. There are lots of days I get it wrong and stare at my phone or laptop when the girls are screaming, “Mom! Mom! Mom! Earth to Mom!”
And the way I argue it out in my head is to remind myself that I can always make up time with my characters in my dreams. Time with my girls who are growing up fast is something I cannot get back. Try my best to remember that. But like I said, the truth is, I’m still learning. I’m just thankful for a hubby who fills in the gaps when I’m on deadline. He loves to have daddy-daughter time and the girls look forward to those nights too. Because we all know what comes home when Daddy goes shopping. All the fun, yummy stuff that Mommy passes over when she does the groceries. Yep. We make a good team.
ANGIE: Who is your biggest inspiration?
RAJDEEP: This is a tough one, because I want to mention every single person who has cheered me on in this pursuit of my little girl, big dream. But if I had to choose one, I would have to say my parents. Mom is an avid reader and Dad is a classic storyteller. They read my books, and I love hearing their feedback and comments. Best of all, I cherish their affirmation, words of wisdom, and I can’t lie, I’m still that little girl who loves to hear, “Beta, we’re so proud of you.” Seeing Through Stones is dedicated to both my and hubby’s parents.
ANGIE: What can we expect from you next?
RAJDEEP: Wow! This is a tough question. I have about three Fiction projects that are calling my name, and I’m excited about each of them for different reasons. I’ll also be starting up a blog with my oldest daughter this summer for my hubby and his buddies who are kicking off “Cycling 4 Change 2015.” They are training to bike from Seattle to NYC to raise funds and awareness on the issues of human trafficking and child poverty, specifically for the organizations Nomi Network and World Vision.
The blog will highlight the issues and their journeys as they train and prepare for the thirty-day, close to 3,500 mile long biking adventure. The 70+-year-old guy who’s prepping the team goes by the name Bicycle Bill, and he’s known for many things, one of which is his 500,000-mile lifetime goal of biked miles. So, yes! Plenty of material for some great story-telling this next year!
Learn more about Rajdeep Paulus on her site: rajdeeppaulus.com
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