Monday, December 1, 2014

Losing Touch by Sandra Hunter - Guest Blog and Giveaway



This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sandra will be awarding a luggage tag, mini book necklace, and a $15 Starbucks GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five Things You Might Not Know About Sandra Hunter


1. I’d love to ride a motorbike. I had my first and last ride when I was at school and a friend had a 250cc Suzuki. I remember him driving us around the school. I was laughing like a loony the whole way. It was so exhilarating. I dream of cruising along Angeles Crest Highway, or Highway 1 on a Harley D. Yup. Hog lover! I’d like to buy a scooter – one of those sexy little Vespas. I’d love a light green one and then I could pretend to be an extra in an Audrey Hepburn movie. I’d be the one tearing past on the cobbled streets of Verona with my red scarf rippling out behind me. Ciao.

2. I can’t eat raw celery. The smell reminds me of rotting ferns. I hope that doesn’t offend the celery-lovers. Smell is so visceral: it’s so evocative, but it can change your mind about something in a heartbeat. I remember being excited about a date. Very scrumptious-looking guy. But when we met, he smelled of some hideous aftershave. I couldn’t take him seriously after that. Every time he leaned forward to say something I got this weird rush of patchouli and cloves.

3. After rampaging on about smell, I have this anecdote: When I was little, I used to love the smell of my farts after eating garlic. I’d put the bed covers over my head so I could inhale. Probably a good thing that I’ve grown out of that. I also used to love the smell of freshly cut wood. One of our neighbors had a new fence put up. On my way to school I’d stand in front of it and inhale like crazy. It must have looked odd to anyone passing by. I still love it although I don’t sneak around fences anymore.

4. I’m not Indian – I’m Anglo-Indian. This goes back to the British occupation of India. At that time the British army was deployed in India. All travel was via ship – very slow! Soldiers were separated from their families for long periods of time. So, they ended up marrying local women and starting families. That’s how my own family started. The British encouraged inter-marriage in order to produce this hybrid Anglo-Indian race of people. The Anglo-Indians were employed in the communications sector: post office, railways and so on. The British felt that the Anglos were a good “buffer race” between themselves and the Indians, who they saw as untrustworthy. Of course, the mistrust was mutual! And neither the British nor the Indians thought much of the Anglos. After Indian Independence, everyone was offered the choice: either an Indian or a British passport. Some Anglos chose to stay and marry into Indian families. Those with British passports were able to emigrate to any of the Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, and England. My family moved to England. These days, there are very few Anglo-Indians left and most have been absorbed via intermarriage. I know there are other “incidental” groups of people who’ve sprung up from time to time. Another book idea!

5. One of my favorite memories. I taught in Kenya for 2 years in the early ‘80s. I worked in Kijauri, Kisii, the middle of zonksville – no running water or electricity. So, no showers, no loo, no fridge, no lights. During the school vacations, I’d visit friends in Malindi, on the coast. Anyone who knows Florida will understand Malindi’s humidity thing. When I got to my friends’ house, I’d drop my bag and head out to a tiny hut at the end of a forest path. They had a freezer. Luxury. They also made fresh mango ice cream. I remember sitting on the tree-stump seat next to the shack, eating my ice cream and staring out at the infinitely blue ocean beyond the palm trees. A sort of Malibu moment but more tropical. It was the most intense mango-y flavor I’d ever known and I still wonder if it was due to (a) refrigeration deprivation (b) the combination of flavor and view or (c) both. Probably both.

After Indian Independence Arjun brings his family to London, but hopes of a better life rapidly dissipate. His wife Sunila spends all day longing for a nice tea service, his son suddenly hates anything Indian, and his daughter, well, that’s a whole other problem. As he struggles to enforce the values he grew up with, his family eagerly embraces the new. But when Arjun’s right leg suddenly fails him, his sense of imbalance is more than external. Diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, he is forced to question his youthful impatience and careless cruelty to his family, until he learns, ultimately, to love them despite — or because of — their flaws. In a series of tender and touching glimpses into the shared life of a married couple, Sandra Hunter creates strikingly sympathetic characters — ones that remind us of our own shortfalls, successes, hypocrisies, and humanity.

Enjoy an excerpt:

When the body no longer operates, the self disappears. He feels this diminishing, a gradual receding of who he is, what he likes how he dresses, where he goes. And he can go nowhere. A short trip to the back window and he is tired enough to have to rest for a while on the sofa before he makes the trip back to the safety of his amchair. He longs to walk with his grandson by the seashore and go searching for treasure. Let’s dig for gold, Sami. And he would slyly drop in a few polished pennies so that Sami shouts with delight.

About the Author:
Sandra Hunter’s fiction has been published in a number of literary magazines and received awards including the 2014 H.E. Francis Fiction Award, 2012 Cobalt Fiction Prize, 2011 Arthur Edelstein Short Fiction Prize and three Pushcart Prize nominations. Her debut novel, Losing Touch, was released in July (OneWorld Publications). She lives in Simi Valley, CA, with her husband and daughter, and is always on the look out for the perfect gluten-free cupcake.

Author links: http://sandrahunter.strikingly.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.hunter
Twitter: @sandrajhunter

Buy the book at Amazon.

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6 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Maybe too revelatory! But it was cathartic to write.

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  2. I loved your explanation about your heritage. It's REALLY interesting.

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  3. Thanks, Kim. Oh those British ...

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  4. Great excerpt...definitely want to check this book out!

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