Thursday, January 25, 2024

Book Tour + #Giveaway: The Pleasure Seeker by Robyn Michaels @RobynMichaels9 @RABTBookTours

Literary Fiction

Date Published: Sept.2023



Dayal Singh is brilliant, quirky, & has Asperger's. Son of parents trafficked to East Africa from India just before independence, he knows he's Sikh, African, and calculus is the evidence of God.

He becomes fascinated by a broken piano. and is offered a piano to sell, buys it and learns to play.

Mentored by his older brothers, he follows them to Singapore to further his education, then goes to Switzerland.

He falls in love with the granddaughter of the man who bought his father. She tells him that the situation is impossible, and that he must stay in school as long as his way is paid.

His youth is fraught, being an other. In Switzerland, he is constantly proselytized to, which only defines for him how he wants to live. He's studying physics and engineering, but finds peace in playing the piano. He meets other students, they jam, and suddenly they are rock stars...which Dayal never imagined could happen.

He agrees to meet Sita, the daughter of a Sikh man his father met, and Dayal thinks they are both in agreement about how they will live and raise children, but things gradually go downhill. When Dayal learns Sita hasn't been truthful with him, he has to make a decision.

Interview with Robyn Michaels

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction? 

So many things,  There are so many ways to tell a story. I've read a couple of both Susan Choi's books, & Haruki Murikami's, and wonder why they had to use so many words to say what they wanted to say.  Did they make stories richer by adding more?  No, they made them more confusing. I generally like Anne Tyler, and I loved Kiley Reid's "Such a Fun Age,"  a story she tells very well.


How do you select the names of your characters?

For this particular book, I used an online source for common Sikh names.


Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

No,  I'm not writing mysteries. I try to make everything straight forward.


What was your hardest scene to write?

I changed the wording in the scene where Dayal has breakfast with his children and  talks to them about love and sex, and what he wants in a partner. He's also telling them, at the same time, his biggest issue with their mother. But writing about his early sexual experiences was difficult, I didn't want him to come off as a jerk, but I looked back at my teenage years, and most of the guys I knew were jerks.


Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I want each book to stand on its own, but will probably have the same main characters.


What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

My goal is to reach enough people who  feel as I do:  we're spiritual, but not necessarily religion, don't believe in an afterlife, but feel it's a matter of integrity to not make excuses for hurting others.  We know we don't know much about Africa, or many other places. Also, we've been flim flammed  in terns of understanding real history by people who have an agenda.  There is still slavery and human trafficking, missionaries are still taking advantage of people, and we all recognize entities that we have to deal with that are ripping us off.  I ran this by an editor and several BETA readers, which helped me clarify a lot.  In terms of this particular story, I wrote what I wanted to say.


What inspired you to write The Pleasure Seeker?

In the late 1980s, I volunteered on a project in Kenya, at a girls' school.  We were making bricks. Entry level, low skilled labor. A teacher asked me to teach her lesson (they wanted the students to get used to listening to American accents),  Her lesson was, "How we Know Jesus is With us Everyday in our Lives."  I told her I couldn't teach this,because I'm a Jew, & Jesus is NOT with me...which led to an intense discussion.  We were not only the 1st white people they had ever met who weren't missionaries, we were the first white people they had ever seen do physical labor!  In my own community in the US, I was not a minority.  But lots of people have never net Muslims, Jews, or Sikh. I started learning about Sikh, a religion that says everyone is equal (Men & women, no caste, either), and being altruistic cleanses the soul.


Can you tell us a little bit about the next books in The Pleasure Seeker or what you have planned for the future?

I write a lot of short stories, and I blog about once a week at  Mostly book reviews, commenting on current events, and 'dog stuff'.  I'm a retired dog groomer, I've titled several dogs, & I'm a member of 4 dog clubs. But I will only do Ebooks if I can't market this as paper.  It's daunting.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in The Pleasure Seeker?

Dayal, the main character, is the son of parents trafficked to Africa from India after WWII.  His father was bought by a Jewish business man.  Dayal has 2 much older brothers who give his education a huge head start.  He falls in love with the granddaughter of the man  who bought his father , Mara. She has 2 sisters, 1 of whom, Shayla, stays in regular touch with Dayal.  He also has his mentor, Dr. Schultz, his bandmates:  Peter, Adam, and Oscar, and his wife, Sita, her mother, Fatima, his son, Simran and daughter Mena, and a few minor characters.


What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Incorporating research I'd done about human trafficking from India, early colonial impact on Africa, and sound engineering.

About the Author

I am retired dog groomer and have titled dogs in performance and conformation. I didn't go to college until I was 30, and took CLEP exams to avoid prerequisites. I have a degree in anthropology with concentrations in African & Indian studies, and a master’s in urban planning. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi. I have had several short stories published in literary journals, and the pet industry press.


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