Characters always come to me before plots. Plots in fact are something I have
wrestle down, often earning me a few hundred gray hairs before a book is done.
But the characters, they are what make sacrificing my jet black locks worth
every lost strand. When I started writing A CHANGE OF HEART, I
write a story about Nikhil, a doctor with Doctors-Without-Borders, finding
healing after his wife's death when he meets the woman who got his wife's
in a transplant.
The woman was Kimi, a wealthy politician's daughter who has been sick her
life, and then her father acquires the heart that saves her but it's by
nefarious means. Despite all her physical challenges, Kimi was such a bright
optimistic character that she really was more a healer than someone in need of
healing, so she just didn't work as someone who fit with Nikhil, who really
needed to resurrect the dead healer inside him. Jess — initially a secondary
character whom the villain employs to entrap Nikhil — was that force for him.
Nikhil and Jess just worked, leaving me with Kimi whom I loved, and I had to
discover her story.
So, really, A DISTANT
HEART came from this girl with all these challenges who refuses to feel
a victim and fights for everyone around her. What would that take— to live and
feel alive in the confines of an entirely isolated ivory tower? What would it
take to keep you going, to keep you grounded and hopeful and fighting? It
take a huge spirit, but also someone who engaged and nurtured that spirit.
Someone like Rahul, who can stand up to anything, shoulder anything, no matter
how much he's tested, even if he himself doesn't know that about himself.
I think of Kimi as a rocket who has been pumped full of fuel for years. She's
been stuck in a sterile isolation chamber for twelve years. While in
she's obsessed with the news and with gathering knowledge about the world.
makes her somewhat of an insufferable know-it-all, but she's been revving her
engines for years, waiting to be blasted into the world. So when that finally
happens nothing will hold her back, not her parents' being overprotective, not
the love of her life breaking her heart.
She's determined not to let the world and all its rules and limitations get in
her way. This, of course, comes with some learning experiences, because seeing
the world through books and screens isn't the same as living in it, but she
learns from them and keeps going. The way she interacts with the world is
exactly how I wish I could.
Her name means “miracle” in Sanskrit, and to her parents, that’s exactly
what Kimaya is. The first baby to survive after several miscarriages, Kimi
grows up in a mansion at the top of Mumbai’s Pali Hill, surrounded by love
privilege. But at eleven years old, she develops a rare illness that
her to be confined to a germ-free ivory tower in her home, with only the
Arabian Sea churning outside her window for company…. Until one person dares
venture into her world.
Tasked at fourteen years old with supporting his family, Rahul Savant
up to wash Kimi’s windows, and an unlikely friendship develops across the
plastic curtain of her isolation room. As years pass, Rahul becomes Kimi’s
eyes to the outside world—and she becomes his inspiration to better himself
enrolling in the police force. But when a life-saving heart transplant offers
the chance of a real future, both must face all that ties them together and
keeps them apart.
As Kimi anticipates a new life, Rahul struggles with loving someone he may
yet lose. And when his investigation into a black market organ ring run by a
sociopathic gang lord exposes dangerous secrets that cut too close to home,
only Rahul’s deep, abiding connection with Kimi can keep her safe—and reveal
the true meaning of courage, loss, and second chances.
[Kensington, On Sale: December 26, 2017, Trade Size
/ e-Book, ISBN: 9781496705761 / eISBN: 9781496705778]
Sonali Dev's first literary work was a play about mistaken identities
performed at her neighborhood Diwali extravaganza in Mumbai. She was eight
old. Despite this early success, Sonali spent the next few decades getting
degrees in architecture and written communication, migrating across the globe,
and starting a family while writing for magazines and websites. With the
of her first gray hair her mad love for telling stories returned full force,
she now combines it with her insights into Indian culture to conjure up
that make a mad tangle with her life as supermom, domestic goddess, and world
Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and
often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the
world's most perfect dog.
What is the most unique challenge you'd face if you were locked away as Kimi was for health reasons? Tell us below and be entered to win!
11 comments posted.
I'm thankful to not ever having to face this problem, but I have an idea boredom would be my greatest challenge. I would need to find ways to create an interesting life within the confines of one room.
(Anna Speed 1:40pm December 31)