Hello and Welcome.
I read Dreaming in English and loved it. Tamila was my favorite. She had this calmness about her and a caring heart. Speaking of favorite characters, do you have a favorite? If so, who and why?
Oh, my gosh – what a question! I’m not sure if you mean a favorite character in this book or any fictional character, so I’ll answer both.
In Dreaming In English, as well as in Veil of Roses, I have a great affection for Rose. I know her character really well – quite beyond what’s reflected in the story. She’s kind and nonjudgmental, qualities I especially admire in people. She’s also got a secret about her past that I know but that readers don’t, and this adds to my positive feelings for her.
As far as a favorite fictional character not of my creating, there was one character in the past year who made me want to stand up and cheer, and that’s Major Pettigrew from Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. I adored him.
What came first for you in writing this book…the characters or the story line?
Since this is a sequel, definitely the characters came before the storyline. I knew readers wanted more of Tami, and thankfully I was able to slip right back into her voice as I began Dreaming In English. The storyline didn’t come as easily as I thought it might. I began with the commitment to myself that the story would have to please readers as much if not more than Veil of Roses, which serves as a jumping off point for this story, so Dreaming In English had to be all that Veil of Roses was, plus more, better, deeper. Readers seemed to especially appreciate the mother-daughter story, the freedom vs. repression thread, as well as a sweet romance between Tami and Ike, so that’s what I built the story around.
Tamila is from Iranian descent as is your husband. What do you find the most fascinating about this culture?
For me, it’s too difficult to separate religion from culture from government policy – they’re sort of distinct and blended at the same time. But what I think over and over is how Iran would and could unquestionably be one of the strongest and most admired countries in the world if it would simply value its people, women especially. If Iran would declare itself to be a land of opportunity and then follow it up in deed as well as word, it would within years gain the respect of the world. By holding people back, the country holds itself back.
Will we ever get to see Tamila and Ike again?
I’m not sure! I do have a few ideas I’d like to pursue, but the reality is it takes me about a year to write a book like this, and there are simply too many ideas that compete for my attention, so maybe not for awhile.
What can readers expect from you next?
I’m working on a novel of historical fiction, so at the moment I’m studying World War Two, which is quite enjoyable.
Thank you allowing me this interview.
Thank YOU, Cheryl!
The last comment Tamila’s mother said to her before she left her home of Tehran, Iran for Tucson, Arizona was “Go, my daughter. Go and wake up your luck.” Tamila is traveling to Tucson to see her sister, Maryam and her husband, Ardishir. It has been fifteen years since Maryam left Iran.
Luckily for Tamila she did find more than “Lady Luck”, she found a husband. You could not find a more American guy than Ike. He has a dream of opening his own coffee shop and plans to stay in Tucson until the day he dies. Ike’s parents believe that Ike made a mistake marrying Tamila. Can Tamila and Ike prove to everyone that their love is for real?
Dreaming in English is a dream come true. It is one of the best books, I have read thus far in 2011. Right from the very beginning, I was instantly captivated by Tamila. She had such a warm personality that you could not help but like her; even if you wanted to hate her you could not. The people who really turned me off was Ike’s parents. I felt so terrible for Tamila and the way they treated her. I was cheering for Ike the way he was standing up for Tamila against his parents. You know when a book really gets to you when every time you start to put it down; you have to pick it back up. Dreaming in English is that book. I cried towards the end. I was so connected with Tamila. I cannot wait to see what Mrs. Fitzgerald comes out with next.
I have a copy of this book to giveaway. Open to US and Canada only. I will pick a winner Feb 27th