Updated: Aug 19
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Shobha Nihalani has been a writer for over two decades and has worked as a freelance journalist, copywriter, bookkeeper and is a homemaker.
Q. Characterize yourself in one word?
Q. Please describe what the story/book is about in one sentence.
A heartfelt story of a Hong Kong-based childless couple who adopt a baby from India, and their turbulent journey to face the complicated legal process in a small town called Bhagalpur.
Q. Briefly, what led up to this book? What were you writing (and getting published, if applicable) before breaking out with this book?
The adoptive parents, Harini and Haresh, are my friends. When they requested that I write their ordeal and the troubles they faced during the adoption process, I wasn't sure if there was enough material to create a book-length story.
However, after I read Harini's journal, I was touched by the parents' strength and faith to go through the many sufferings to reach their future daughter.
It was when Harini poured her heart out in an email plea to Smt Maneka Gandhi, the Minister of Women and Child Development, that the adoption process was fast-tracked.
Q. What has been your biggest achievement?
Being able to adapt to various situations and people.
Q. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break-in?
I was passionate about writing fiction. But, I knew, I wasn't ready yet. I was a freelance journalist, which is quite different from writing novels.
I took the time to learn how to write, I read many books to understand techniques, I practiced and joined critique groups to develop my skills.
I would then write, rewrite and edit multiple drafts. I sent out book proposals but received many rejection letters. However, I never gave up. The passion and persistence are what helped me break-in.
Q. Did you have a platform in place? On this topic, what are you doing to build a platform and gain readership?
I am old school, which means, that our generation was taught humility and to not talk about oneself. So, it is hard for me to do a shout-out when I have written a new book.
But, times have changed and unless one shares their creations, no one will notice. I have been advised to be accessible through social media platforms, so yes, I have Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram, I blog occasionally, and I have a website.
To gain readership, it is necessary to get reviewed. I am doing my best to gain visibility for my books, such as through your well-placed platform, and hope that many people will be interested in reading my books.
Q. Favorite book?
Keeps changing. Now it's Outrageous Openness by Tosha Silver
Q. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
I love to sing Bollywood songs. Mostly the old classics by Geeta Dutt, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.
Q. Future of SALISMANIA.com through your eyes?
I already find SALISMANIA.com quite an impressive website. The site is innovative and very well designed, easy on the eye, grabbing the viewer's attention with the images and the captions.
I believe that SALISMANIA.com will be a one-stop-shop to find trending books. The site is well presented, divided into segments, and easily accessible, giving the user a great experience. You could become the IMDB of books!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In this unique blend of memoir and journey, a Hong Kong-based couple, Harini and Haresh, share their struggle during the pre-adoption fostering phase in a small town in India.
The prospective parents applied first to the Hong Kong branch of the International Social Service. Their application was then sent to CARA, a centralised Indian adoption authority.
The adoptive parents were allocated a child from an orphanage in Bihar. But delays in the legal process resulted in the parents travelling all the way to Bhagalpur, Bihar, to face the local courts.
This book tells the emotional experiences from both parents’ perspective, and the challenges they faced to adopt a baby from India.
Delays and unnecessary discrimination led Harini to write a heart-felt letter to Mrs. Menaka Gandhi, who was the Minister of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
She was proactive in expediting the adoption process. Still, it took them two years (2015 – 2017) of labour pains to finally become parents, and to bring their child to Hong Kong.
“A most touching story of determination and perseverance against all odds to complete one’s family. Unconditional love across borders.” - Iris Liu, Director of Programme, International Social Service Hong Kong Branch.
PUBLISHER: Broken Tusk Publishers
WHAT TO READ NEXT: A Gift from Above by Shobha Nihalani