Thursday, December 7, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway for SAVING NARY by Carol DeMent

Saving Nary
by Carol DeMent

GENRE: Fictional


A Finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Saving Nary explores the losses, loyalties and secrets held within families broken by war and genocide. This compelling novel presents a palette of unique characters who struggle to make sense of the events that led them to America, even as they ponder the bewildering culture and lifestyle of their new homeland.

Refugee Khath Sophal lost everything when the Khmer Rouge swept into power in Cambodia: his livelihood gone, his family dead or missing; his sanity barely intact from the brutality he has been forced to witness.

Now resettled in the Pacific Northwest, Khath treads a narrow path between the horrors of his past and the uncertainties of the present. His nights are filled with twisted dreams of torture and death. By day he must guard constantly against the flashbacks triggered by the simple acts of daily living, made strange in a culture he does not understand.

Then Khath meets Nary, a mysterious and troubled Cambodian girl whose presence is both an aching reminder of the daughters he has lost, and living proof that his girls, too, could still be alive. Nary’s mother Phally, however, is another matter. A terrible suspicion grows in Khath’s mind that Phally is not who or what she claims to be. A split develops in the community between those who believe Phally and those who believe Khath. And those, it seems, who don’t really care who is right but just want to stir up trouble for their own personal gain.

Khath’s search for the truth leads him to the brink of the brutality he so despises in the Khmer Rouge. His struggle to wrest a confession from Phally ultimately forces him to face his own past and unravel the mystery of his missing daughters.

Excerpt One:

As the sun rose, Khath sat cross-legged in a lotus position in the small Buddhist temple nestled below Khao I Dang Mountain. The barbed wire perimeter fence separated the mountain from the refugee camp, but the mountain lent its power to the area nonetheless. Pra Chhay and two other monks chanted the Heart Sutra, a prayer of enlightenment, the rhythmic drone rising and falling in a soothing and familiar hum as the scent of incense hung heavily in the hot, humid air. About thirty refugees sat on the straw mats covering the wooden floor of the bamboo temple. The lips of many were moving as they softly chanted along with the monks.
Khath’s lips remained still, his heart empty. If asked, he would not disavow the teachings. He believed the teachings, yet the words of the Buddha had lost the power to move or to comfort him. He felt somehow distant from the teachings, as though they controlled behavior on a different world from the one he inhabited. It was a very lonely feeling.
The monks chanted on, a background hum that began to irritate Khath. He might as well be listening to the drone of mosquitoes as he toiled on the dikes under the watchful eyes of the Khmer Rouge, their guns aimed and ready, afraid to brush the insects away from his face lest he be beaten for not putting full attention into his work.
Observing the others in the temple, Khath envied them their faith. Pra Chhay often said there were two levels of Buddhism, one being the simple devotions taught to uneducated villagers; the other consisting of the higher practices and theories studied by the scholar monks.

Angels with Attitude Interview

What would you have done differently if you were the main character of your book? 

I would not have been as reckless as Khath, the protagonist, was during the last days in the refugee camp, when getting in trouble could have jeopardized not just his future but also his brother’s future.  But when we learn Khath’s motives for confronting his Khmer Rouge enemy, and watch his restraint in not killing the man when he had the chance, we can’t help but admire him.

What was your inspiration behind this book? 

I worked for seven years resettling refugees from Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos in my hometown, which was an experience that literally turned my life around. The stories of great hardship and loss stayed with me and I just had to write the book. 

Why did you become a writer?

Lifelong dream…maybe because I read so much as a child and really admired the way a good author could lift you right out of your surroundings and transport you to another time and place.

Do you have a favorite author or authors? 

Oh golly.  There are so many terrific authors. Jim Lynch, Khaled Hosseini, Amy Tan, Erik Larsen, Bill Bryson, John Le Carre, Ann Patchett, Margaret Atwater… Basically, I like books from which I can learn about human nature and the world in which we live.

Do you like to write your books in a continuing series?

Interesting that you ask. Quite a few of my readers have wondered if I planned to do a sequel to “Saving Nary” because they were interested in knowing what happens next.  At this point, I am working on a new novel but in the future I might do another book that picks up where Saving Nary left off.

If you could date any character from any book, who would it be and why?

What a fun question! I always liked “Strider” before he got cleaned up and turned into “Aragorn” in the Tolkien books. Rough and rugged guys with hearts of gold and impeccable manners ring my bell!

What kinds of books do you like to read in your spare time? 

All kinds of stuff!  Thrillers and international espionage, historical and multicultural fiction, narrative non-fiction. An occasional classic or biography. I belong to two book groups so there are always books to be read! When I am working hard on my own writing, I tend to read non-fiction because I don’t want to be distracted by a good novel.

As a reader and writer I think it is important to get to know your fans and make a connection with them as an author who takes the extra step to hear what their fans think and want in their continued writing is continued success and key to selling more books .Do you agree with that? 

I do!  One of my favorite things to do is meet with book groups that have read Saving Nary and discuss the book with them. I get good feedback and am able to provide background information to readers and get to know them personally.  Often, they are hosted in the home of one of the group members, and it makes for a very intimate setting with wide-ranging conversation.

Do you cry when writing sad scenes? 

Not when I write them, but I get a little misty-eyed when I read them aloud to myself to check for the flow of the language.

Did you have a Cover Designer? 

No, I did the design myself, using a photo from a research trip I made to Cambodia. 

If you were able to dine and have a one on one with your favorite writer/author who would it be? 

I would like to spend an evening with Leonard Pitts, Jr. He is columnist for the Miami Herald but also wrote “Freeman” a very powerful novel about a runaway slave who travels back to the south just after the end of the civil war. It is a love story but also a story about regrets and responsibility, loss and redemption.  Pitts thinks deeply about big subjects and doesn’t mince words. It would be a fascinating evening!

Do just re-read your favorite books? 

Absolutely!  I have a shelf of “comfort books,” just like comfort food.  I reread them because I know they will reliably provide a chuckle, a tear or a shiver of fear.  Just depends on what mood I am seeking.

Do you ever get in a reading slump like your readers do?

No, sometimes I get too busy to be able to relax with a good book, but I will never get tired of reading!  

What is the funniest book you ever read?

Oddly enough, it was a nonfiction book:  Bill Bryson’s “A Brief History of Almost Everything.” Bryson has a knack for focusing on the absurdities of life and the silly things humans do in pursuit of a goal. His writing is wonderfully descriptive and conjure up the funniest images in my brain!

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Carol DeMent worked in the field of South East Asian refugee resettlement for seven years, and completed master's level research into international refugee resettlement policy. She lived for two years in Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer and has traveled extensively in South East Asia. Her first novel, Saving Nary, was a  Finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.


Carol DeMent will be awarding $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


If you cannot embed the code, please use this HTML link:


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Goddess Fish Promotions said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Brown said...

congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

Victoria Alexander said...

Sounds like a very interesting book!