Friday, December 14, 2012

BOOK CLUB BASH: Interview with author Pavarti K. Tyler

Welcome to this stop in this
week-long event,
sponsored by
Novel Publicity Book Tours!!
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all participating blogs!
Please join me in welcoming Pavarti K. Tyler, author of the riveting novel, Shadow on the Wall, to A Night's Dream of Books!  Thank you for joining us, Pavarti!

Now on to the interview!

Maria: What's your background as a writer?

Pavarti:  My undergraduate training was as a dramaturge (yes, it's a real word), which means I spent a tremendous amount of time analyzing plays and theatrical theory.  Working with playwrights taught me a lot about how to present a story to an audience, but the medium of written word (where internal process can be shared) is so different from theatre (where it's all action/verbal), it took me a long time to have the confidence that I could make the leap. 

I have always written and loved books, but it wasn't until I discovered the world of fanfiction that I really started to devote myself to learning HOW to write.  After multiple 100k plus fanfics, I had the confidence to venture out on my own and write something original.  I've had so much fun with it.

Maria: Have your life experiences played a part in your writing?  If so, how?

Pavarti: I don't think there's any way to avoid bringing your own life into your writing.  The art comes in by taking your own experiences and taking them to extremes so the message transcends the specific incident you are drawing on.  I'm certainly not a genetically-altered species hybrid like Sera in Two Moons of Sera, or a Windego like Hugo in Consumed by Love, but I do know what it's like to feel alone and like you're so different from other people you have to hide your true self, and I know what it's like to love someone so fiercely your body and soul burn for them. 

Maria:  I love the way you put that!  So beautiful, and so very true!  Now, your work has been compared to the work of Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie.  How do you feel about being compared to these great writers, and how does your own work resemble/differ from theirs? 

Pavarti:  It's a dream come true to be compared to these two!  Both of these authors take exceptionally difficult subjects and write about them in entertaining and accessible ways.  I hope Shadow on the Wall  is half as successful at this as their work.  Salman Rushdie has been a huge inspiration to me.  Even with the works of his that I don't particularly enjoy, I am still humbled by his commitment to telling the stories he believes in, no matter the backlash.  I turned down two publishing opportunities for Shadow because the changes they insisted on went against the integrity of the story.  When it was hard to stay the course, I looked to Rushdie for inspiration.  If he could live in exile as Joseph Anton after having a Fatwah placed on his head for writing The Satanic Verses, certainly I could hold true to the message of Shadow.

Maria: Is the RTK, the fictional Muslim organization you have created for Shadow On The Wall, based on any actual organization(s)?

Pavarti: The RTK is completely fictional.  I took inspiration from the morality police of Saudi Arabia, the civilian police force of Israel, and the Koma Komalen Kurdistan (People's Confederation of Kurdistan).  While none of these groups is exactly like the RTK, researching them helped me pull together my vision.  With the RTK, I hoped to display not only what could happen when a militia ran rampant without controls in place, but also, what happens when morality becomes a police issue.  Corruption is inevitable when law enforcement has total authority and isn't held to the laws it polices, but more than that, when the crime is of an ethical or moral nature, what's to stop the police force from elevating their authority to the level of God? 

Maria:  I'd like to ask you why the horrible mistreatment and denigration of women is such a part of traditional Arab societies.

Pavarti:  I would argue against the assumption of this question.  One of the things Westerners need to remember is that the Arab world is different from the world we know, and we don't hold the right to judgment.  In Islam, women are held in high regard.  We can argue the necessity of covering and to what degree (some argue it's only for the Prophet's wives, while others argue for the Burqua); the thing to remember is that the Islamic world is huge, and the Arab world extremely varied.  For example, there is nothing in the Qu'ran to justify clitorectomies, and feelings about this kind of abuse varies from Iran to Egypt to Somalia.  And not all Arabs are Muslims.  Many are Christians and even Jewish.  Before making an assumption about another culture's treatment of anyone, consider the way our own culture behaves.  There are many things we fall embarrassingly short on.  Violence against women and gender inequality is rampant in the U.S.  It's just of a more insidious nature, not as overt as what I display in Shadow On The Wall.  It's much easier to write about the overt threat than the more ingrained cultural one.  Hopefully, I was able to touch on them both in Shadow

Maria:  Well, you certainly make some very valid points regarding the variety to be found in what may appear to Westerners as a homogenous Arab culture.  I must disagree with you, however, regarding the comparison of overt versus insidious abuse.  Apropos of this topic, I'd like to know if this book has made you a target in any way, as has happened with Salman Rushdie and Ayann Hirsi Ali.

Pavarti:  So far, no.  I have heard from many Muslim readers, and the consistent comment I get is that the characters are human.  Some don't like the violence, many don't like the sex, but none of them have felt that I'm criticizing their culture or religion.  Really, the most negative responses I have gotten have been from Westerners who felt it was too dark or violent, but not a single reader has criticized me as a person, or made me feel threatened in any way. 

Maria:  That's certainly good to hear!  In regards to the violence, how did you deal with the writing of scenes describing rape, for instance?  Was this emotionally-wrenching for you, as a woman?

