But What About Your Writing, Mitali?

I've been doing a ton of author visits this fall, for which I'm grateful, and also enjoying several new adventures with social media. But what's been happening with my primary vocation, you might be wondering? Inquiring Fire Escape visitors deserve to know.

With Bamboo People in the copy-editing stage, I'm getting ready for a Fall 2010 release from Charlesbridge by reserving a domain name and gathering resources (it's not pretty yet, but it's a start.)  Can't wait to see the finished cover art, which I'll be posting there and here soon.

I'm almost done with a chapter book called Tiger Magic that was commissioned by a doll company. It's a set in the Sundarbans of West Bengal and features the endangered Bengal Tiger, one of my favorite creatures on the planet. More on that to come.

On December 1st, I'll be retreating a bit from the virtual world and beginning a new novel. Can't say much about it, but I've been scribbling ideas longhand in a journal, giving my imagination time and space to meditate on the story. It's exciting to be in the conception phase again after a few years.

In the meantime, if you're wondering what Bamboo People is about,  read on ...
Bang! A side door bursts open.

Soldiers pour into the room. They’re  shouting and waving rifles.

I shield my head with my arms. It was a lie! I think, my mind racing.

Girls and boys alike are screaming. The soldiers prod and herd some of us together and push the rest apart as if we’re cows or goats.

Their leader, though, is a middle-aged man. He’s moving slowly, intently, not dashing around like the others. “Take the boys only, Win Min,” I overhear him telling a tall, gangly soldier. “Make them obey.”

Chiko isn’t a fighter by nature. He’s a book-loving Burmese boy whose father, a doctor, is in prison for resisting the government. Tu Reh, on the other hand, wants to fight for freedom after watching Burmese soldiers destroy his Karenni family's home and bamboo fields. Timidity becomes courage and anger becomes compassion as each boy is changed by unlikely friendships formed under extreme circumstances.

This coming-of-age novel takes place against the political and military backdrop of modern-day Burma. Narrated by two teenagers on opposing sides of the conflict between the Burmese government and the Karenni, one of the many ethnic minorities in Burma, Bamboo People explores the nature of violence, power, and prejudice.