Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Cheryl's novel RESCUING RANU made its debut on Amazon today. The book is about Nela Sambashivan( the sister from Cheryl's first novel Shiva's Arms,) who returns to her native India to research the mathematics of collectives and is drawn into the lives of ten year old Ranu, the cunning motel-keeper who exploits her, and an unscrupulous Uncle who believes that everything is for sale. Nela’s transformation from abstract thinker to selfless guardian begins when she rescues Ranu from a forced marriage and confronts her miscalculations about sacrifice, survival, and the mysterious alchemy of love.
This is what Cheryl has to say about the origins of the idea for the story: "One Sunday, my husband was reading the paper when he burst into laughter. “What? What?” I asked. He showed me a cartoon of two brothers and eight nephews drowning. “Well, that’s macabre.”
“No, that’s Hamilton’s Rule,” he told me, “which tells us under what conditions altruism is manifested. The man on the shore must determine how many nephews are worth one brother.” Just the scaffolding I needed for Rescuing Ranu! It would be interesting to put my protagonist, the headstrong mathematician Nela, in a situation where she would be forced to go from abstract thinker to altruist.
Other questions arose from that. How related do you have to be to make the cost-benefit ratio of saving someone favorable? And what of the relationships not based on blood? Since Nela had to undergo some kind of transformation, what could be the catalyst for such a change? A man? A child? Possibly. Love could soften the emotional scars Nela had built up through years of straddling two cultures. The plight of immigrants, the lives they make elsewhere, and the families they leave behind, raised yet another question: how much can one person stand to lose? When confronted with dueling loyalties, which part of a divided self goes, and what stays? Themes of sacrifice, survival, and love began to take shape on the page. Suddenly I was in business!"