Welcome to the book tour for On Loving by Lili Naghdi! Today she took some time out of her busy schedule to give us a bit of insight into her and her writing. Get some writing advice and learn about some of her favorites in this interview! I also have an excerpt from the book for you to enjoy before you download your own copy. Be sure to also follow the rest of the tour to learn even more about her and her book, plus multiple chances to leave her more questions and comments as you enter the giveaway.
Any weird things you do when you’re alone?
I don’t talk to anyone at times for many hours just focusing on things I need to do, I really enjoy the silence. No humming, nothing! It seems weird even to me!
What is your favorite quote and why?
The quote from Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet. I even wrote it in my book since I love how it sounds and what it means: Love is the religion and universe is the book.
I think if we all believe in what he once wrote, there wouldn’t be any more wars, killings and anything even close to all the disasters human beings ever endured. Loving each other and respecting our differences make life much easier.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Margaret Mitchell. I was a very young girl, almost 14 living in Iran when I read Gone with The Wind’s translation in Farsi. I loved it because it taught me things I didn’t know about the civil war era and how people reacted in the face of war at the time. Although I experienced the bitter taste of war living in Iran, but it was another take on war and the ugly face of slavery portrayed in a beautiful love story. I liked her way of looking into her characters’ emotional state and reactions. A wonderful job she did as a writer.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Clarity of the scenes and dialogues, intriguing concept that gives you a sense of curiosity and enables you to learn things you hardly knew before or never paid attention to, staying away from any prejudice while focusing on the important facts and the beauty and attractive nature of the story itself.
Where did you get the idea for this book?
By creating this story, I wished to explore and also shed light on different ways love, as an intense emotion, could affect people’s lives. I am a family physician with a key interest in women’s health and psychology. I am also a huge fan of literature and a true believer in its undeniable influence on people. I intended to take the readers on a journey through this love story to make them more aware of the physiology and psychology of love, loss, and some of the emotional and mental challenges of life itself. These were all based on the true feelings and emotions of people that I encountered through my life and worked with over the years in my practice. Being an Iranian—Canadian, I’ve always intended to find a way to introduce concepts about ancient Persian history, culture and particularly Persian literature to people who are not familiar with them by simplifying the way they can explore these issues. So, I tried to use and combine deep and meaningful visions of Hafez, Rumi and many other Persian writers with beautiful and eloquent works of Hemingway, Austen and many others while following a love story with its own delicate twists.
In 1972, Dr. Rose Hemmings has just finished her general surgery residency when a haunted stranger is shot in front of her in a New York City bar, and their lives become forever intertwined. And when, having been given the blessing of her adoptive father on his deathbed, Rose travels to prerevolutionary Iran to discover the past her American family kept secret from her, she finds a true Pandora’s box. It is a world both foreign and familiar, in which her primary place is as the heiress to a great tribe. In Iran, Rose will find family she never dreamed of, her own people, and a man who loves her as passionately as he does the rare black roses of his garden. She will return to the United States carrying a new secret and torn between two men: the one she loves helplessly, and the one who loves her unconditionally.
Woven throughout with Persian poetry ancient and modern, On Loving is the story of one woman’s lifetime of love and loss, of societal change in a nomadic people, and of overcoming personal challenges, including mental and physical health, to find true contentment. Above all, it is a story of love: its physiology, psychology and philosophy; the many forms it takes; its myths and truths; its challenges, its joys and its gifts.
Read an excerpt:
“It was almost nine when I got back. Kim had fed Layla and put her to sleep. I sent Kim home for the night, kissed Layla’s face good night and went to my room to change for bed. Siyavash’s letter was still on the floor. I bent down and picked it up. Inhaling the scent of the dried black rose, I wandered to the window and stared at the thin, even white carpet of snow on the street. Where do I want to be? I asked myself. Somewhere beautiful, calming. Somewhere full of life, with a boundless, vaulted sky above my head, perhaps! I then closed my eyes and let myself being taken to Siyavash’s majestic rose garden in Isfahan. I could feel the breeze in my hair, could feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I remembered how Siyavash had looked at me with love and admiration there. I was blind not to see it then. I couldn’t recall Dean looking at me like that … I opened my eyes and read Siyavash’s letter again, raking my fingers through my hair. Then, nervously rubbing my neck, I went to the phone next to my bed. “Good evening,” I said when the other end of the line picked up. “Rose! Is that … Is that you?” It was Siyavash. “Yes, it’s me!” I paused and swallowed the lump that had risen in my throat. “Come back home! Just come back to me!” I quickly hung up and rushed to the window, as if for air. Snowflakes were still dancing their way down to the ground. My chest felt so constricted that I could hardly breathe. Am I questioning Dean’s love for me? I wondered. Am I comparing it to Siyavash’s? But that was impossible! I shook my head. I’m just giving Siyavash a chance to redeem himself, a proper second chance. But the reminder to myself was pointless: the truth was something else, and I knew it! I was at fault here. I was the guilty — guilty of blocking not only my ears but also my soul from hearing Siyavash’s voice, so ignorant indeed that my heart was finally reproaching me for my bigotry and cruelty. I folded the letter and tucked it away in the drawer next to my bed. I’ll know soon how I need to deal with him, I told myself. Or I’ll just have to find a way around it!”
About Lili Naghdi
Lili Naghdi is an Iranian Canadian physician who was born and raised in Tehran. She continued her education and research after moving to Canada with her husband and daughter in 1996. Today she practices family medicine in Vaughan, Ontario, with particular interests in women’s and mental health. Being a family physician gives her the privilege of connecting with patients and participating in their care with a deeper understanding of the physical, emotional and social adversities they face. Interacting with people of many different backgrounds has also provided Dr. Naghdi with the opportunity to grow as a person, a physician and an author.
Growing up in pre- and post-revolutionary Iran, Lili became fascinated by the magical realm of literature, poetry and history. She began collecting prized quotations at the young age of eight. Dr. Naghdi has written poetry and short stories in both Farsi and English, but she eventually followed William Wordsworth’s advice to “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,” and turned to fiction.
On Loving is her first novel. Inspired by both the ordinary people she has the honor to support and by the great literature of Persia and the world — from Hafez to Forugh Farrokhzad and from John Steinbeck to Margaret Mitchell — Dr. Naghdi passionately agrees with Boris Pasternak, whose Yuri Zhivago is a physician and patriotic poet, when he writes: “Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary.”
Amazon author page URL: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile
Barnes and Noble Author URL: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/books/1130591456?ean=9781999497002
Lili Naghdi will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway