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Friday, 13 October 2017

#BlogTour Yellow Room by Shelan Rodger #GuestPost #BookPost

Welcome all and thank you for stopping by for my turn on this fabulous Blog Tour! And as well as my review I am also happy to share a feature from the author herself and it makes for fascinating reading so I hope you enjoy!! Over to you Shelan!!

Eyes confess the secrets of the heart  
 ‘The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart.’ This is a quote I love by Saint Jerome (best known for translating the bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin). Think of the eyes of children before they learn to control the way they look at people, or the eyes of lovers searching for each other’s souls. Think of our intuitive reaction to someone’s eyes and face the first time we meet them, or those moments in your life when eyes have spoken without the need for words. 

Over two years ago, my partner woke up from an induced coma after post-surgery complications. The first time he opened his eyes I knew that he couldn’t see. They did start to see after a few days, but the person behind them had not returned. Each day I would look at his eyes before I spoke, searching to see if he had come back. 

In moments of intensity, we trust eyes more than words. Fear, anguish, shame, hatred, love, adoration…water from the well of emotions pours into our eyes in these moments. There are time-frozen images in my memory of the look in someone’s eyes at a crucial moment…I suspect we can all recall such moments in the stories of our own lives and relationships. 

One thing that fascinates me when it comes to writing is the relationship between this subliminal communication through the eyes and the use of metaphorical language to reach beyond words on the page. When my book was first edited, I drove my wonderful editor mad with my use of non-idiomatic language, metaphors and ‘awkward phrasing’. He was wonderful because he always challenged me and I learnt to reflect on what I wanted to keep and why. The things I keep are normally about reaching for unknown connections, creating associations, triggering emotional responses in the reader that straightforward, transparent, idiomatic language might not get to. 

In Yellow Room, there is a battered fox on the side of the road, a locked toilet door, a cloth doll. In Twin Truths, there is a rat that gnaws at the main character’s feet. Their emotional significance is developed with the narrative. But mostly there is just the occasional image or gentle jarring in the use of language to nudge the reader into meeting it head on and seeing something beyond the words. It is hard to quote out of context to show what I mean but I will try… 

From Yellow Room: 

‘She looks at her big sister with her brown-dog eyes that haven’t yet learnt fear.’ 

‘The elephant shadow of his parent’s disapproval hung briefly between them and she wished he could let her stroke it away for ever.’ 

Chala’s face is stone-still.’ 

‘Do you really want children Paul? Is it very important to you?’ She says it softly, wishing there was a way to paint away the knowledge of who she is.’ 

‘The words ‘I love you’ ached at the tips of her fingers, but a judge inside hovered over them with a guillotine.’ 

‘She watched a tiny hummingbird hovering and darting into the flowers of a frangipani tree. Shards of recent memory flashed at random in her head.’ 

‘She felt as if she were in her namesake lake all over again, a sickly cloying of dark water all around her.’ 

From Twin Truths: 

‘We looked at each other like strangers on a salt plain and I felt for a horrible moment that we were walking backwards, facing each other but walking away.’ 

‘I remembered the end of the evening like a beginning – the distant touch of soft hands in the night, and his manhood, waves on the shore inside me…’ 

‘I struggle with ghosts in my heart and delay my reply.’ 

I wonder if you noticed the same words my editor did. Our reaction to language is emotional and personal, and changes with context and time…I hope you enjoy whatever eye contact you have with the words in my books…

Author Website

Publisher Website - The Dome Press


Haunted by a tragic childhood accident, Chala's whole life has been moulded by guilt and secrets. After the death of the stepfather she adored, Chala is thrown into turmoil once again.

Volunteering in Kenya seems to offer an escape, and a way of re-evaluating her adult relationships, although violence and hardship simmer alongside its richness and beauty.

The secrets of the Yellow Room are still with her and she can't run away forever...

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If you are looking for a book to hook you in from the first chapter, then look no further! It is a powerful and shocking opening that sets the tone for the rest of the story as you follow Chala and her battle with herself to try and recover from a shocking past, and how that has such a hold over her no matter what she does.

The author does a really clever job of involving the reader as you put yourself in the characters position, and as you try and understand the power of secrets on a person and their identity.  And then that belief is thrown into question as doubts creep into Chala as she faces up to the loss of such a huge part of her life when her beloved stepfather passes away.

When she goes to Kenya to volunteer she is thrown into a completely different world, but she strangely seems more settled here despite the violence and threat going on around her, and this state of mind allows her to  escape her past and what she sees as normality, and helps her move forward in coming to terms with the past.

This is a book about families, relationships and secrets and the impact they have on you and those around you.  How your perception of people and yourself is influenced by what you believe to be true and what happens when those foundations begin to crumble and you are confronted with reality.

It was a fascinating and powerful read and the author has such an engaging style that you can't help but be swept along. As the story is told in three parts, it helps you to separate different stages in the life of the main character and I loved just how perceptive it is of human behaviour and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future!

Highly recommended!!

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