Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shadow on the Wall by Pavarti K. Tyler (Spotlight & Giveaway)





About the Author
Image of Pavarti K Tyler Pavarti K Tyler is an artist, wife, mother and number cruncher. She graduated Smith College in 1999 with a degree in Theatre. After graduation, she moved to New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off Broadway

Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry several international law firms. She now operates her own accounting firm in the Washington DC area, where she lives with her husband, two daughters and two terrible dogs. When not preparing taxes, she is busy working as the Director of Marketing at Novel Publicity or penning her next novel. www.FightingMonkeyPress.com


Synopsis:
Recai Osman: Muslim, philosopher, billionaire and Superhero?

Controversial and daring, Shadow on the Wall details the transformation of Recai Osman from complicated man to Superhero. Forced to witness the cruelty of the Morality Police in his home city of Elih, Turkey, Recai is called upon by the power of the desert to be the vehicle of change. Does he have the strength to answer Allah’s call or will his dark past and self doubt stand in his way?

Pulling on his faith in Allah, the friendship of a Jewish father-figure and a deeply held belief that his people deserve better, Recai Osman must become The SandStorm.

In the tradition of books by Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, Shadow on the Wall tackles issues of religion, gender, corruption and the basic human condition. Beautiful and challenging, this is not a book to miss.

Ø  Winner of the General Fiction/Novel Category of the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Ø  Winner in the Fiction: Multicultural category for The 2012 USA Best Book Awards!
Ø  Honorable Mention in the Mainstream/Literary Fiction category of the 20th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

Review:

"From the moment I read the first sentence, I could not stop until I finished reading. As an Arab Muslim, I found it refreshing, to finally have someone sharing my cultural background to not be a "terrorist", but be an actual "hero". The imperfections of his character are what made him believable to me. We are not perfect, no one is, but he took his imperfections & became a hero for the people, instead of a suicide bomber. If anything, I see him as a metaphor for redemption, I am extremely excited to follow these Chronicles. I have always used to say that Batman was my favorite superhero, I have no doubt from this point on, my #1 answer will be "The SandStorm". ~ Mosno Al-Moseeki


Behind the Veil: My Experience with Hijab 
by Pavarti K Tyler

Hijab is the headscarf some Muslim women wear.  There is great debate over the need, use and appropriateness of the hijab, which has fueled cultural debate and conflict.  In Islam there is a cultural practice of covering a woman’s hair and neck, this is considered modest dress and the roots of the practice are based in the Qu’ran.  There are multiple surahs (verses) and hadiths (oral histories) which are used to explain the need for men and women to dress modestly.

The specifics of what needs to be covered is controversial.  Some say only the hair must be covered, others say everything but the eyes and hands should be.  From Burquas in Afghanistan to hijabs in France, it seems everyone has an opinion.

In 2001, right after 9/11, I participated in an event called “Sisters for Solidarity.”  The sponsoring group was an interfaith movement for social awareness.  Over 200,000 women in the US donned hijab for Eid Al-Fitra celebration that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Somewhere in the depths of my basement there is a picture of me with a beautiful red-and-gold scarf covering my hair and neck. For three days in November, 2011, I went to work, the grocery store, church and everywhere else with my hair covered.

I could discuss the political reasons for doing this, or my own religion beliefs, but what I learned during those three days has nothing to do with either. I donned a headscarf for very personal reasons, which I believed deeply and still hold dear.  And every moment I wore it, I felt stronger in my convictions.  Something about a physical declaration of my beliefs was empowering and liberating.

I also felt a part of something.  Other women in hijab would stop, smile and speak with me no matter where we were.  It was a kind of sisterhood I haven’t experienced in other parts of my life.  Even when they found out I wasn’t Muslim, the kind response I received for what I was doing was deeply touching.

Simultaneously, I found the covering very oppressive.  It was hot under there, and kept slipping.  This was probably mostly due to my inexperience, but I found it physically cumbersome and something that needed constant monitoring.  I was also very surprised to find that a number of co-workers with whom I had been close to did not speak with me during the days I was wearing hijab. I received sideways glances on the bus and subway, not the usual smiles and commuter camaraderie I was accustomed to.

There are three female characters in my novel, Shadow on the Wall.  Each has an opinion of and relationship with wearing the hijab.  I pulled on my short experience to inform how I wrote these characters. Rebekah, Darya and Maryam - each of them represents a different archetype of Middle Eastern women.  While it's certainly not an exhaustive representation, the issues of gender and the veil are explored in depth through the course of the story. 

What I learned during the Sisters for Solidarity movement - and what I hope Shadow on the Wall conveys - is that covering is a deeply personal experience. Ideally each  woman would be able to decide for herself without the pressures of politics, family or cultural assumptions.  Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world, which is what makes the discussion so volatile. 

I’m curious as I move into publishing Shadow on the Wall how readers will feel about these women.  Which will they respond to?  With which will they identify? 


Shadow on the Wall can be purchased on Amazon by clicking the icon below:


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Excerpt:

Knock. Just one solid sound.

Recai sat up too quickly and fell back against his mattress gasping as Rebekah stuck her head into his small room, her face creased with worry and fear.

“Cover yourself and stay silent,” she whispered before closing the door and rushing back into the living room to retrieve her burqa and open the door. Recai heard the movement of the heavy fabric she wore on top of her house dress as she moved across the room to greet their visitor. He wondered if she had retrieved her father’s gun which he’d overheard Hasad say was under the couch in the living room.

Before hiding beneath the thin sheet that covered him, he reached down and pulled the rug from the floor and threw it across his legs. He covered his head and melted against the wall with the pillow on top of his upper body. Feeling foolish, Recai laid there, wishing he had his ID, his phone, anything to help bribe his way out of this situation if it was indeed the RTK at the door.

Perhaps it’s just a neighbor, he thought. A neighbor come to ask after Rebekah’s father’s health or to borrow some salt. His attempt at rationalizing the unexpected visit did not quell his fears. The RTK made a habit of performing home inspections, especially if they suspected a woman alone. It wasn’t a safe time for anyone under the jurisdiction of Mayor Yilmaz.

Rebekah’s voice from the front room was soft and gentle. Recai could not make out the words but he managed to hear the sound of another voice. Was it a man? What man would she let into her home, knowing he was back here and her father away? Only one she could not turn away. Recai squeezed his eyes shut and prayed to Allah that it was her Rabbi, come to check on her.

“ . . . Only a storeroom, my father sleeps back here with the supplies and sometimes the animals so I can have the proper privacy a woman should be afforded,” Recai heard her say.

Rebekah’s voice was right outside the door to his room. She remained calm, not a hint of fear betrayed her. Few were able to handle themselves as coolly as she sounded. Recai prayed her strength would be enough.

They were in trouble. The only men who would feel at liberty to explore a woman’s home when she was alone were the RTK and their morality police. No one else possessed the sheer hypocritical audacity. And to come all the way out here, to this nothing village without even a paved road or proper mosque. Recai had the fleeting thought that perhaps this was not about Rebekah but about him and however he had ended up in the desert on the brink of death.

The door swung open abruptly, startling Recai despite his knowing it would happen. He was as covered as was feasible. He willed himself to fade into the shadows of the small room and tried not to breathe. In’shallah this would all be over soon.


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