The Strength Sisterhood Can Have

Puja Shah Author Interview

For My Sister follows twin sisters from Mumbai who, through unfortunate events, end up separated and in the red light district. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

For My Sister was inspired by my volunteer work overseas with girls rights and human rights awareness causes in Uganda and India. When I wrote the story, at first, it was a part of a collection of short stories highlighting causes like girl trafficking amongst others. The story of Amla and Asya stood out to me and when I developed it more, it turned into this novel. I spent many hours doing research with nonprofits who serve survivors of human trafficking as well as interviews with survivors of child marriage. While the story is fiction, it was important for me to portray the experiences with empathy and accuracy.  

What was your process in writing the characters’ interactions to develop the bond they have?

I derived much of the heartfelt and complex interactions between Amla and Asya from my own experiences as a sister myself.  Since I was writing about twins, I interviewed a doctor and expert on twin identity to dive deep into the main characters’ minds. The twin bond is even stronger than regular siblings, like my own close relationship with my sister which allowed me to dive into understanding that relationship. I learned that twins have been reported to feel their sibling’s pain, even when apart. When it came to Amla and Asya, I wanted to portray the strength sisterhood can have in times of darkness.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

I wanted to give voice and visibility to the voiceless, specifically trafficked girls and women such as Amla and Asya. Along with the social issue of human trafficking, I touch upon gender inequality, colorism, caste and poverty. The main theme I hope one feels when reading about these topics is connection.  I believe one of our greatest human qualities is our ability to feel and connect with one another. Stories bring people together and can inspire us. Inspire all of us to listen to our inner voices, just as Asya and Amla did to gain their freedom. People have been using the power of sharing stories since ancient times.

What is the next story that you’re writing and when will it be published?

I am currently working on another novel focused on being first generation and social causes related to race and identity. Stay tuned at my social media handles, psnamaste on Instagram and Puja Shah Author on Facebook to learn more.

Author Links: Instagram | Facebook

Amla and Asya are sixteen-year-old twins living with their family in a small village outside of Mumbai. While they look alike, they are very different. Asya is known for her quiet grace and understanding, whereas Amla questions authority and breaks rules.

Their lives change overnight when their mother becomes ill with cancer and their father succumbs to the massive financial strain of her care in Mumbai and eventually abandons his children. To the twins’ dismay, their grandparents arrange their marriages to older men. When they form a plan and run away to join their mother in the hope for a new life, the girls discover that the world is not what they thought.

After trusting the wrong people, a long train ride brings them to the dark streets of India’s largest red light district where they are sold to a ruthless woman. Their only security is each other . . . until they are separated. Though they each discover ways to cope through poetry, art, and romance, they long for the other half of themselves. Will their lives ever intertwine again?

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on March 27, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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