Rao, Veena: Purple Lotus 2020

Already in her late twenties, Tara is relieved when her parents arrange a marriage with a man who lives across the world in Atlanta. But she understands quickly that her husband doesn’t love her or even want her. The ensuing loneliness brings up memories of being left at age eight with her grandparents and mentally ill uncle when her family moved to Dubai. Now, as her husband isolates her and becomes increasingly abusive, she accepts the help of American strangers to leave and set up a life of her own. The scandal, even across oceans, is insurmountable, and she’s pressured into moving back into her husband’s house. This time when the violence escalates, Tara finds the strength, despite fear of being shunned, not only to leave, but to seek love outside the community. Purple Lotus is a story of a woman facing her fears and choosing her own path.

Veena Rao is an award-winning journalist and author. Purple Lotus, her recently released debut novel, is the winner of the She Writes Press and SparkPress Toward Equality in Publishing (STEP) contest. She is the founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of NRI Pulse, an Atlanta-based news publication. She has been recognized by The Limca Book of Records (the Indian version of the Guinness Book of Records) as the first Indian woman to edit and publish a newspaper outside India. When she is not writing or meeting press deadlines, you will find her meditating or photographing the flora and fauna on her wooded walk route.

I interview authors of beautifully written literary fiction and mysteries, and try to focus on independently published novels, especially by women and others whose voices deserve more attention. If your upcoming or recently published novel might be a candidate for a podcast, please contact me via my website, gpgottlieb.com.