#DesiCraftChat: Amanda Jayatissa on how rage-writing helped her find her protagonist’s voice

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Hello and welcome to Episode 42 of Desi Books—news and views about desi literature from the world over. I’m your host, Jenny Bhatt. Thank you for tuning in.

Today, in the #DesiCraftChat segment, we have Amanda Jayatissa, who has a debut novel out this month titled My Sweet Girl. In this conversation, we talked about the genesis of the story, how she created the voice of her main character, rage-writing, that amazing double-twist ending, her writing journey, and more.

#DESICRAFTCHAT WITH AMANDA JAYATISSA — INTRODUCTION

Amanda Jayatissa grew up in Sri Lanka, completed her undergrad at Mills College, CA, and lived in the UK before moving back to her sunny little island. She works as a corporate trainer, owns a chain of cookie stores, and is a proud dog-mum to her two, spoiled huskies.

My Sweet Girl is a debut novel in which a Sri Lankan and an Indian meet in San Francisco and mysteries and thrills ensue. Ever since she was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage, Paloma has had the best of everything—schools, money, and parents so perfect that she fears she’ll never live up to them. Now, at thirty years old and recently cut off from her parents’ funds, she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her overpriced San Francisco apartment to Arun, who recently moved from India. Paloma has to admit, it feels good helping someone find their way in America—that is, until Arun discovers Paloma’s darkest secret, one that could jeopardize her own fragile place in this country. Before Paloma can pay Arun off, she finds him face down in a pool of blood. She flees the apartment but, by the time the police arrive, there’s no body and no evidence that Arun ever even existed in the first place. Paloma is terrified this is all somehow tangled up in the desperate actions she took to escape Sri Lanka so many years ago. Did Paloma’s secret die with Arun or is she now in greater danger than ever before?

On a personal note, I so appreciated Amanda’s dark sense of humor which is, of course, reflected in her protagonist, Paloma. The double twist ending is also very well done. And I’m glad that Amanda didn’t shy away from addressing weightier themes like immigrant assimilation and alienation. But, of course, she did it in ways that were in keeping with her characters’ voices and the novel’s themes.

And now, here’s Amanda.

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#DESICRAFTCHAT WITH AMANDA JAYATISSA

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You’ve been listening to episode 42 of Desi Books—news and views about desi literature from the world over. I’m your host, Jenny Bhatt. Thank you for tuning in. Today’s #DesiCraftChat was with Amanda Jayatissa, who has a debut novel out this month titled My Sweet Girl.

Episode 43 will be up shortly. Follow on Twitter @desibooks, Instagram @desi.books, Facebook @desibooksfb. Tag the accounts if you have requests or suggestions. Email at desibooks@desibooks.co. And please go to the website if you’d like to sign up for the free, weekly newsletter. That’s desibooks.co.

Stay healthy, keep reading, and write well.

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A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats.™
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