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Unpleasant Realities

Marie Balustrade Author Interview

Marie Balustrade Author Interview

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.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Wings at Dawn by [Balustrade, Marie ]

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.

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Wings at Dawn

Wings at Dawn by [Balustrade, Marie ]

Alexander Adler, an investigative journalist from Berlin is sent to India on a fact-finding mission to write an article about child pornography and human trafficking, while his two best friends, Matt and Julian also join him. Following the social worker and activist, Amrita’s instructions, they visit several brothels in Delhi and Mumbai in order to discover the local human-trafficking network and save many innocent children’s life at the same time. On their adventurous journey, they become familiar with the colorful Indian culture and the amazing Indian cuisine, and plenty of times they find themselves in life-threatening situations that put both their will power and their friendship to the test.

Wings at Dawn by Marie Balustrade is a gripping story about three adventuresome men who decided to fight against human trafficking, pedophilia, child pornography and slavery in India. I am completely amazed by the way Balustrade merges real social issues into a novel that touches your soul. With the long descriptive passages, the reader gets an insight into the Indian society and culture. The story is eventful, interesting, rich in cultural elements and despite the serious subject, it contains some humor as well.

The novel has a wide range of characters, all of them are well worked-out. The three main characters Alex, Matt and Julian have contrasting personalities due to their different origins, pasts, and habits that make their dialogues entertaining. However, they share the same enthusiasm, helpfulness, and stubbornness. My favorite character is Matt because I liked his colorful personality, he is a real gourmand who is always hungry and could eat all day long. Thanks to him I got to know more about the Indian cuisine and I learned that in India “the fewer the buildings, the better the tea”, which means that the tea is always more delicious further from the big cities. While reading about the innocent children’s distress, I felt really emotional, especially the little boy, Abdul Hakim’s and a father, Norbu’s story touched me.

The only thing I did not like is that it contains too many foreign words and expressions, after a time I stopped going to the end notes to look up the words as I found myself doing it often. Otherwise, Wings at Dawn is a very valuable and emotional novel that I would heartily recommend to anyone who interesting stories set in exotic locations.

Pages: 376 | ASIN: B07Q6ZS72B

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