Posted by Literary Titan
Wings at Dawn follows a journalist on a fact-finding mission about child pornography and human trafficking in India. Why did you choose this topic for your novel?
I was a development worker in Asia for 15 years, during which time I encountered many social issues that have become the breeding ground for the perversions and evil of mankind. The development workers I met working on human trafficking experience horrors beyond belief on a daily basis, and yet, the trafficking of young boys remains taboo. The character Amrita and her team are not figments of my imagination, but based on real unsung heroes who fight the battles for the unheard voices. My novels will always deal with unpleasant realities that need to be brought to light because it is only awareness that will save lives.
Your characters were well developed, but Matt was my favorite. What were some themes you felt were important to capture in your characters?
I wanted credible and flawed heroes with acute sensitivity on a personal and professional level. It was important to dispel the notion that journalists are callous and heartless cynics as they go around the world on assignment. The professional side was important to highlight, yes, as well as the drive that propelled them forward to pursue the issues and remain committed to the work. However, a strong sense of social justice and community service was essential in building up the friendship among the three men, as well as the individual personalities. Unconditional friendship is something that I also needed to bring out in this book, as it is so rare, but so precious.
The novel showcases Indian culture and food. What experiences of your own were you able to use in your novel?
12 years of living in India provided the perfect resource for Wings at Dawn. Every item described in the book is something I ate, cooked, and or enjoyed at some point while living in Delhi and exploring the country. The description of the places, cuisine and cultural nuances are based entirely on personal experience, which is why I was able to go into such intimate detail for Matt’s sake. The opening scene with Alex, for example, is one of my favourite walks in Old Delhi, exploring Chandni Chowk with the pleasure of resident searching for treasures that no tourist will encounter in a fleeting visit.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next book, Sunset Shadows, follows the trio, Alex, Julian and Matt through another assignment, but this Julian’s story, as he explores the dark world of transgender trafficking throughout Asia and Europe. Due out in Spring of 2020.
Writer and photographer, I am a native of the Philippines who grew up and lived in various countries, resulting in photography and writing becoming integral pillars of my soul and, hence, inseparable from my being. The urge to write about what I photograph or match a photograph to my writings are processes that are never far from one another. In the same manner, while on retreat in the mountains of Kodaikanal, India, one year, photography transcended into a form of prayer. When I need to find my center or escape the madness of the world around me, I grab my camera and immerse myself in a world that understands me, and I it.
My novels deal with controversial social issues that span the globe. The stories are not meant for the reader to swoon over and fall in love momentarily for a shallow romance. I want the audience to cry with me, to be enraged, be disgusted, and after turning the last page, they should be more vigilant.
All my books and stories are supported by extensive travel and research, in addition to firsthand experience, having been a development worker in Asia for over 15 years and seen horrors that few will ever write about. My life experiences are the foundation for my novels, and I write from the soul, not an empty page.