Fiction that comes from personal experiences and emotions impacts the readers deeply. Author Pushpa M. Parmar succeeds in doing that with her book ‘Promises for Tomorrow’ that got released earlier in 2023.
In an exclusive conversation with us, author Pushpa Parmar shared candidly about her personal life, her writing journey, her upcoming books, and much more. Before we dive into her interesting answers, let us first know a little more about the author.
About the Author: Pushpa M. Parmar
Pushpa M. Parmar is a Canadian author & activist of Indian descent born in South Africa. She published her debut book ‘Promises for Tomorrow’ in 2023 which she wrote more than 10 years ago. It is a compelling narrative that explores the intricacies of the South African Indian experience.
She has completed an Arts degree in History with a minor in Languages- French and Spanish. Pushpa also worked in the travel industry for years and then became an ESL teacher.
Her parents were born in South Africa but were originally from Gujarat, India. His father was a high school teacher and was also an anti-apartheid activist with the ANC. He had to flee South Africa, under threat of arrest, torture, or death in the mid-1960s. His wife/my mother and a family of 4 young children joined him in Zambia, where they lived for a few years until we moved to Canada in 1969.
Pushpa was born in Johannesburg South Africa but grew up in Toronto, Canada from the age of 5 years old. Pushpa is married with 3 grown kids and they were all born and grew up in Canada. Before the kids, her husband lived and worked in the US and in the UK to finally settle in Canada. His husband was born in Mwanza, Tanzania, and grew up in the UK.
Further, author Pushpa M. Parmar shared more about her childhood, her writing journey, inspirations, and more interesting things about herself. Let’s get straight to her interesting answers.
What were you like at school? Any childhood memory you would like to share?
I was a very quiet and shy kid and read a lot of books, but had lots of friends to play with after school in the neighborhood I grew up. My favorite place was the library and started my love of reading with “Little House on the Prairie” and the Nancy Drew series.
What is your biggest achievement till today?
My biggest achievement personally, has been seeing my 3 kids grow up to happy and good human beings, all very independent and smart in their own way. Professionally, I would say being able to support others to learn and succeed, whether be in language or career.
Also, of course becoming an author and am still surprised that people like the book! I have also recently qualified as a postpartum Doula and infant massage instructor, helping new parents with newborns.
Which writers inspire you?
I loved all the classics in English literature and Greek classics and Shakespeare, but also enjoy romance novels and horror- I Love Stephen King and Anne Rice! I have read many historical fiction writers from around the world – French, Spanish, Russian, British, South African, Indian, and Canadian.
For writing inspiration, it would have to be Canadian author Margaret Atwood, and American authors Stephen King and Toni Morrison. I love their styles of writing and imagery. Lately, I have been reading more novels and stories about women written by women.
Writing is stressful at times. How do you relax your mind?
To relax, I watch old movies from the 40s and 50s, most of them Black and White. When I write, I listen to music from the 70s and classical.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Live life as though nobody is watching and express yourself as though everyone is listening.
~ Nelson Mandela
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Believe in yourself and remember your voice and your thoughts have value, no matter what others tell you!
What books do you like to read personally? What are you reading currently
Currently, I am reading “Babel” by R.F. Kuang and also “On Our Best Behavior” by Elise Leohnen. I actually loved reading horror and historical fiction for many years but I like a variety of genres now.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
“Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. It is impactful and timeless and resonates with me when I look at how governments, society, and patriarchy, at a global scale, still manage and control women’s bodies and how women are treated in society today.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing?
I had dreamed of being a writer, first because I was a reader. Reading books and watching movies and TV made me want to be able to create something that was interesting, educational, and impactful to people.
I wrote this book 10+ years ago when my children were in middle school and spent most late evenings writing a few pages at a time. It took me 2 years in total with breaks in between when the life of a mother and wife dominated my time.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I usually write at night, when I finish all the tasks and errands of running a family and household are completed. Also, I am a night owl and have the most brain energy and creativity then.
What is the reason you write for; is it for the readers or your own self or some other thing?
I wrote to challenge myself to complete a lifelong desire to write something and be published. Also, I realized that I have so many stories that I can write about and share with people specifically women to show them, they are not alone in their aspirations and struggles. I write to myself and for other women.
About the Book: Promises for Tomorrow
Promises for Tomorrow by Pushpa M. Parmar is a captivating journey through the life of Rekha, a 12-year-old growing up in 1940s South Africa. Parmar skillfully portrays Rekha’s challenges as she takes on various roles within her family. The novel touches on themes of resilience, family dynamics, and the pursuit of dreams.
With warmth and depth, Parmar weaves a poignant narrative that explores cultural complexities and the universal quest for personal freedom. It’s a heartfelt tale that invites readers to connect with Rekha’s world, reflecting on the promises we make to ourselves for a brighter tomorrow.
What genre is your book? What draws you to this genre?
My book’s genre is historical fiction and women’s fiction. I am obsessed with history, any kind of history. I love to hear how people lived, loved, and thought and I like to see how and if society and thinking have changed or not. I love to listen to the older generation and hear how they lived and grew up.
What makes ‘Promises for Tomorrow’ stand out in this genre?
”Promises for Tomorrow” stands out in this genre, because there are not many stories about the Indian diaspora in Africa, Indian patriarchy, and coming of age story all based in South Africa.
Also, there are not as many stories about Indian women in South Africa and how they struggled in the past as there are about men in South Africa.
What/Who was the inspiration behind the character of Rekha?
All the women in my life, who are my mother’s generation were the inspiration for this story. They all have unique and interesting stories as immigrant females in South Africa but because they were semi-illiterate or were deprived of education at a young age, their oral histories/ stories are lost.
What should a reader expect from ‘Promises for Tomorrow’?
Readers should expect some education about Indian culture and South African history, as well as, drama, heartache, and endurance of spirit and character for the women, as they struggle to survive and thrive in the dominant patriarchal society.
The story brilliantly captures the South African Indian culture, the lives of immigrants, and the colonial era of the 50s. What was the hardest & the easiest thing while writing this book?
I wanted to make sure that I got the historical facts correct in terms of place, houses, and material things people owned. I wanted to add so much more to the story, from other characters’ perspectives but there was so much to cover. The easiest part was writing about the story of their lives.
Any special experience about ‘Promises for Tomorrow’ that you would like to share?
I am so happy and proud that women of my age and older find this book so emotionally moving and how it resonates with their story and how they grew up in Indian patriarchal society, in South Africa, or India, or in Western society like North America.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I plan on writing more novels, with so many stories of women, Indian and not, or different generations and backgrounds.
Are you working on your new project? What will be your next book about?
I have already written a few short stories and submitted them to a writing contest in Canada.
What does success mean to you as an Author?
I was excited about getting an ISBN number and then being in the Library of Congress and even more excited that people like the women and tell me how it resonated with them. Financial success would also be nice, only so I can spend more time writing at my leisure.
What are your views on self-publishing and traditional publishing?
I did self-publishing with a hybrid publishing company, only because I wanted to know if readers would like my writing before I pursued more traditional routes in publishing. Self-publishing also requires a lot of time and effort to promote yourself and your books, which can be quite daunting and time-consuming.
One learning that you’d like to pass on to young debut authors.
If you have a story, write it! Read a lot of books with different writing styles and see what works for you. Enroll in writing classes or workshops and register in writing contests. You never know until you try! I waited too long but am still happy I finally did it!
Your opinion about Vowelor.
Vowelor is a very professional company that supports the author/writer with detailed and specific tasks and offers many options to reach the goals for success and branding.