Haunting Bombay is a…?
Literary ghost story. It is also a mystery and a love story. Some call it historical fiction. It’s set in 1960s India.
What is it about?
The story opens on the day that a wealthy family’s newborn baby ‘accidentally’ drowns in a brass bucket. Another child, Pinky, is adopted into the family and becomes haunted by the ghost of the dead baby. Compelled to unearth the truth of the drowning, Pinky’s search takes her from the family’s affluent colonial bungalow to the darker parts of the city – the slums, the red-light district, the drinking dens, the burial grounds. It is ultimately a story about a family’s darkest fears and desires, and the power of truth.
Do you believe in ghosts?
I believe that there are other realms – metaphysical, supernatural, divine – that exist beyond what we can experience with our physical senses.
If your book was one of the five elements, which one would it be and why?
Water. Much of the book unfurls during the monsoons and there is a lot of liquid imagery: breast milk leaking, birth water defiling a sacred altar, vaginal blood enticing malignant spirits, illegal toddy fermented in city sewers, magical coconut-milk elixirs, watery curries, and rain, rain, rain.
Do you believe in reincarnation?
Have you ever had a glimpse of a past life?
Not in a clear way, but I sense that in one I was part of an ancient monastery, one based in a mystical tradition. I think many of the things we are drawn to in this life come from unfinished business or experiences in our past lives.
Any thoughts on what you’d like in a future life?
Let’s talk about this lifetime. What five words describe you best?
Romantic. Driven. Happy. Quiet. Searching.
What’s your dream job?
To be a writer-in-residence at a fantastic college or university. That, and to keep writing novels.
What has been your biggest obstacle?
Living with Crohn’s disease.
What is that?
An auto-immune disease that affects the digestive system. It is considered incurable here in the West. But I don’t believe it.
What do you believe?
That our bodies have an incredible ability to heal themselves. But that this healing requires a shift in consciousness. My aim is to cure myself via alternative healing modalities, and I’m about 85% there.
What skill do you wish you had?
A photographic memory.
What is something you’ve learned since your book was published?
There is an elusive but vital balance between passionately going after what you want and patiently allowing things to come to you.
What is your favorite American superhero and why?
Wonder Woman. She touts the ideals of love and peace, and has the ability to communicate with the natural world. I am fascinated by her golden lasso which compels those bound within it to tell the truth.
What’s something about you that most people don’t know.
I’m a Reiki healer and a classically-trained pianist (though I haven’t played for twenty years).
From Gandhi: When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.