Pavarti:  I would hope that writing a rape scene, as repugnant and upsetting as what happens in Shadow, would be difficult for anyone.  I don't think it was particularly difficult for me, being a woman.  If anything, I think it was easier, because I was able to channel the fear and vulnerability women carry around with them. 

Maria:  How will your depiction of the main protagonist, Recai Osman, change stereotypical views of Muslims?

Pavarti:  In the words of my dear friend Mosno Al-Moseeki, Recai is meant to be a prototype, not a stereotype.  He is a man.  A flawed man with demons and dreams and disappointments (yeah, "d" words!), but he is a good man.  When push comes to shove, what kind of person are you?  That's the real question asked in Shadow.  When it really matters, when the stakes are high, what are you made of?  Recai is more than just an idea.  He's what we can all be.  He rises to the challenge.  He stands up and says, "Enough, this is not the way we are supposed to treat each other!"  For Recai, it comes from his faith in Allah, but it's not so different from what guides us all, be we Christians or atheists.  When you look at the world around us you, do you want to make it a better place?  Are you willing to take the risk necessary to make that happen? 

Maria: These are the kinds of thought-provoking themes to be found in literary fiction, and they do captivate me, even though I also enjoy indulging in 'literary candy'.  Incredibly, it has been said that literary fiction is slowly becoming obsolete.  I would definitely hate to see such books disappear!  Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  Why or why not?

Pavarti:  Well, I disagree because I write lit fic.  But I'm also a reader, and I love big books with big ideas.  I think readers are getting lazy, and the deluge of unsophisticated literature has contributed to that.  That's not to say I don't love a good Black Dagger Brotherhood book.  There's a place for candy in the literary world.  But we're all so busy and tired, and it's EASY to read another Twilight-esque YA book.  But I think quality literary fiction will always be around, because it feeds people's brains and souls, not just entertainment, but our thoughts.  Good books change the way we perceive the world.  There will always be a market for that.

Maria:  Could you give us a brief overview of what readers can expect from this series?

Pavarti:  The second book of The Sandstorm Chronicles is titled Prisoners of the Wind.  It will focus more on Darya and Isik, and bring the magical part of the magical realism genre more into play for The Sandstorm.  Ultimately there will be three books, all relatively short.  Shadow on the Wall is only 55,000 words long, and I did that on purpose, wanting to keep it tight.  I was worried that much longer and the dark nature of the story would overwhelm the reader.  Prisoners will be more emotional and more revealing.  I hope you'll enjoy it.

Maria:  I'd to like thank you for this very interesting interview, Pavarti.  I'm sure my readers will greatly enjoy it, as well!

Pavarti:  You're very welcome, and thank you for inviting me to your blog, Maria!  I've had a great time answering your questions, and letting readers get acquainted with my hero, Recai Osman!   


Author Bio
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, for several international law firms.  She now operats her own accounting firm in the Washington D.C. 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.
Her website is  
(The Sandstorm Chronicles, #1)
Paperback, 248 pages
Fighting Monkey Press
May 1, 2012


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.

The Reviews are in!

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
I received a copy of Pavarti K Tyler‘s new book entitled “Shadow on the Wall” to review. What I will say to you is this. Buy it. Read it. It was wonderful. Not only was it a page turner that I read in one sitting (something I have not done in a few years), the story lines were well constructed and the dots all amazingly connected.  Well done! ~ Dr Naif Al-Mutawa of
Shadow on the Wall is a complex, intense story that might not be for everyone, but it's an important story that promotes cultural awareness. If you like multi-cultural fiction, this would be a great book for you. […] I was surprised to learn after reading the book that the author is not from the Middle East, which is a testament to how thoughtfully and thoroughly she conducted her research. This is a well written and produced digital book. Tyler is doing everything right as an independent author. Shadow on the Wall is a fine first effort for what should be a successful book series. ~ This book was reviewed as part of the Wise Bear Digital Book Awards competition. Entry fees associated with the contest are administrative in nature and do not influence our honest, unbiased book reviews.
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



  1. Thank you again for hosting me on your blog! What an interesting discussion!

  2. This interview is impressive and Shadow on the Wall looks to be some book. I am very impressed by the complex and nuanced version of the world, politics, religion, etc., discussed here. It looks like such a perspective is taken up by the novel also.

  3. Thank you Brian, yes, it's a book full of big ideas which I tried very hard to present in an unbiased way. If you ever have a chance to pick it up, I'd love to hear with you think :)

  4. Hi, Pavarti!

    You're very welcome! I greatly enjoyed the discussion, as well! Thanks for visiting, and thanks as well for commenting!! :)

  5. Hey, Brian!

    Thanks for the great comment!! Yes, this is definitely a book to be read on many levels. The plot sounds like a very intense, thought-provoking one!

  6. Hi, again, Pav!

    I should have mentioned that I will be picking it up, too. The concept and ideas, although dark, ultimately show the triumph of good. I certainly want to meet Recai and witness his transformation!! :)


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