Spotlight: ‘Where have we come’ by Saz Vora

Where Have We Come - A story of love, loss and family (University Reena & Nikesh Book 2) by [Saz Vora]

Where Have We Come (Book 2 of Nik and Reena’s story)

A story of love, loss and family
By Saz Vora

The Blurb

When Reena and Nikesh discover that their child has had a severe brain haemorrhage at birth, their family and friends rally around to help.

The family matriarch, Sarladevi, reminds Reena of the predictions of the Guru and Reena struggles to deal with her past. To cope with the fate of their child they both try to seek ways to help their child – Nik seeks help from Sarladevi with religious rituals and customs and Reena resorts to finding alternative medicine and support groups. Truths are revealed and a wedge develops in their relationship.

Will the chasm created by their differences in dealing with the stresses and strains of looking after a sick child pull them apart?

Or will their love for each other and their love for their child overcome the additional prejudices and customs observed by Nik’s family?

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Meet the Author

Saz Vora

I’m on the UK Asian Film Festival Board and am responsible for emerging voices – I run a Short Film Competition and am in charge of the Digital Film Commission. The Festival provides a platform for independent film and arts with a link to South Asia. We celebrate South Asian culture, its vibrancy and its many dimensions through storytelling, live events, masterclasses, cinema screenings and broader learning opportunity for filmmakers and artist. It fits with my passion for telling the wider audience stories that come from our communities.

I am also one of the founder members of the Asian Circle, an affiliate of The Circle, a charity started by Annie Lennox from the notion of women supporting, connecting and inspiring each other to become advocates and change agents, through our passion, skills and ideas.

The Asian Circle is currently working with Oxfam in rural Adivasi communities in Chhattisgarh and Odisha to challenge the social acceptance of sexual and domestic violence against women.

We are helping the government, the police and judiciary to apply the laws that protect women, and setting up support centres that offer medical care, legal advice, counselling and shelters for survivors of gender-based violence. We have also launched a state-wide campaign through local NGO’s to raise awareness of and change attitudes towards violence against women.

Our next project focuses on maternal health and women’s mental health it’s early stages, but we hope to have the same success with that as we have had with Ending Violence against Women. I’m proud to be part of this group of women helping women across the globe, and it fulfils my need to help others less fortunate than me.

As for my writing, I’m currently writing a short story loosely based on Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I am also researching and writing my second University Series – Sonali and Deepak.

Because I am a self-published author and I don’t have the marketing team of publishing houses behind me I’m busy learning the business, building my brand and audience too.

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My books are available as eBooks and paperbacks worldwide on Amazon and on other stores as well as libraries and subscription services such as SCRIBD, 24Symbols.

Author Interview

Reena & Nikesh – University Series are a set of two books but can be read separately.

They are set in the United Kingdom and tell the story of two people from different backgrounds who meet at University. It is a romance full of misunderstanding and finally an acknowledgement from the characters that they are going to spend their lives together. My Heart Sings Your Song focuses on young love, heartache and eventually reaching a happy for now. I wanted to write from a British-Gujarati perspective and write something uplifting and positive.

Where Have We Come is set in West London, some years later, when they have a child. We meet the characters again and find out what has happened in their lives. This story focuses on stresses and strains on Reena and Nikesh as they cope with the trauma of the birth of their son, and it explores their family’s reactions.

Both books feature a group of people from a multi-racial background. It’s something the South Asian Diaspora experiences. I wanted to depict characters that straddle both cultures and experience real-life situations.

How did you come up with the titles?
Both books titles are from a lyric from a Bollywood film song. I’ve taken liberties with the translation, but the essence of the meaning is still there.

Music is essential to the characters, and so the titles are based on songs they love.

Did a person inspire the main characters?
Where Have We Come is autobiographical; it deals with the issues we faced when our son was born. I wanted to write about what we went through as a couple who had a profoundly sick child, the decisions we had to make. My Heart Sings Your Song just seemed to pour out of me. Once I began writing about how they met, the scenes and dialogues just kept coming to me. It’s been a fantastic experience. I’ve read authors talking about characters coming alive, mine certainly did, and they have become part of me.

Reena experiences a lot of challenges to be with Nikesh. Why did you want to include these?
I wanted to write books to include real-life experiences. Many that are taboo, sex before marriage, alcoholism, domestic violence, abortion, casteism. These topics need to be addressed and I’ve used Reena’s story to open up the discussion.

Is Reena based on someone you know?
Reena is a composite character, certain traits are a bit of me, but mostly she is someone who has ambition and goals and despite her up-bring takes the leap to pursue them. There are many strong women and girls who do break the norm, but we read frequently of the ones that don’t.

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