Haunted by a tragic accident from when she was young, Chala's whole life has been moulded by guilt and secrets.After the death of her stepfather, who took his own secrets to the grave, Chala re-evaluates her life and volunteers at a Kenyan orphanage.There, she gets caught in the turmoil of the country and takes action to help those suffering.Chala must eventually return home where she is forced to reveal a truth that may ruin her future, making her realise that maybe some words should be left unsaid ...
I'm delighted to welcome you to the Blog Tour for Yellow Room by Shelan Rodger, published by Cutting Edge Press on 18 June 2015. I'm a big fan of Shelan's writing, and a big fan of Cutting Edge Press who publish some wonderfully quirky books.
I read and reviewed Shelan Rodger's first book Twin Truths back in May 2014. I really enjoyed it and was so looking forward to reading Yellow Room. My review was posted here on Random Things in May of this year. Please do go and read the full review, here's a little taster of what I thought;
"The author's depiction of life in Kenya during the turbulent times after the election of 2007 are shockingly realistic; the tensions and horror of what happened are stunningly portrayed.
The real beauty of Shelan Rodger's writing is her ability to connect with the reader so well, Yellow Room is gloriously detailed, beautifully written and extremely memorable"
I'm delighted to welcome Shelan here to Random Things today, and to share with you a guest post that she has written .... all about the lion in the tent ....
There’s a lion in my tent
I have a strong emotional connection to Kenya, where a large chunk of Yellow Room is set.
My father grew up there and is buried in the bush with a can of baked beans, a bottle of Guinness and a copy of Tristram Shandy. My mother still lives in a log cabin overlooking lake Naivasha. I lived in Kenya for six years: three on a flower farm in Naivasha, one of the areas hit by the post-election violence of 2008 that took over a 1000 lives, and three on another farm on the lower slopes of Mount Kenya. I got involved with lots of things: a local orphanage and a women’s prison, leadership training for a conservation project, an anti-discrimination and sexual harassment training initiative in flower and tea farms, and writing my first novel. In the house that came with my husband’s job in Naivasha, I could have tea in bed in the mornings and watch giraffe through the bedroom window. It was a very special time.
The first time I ever visited this beautiful and troubled land of stories I’d grown up with, I was sixteen and eager to try out the Swahili from my phrase book. Two phrases still stand out:‘Ni me sahau mbwa yango.’ I’ve forgotten my dog. Not ‘I’ve lost my dog’ but ‘I’ve forgotten my dog.’
And even more useful: ‘Hatari, kuna simba kwa hema yango.’ Help, there’s a lion in my tent. This has always made me laugh, but when I was thinking about what to say at my book launch for Yellow Room, it struck me that actually this is a pretty good description
of life. We all live with a lion in our tent. And this lion is unpredictable; sometimes it sleeps soundly and you want to bury your face in its fur, sometimes it rages and roars and you call out for help or try to run.
The great thing about reading is that we can empathise and share the excitement and the danger of a lion in someone else’s tent - without actually worrying about being eaten ourselves. Getting lost in a good novel is like entering a parallel life. The ultimate exercise in empathy; we get to play with different identities inside our head. We may react in different ways to the characters, their dilemmas and their challenges. We may relate more or less directly to what they go through but if the book absorbs us we are inside the experience. The journey triggers our emotions, our own demons or dreams, our own memories. But, however powerfully the novel may linger in our minds after the last page, it is finite. We turn away and move on – and that knowledge, that essential lack of commitment when we read a book is what enables us to take the risk of engaging with people or subjects we might shy away from in real life. The lion in a paper tent is safe.
And sometimes, the lingering of that lion in our minds, as we read and finish a book, can help with our own real lions, when we turn back to see if they are sleeping or raging. There are times when reading a book is honey for the soul compared to real life…
I wish you luck with your lions and hope you enjoy the one in the tent of Yellow Room.
Shelan's life is a patchwork of different cultures.
Born in Nigeria, she grew up among the Tiwi, an aboriginal community in Australia, and moved to England at the age of eleven.
After graduating in Modern Languages from Oxford, she travelled to Argentina, where she spent nine years teaching and setting up a language school.
Another chapter in England was followed by six years in Kenya, where she got involved in learning and development, with an emphasis on anti-discrimination.
She now lives in Spain, working in international education - and writing.
For more information about Shelan Rodger, visit her website www.shelanrodger.com
Follow her on Twitter @ShelanRodger Find her on Facebook