Good morning all! I have with me today, Greta van der Rol, who has stopped by to share her new book, Black Tiger, and answer a few questions for us. Links to purchase this book will be found at the bottom of the post, so settle in and enjoy yourselves!
He haunts the jungle – and her dreams
When Dr. Sally Carter travels to India to regroup from a broken heart the last thing she wants is to fall in love. But Raja Asoka (Ash) Bhosle is entirely too attractive to ignore, even though she knows it can only end in tears. Hers.
Ash guards his forest and the precious creatures within it, protecting the rare tigers from mindless slaughter, and a secret that lives in legend. From the moment he sets eyes on the Australian doctor, he wants her, even over the objections of his mother and the unsuitability of her cultural heritage.
While Ash fights tiger poachers, Sally struggles against cultural prejudice. Can the Legend of the Black Tiger be the bond that brings them closer together, or will it be an impossible belief that rips them apart. The closer Sally comes to understanding what the legend means, the more frequent the nightmares become. Is she losing her sanity, or is there more to Sally than she herself knows? The answers lie buried in her past.
When the Black Tiger breaks free to stalk the night, only one thing will control the beast.
1) The romance in this story takes place between an Indian man and an Australian woman. Tell us, without giving away too much, what is the hardest obstacle that Sally and Ash have to overcome as their relationship is blossoming
People who have been to India often talk about being confronted by the huge cultural gulfs in that country. The rich are very, very rich and the poor live in abject poverty. I’m talking about people – whole families – living in the streets. You walk past dead bodies lying in the gutter. Beggars everywhere. That sort of thing has a profound effect on Westerners who are used to clean, sanitary conditions. Sure, every country has slums and people living in dire circumstances but you wouldn’t find anything like these Indian sub-cultures in Australia. That’s Sally’s issue. No running water, no sewage systems, squat toilets, lack of hygiene, poor food, women in their place, noise, dirt.
For Ash, he is expected to marry within his class, to the right sort of woman. He has an aristocratic background and I’ve drawn that as being an even greater incentive to chose carefully. He has another concern, too. He has to find a woman who carries the were-tiger gene. They ar
e as rare as tigers.
2) Cultural differences can make a relationship harder than usual. What are some of the basic differences between Ash’s upbringing and Sally’s?
Ash is the only son of a raja. Rajas don’t have any political power in India any more but I think it would be rather like in England where Lord Fauntleroy has no political clout, but he’s sure got some social appeal. So Ash grew up in the family palace, among the family’s loyal servants. He has been educated in England and now he’s developing his business interests. He’s a wealthy man.
Sally was the daughter of a storeman, growing up in a working class suburb of Melbourne with her older brother. But Sally was smart and worked hard to get a position in medical school. She supported herself by working at Macdonald’s part time. Her father died of cancer when she was still studying and her mother and brother turned to religion, so Sally moved out by herself. So… no privilege, no servants but the chance to make something of yourself in a Western society.
3) Ash’s mother seems to be a hindrance to them falling in love, or at least being able to be together. What about Indian culture makes it so hard for his mother to view Sally as a suitable lover/wife?
Ash’s mother knows he must marry someone with the were-tiger gene, or the were-tiger dynasty is finished. Apart from that, though, Indian marriages are still mainly arranged by the parents. Divorce is not an option. In the normal way of things, Ash’s parents would have found a sui
table wife for him. But Ash’s father died while Ash was away at university and finding the right person has become his problem. Like the tigers themselves, those with the were-tiger gene are disappearing. But one thing Ash’s mother is certain about – no Westerner will carry the gene. It’s impossible. So Sally is not an option for her son.
4) Ash must be an alpha male to be able to defend the tigers he loves so much against poachers. Is he sensitive and sweet as well? Or is he the dominating type?
He’s an alpha male for sure. He fights constantly to control the were-tiger, which is totally savage. I think he’s sensitive and sweet when it comes to Sally, but there are times he doesn’t come across that way because of the circumstances and because he knows an affair with her would be just a dalliance.
5) Just for fun, what is Sally’s favorite part of Ash? Eyes? Lips? Smile?
Shoulders and butt. There’s nothing better than a tight little arse (as we say in Australia) rising up to wide shoulders. Is it warm in here?
EXCERPT*****Sally has just arrived in India and has witnessed a family being evicted from a village. She has just found out that Ash, who is driving her to the tiger park, is the Raja.
The cruiser breasted a hill an
d started down into the village of Kinpoor. She sat up, peering through the windscreen. “Are we there, yet?”
“Nearly. One more village and then we’ll enter the park.”
At the outskirts of the township he slowed down and waited while a skinny, slab-sided cow with the typical Brahman hump, twitching ears and sad, soft eyes, ambled out of the way. Sally gazed around her, round-eyed.
“Have you been to Asia before?” he asked.
She gave the ghost of a smile. “Just ten days in Bali when I was a student.”
This must be very new, very different for her. The opposite of his
own introduction to the world, when he’d left India to study at Cambridge. He’d been miserable until he’d learned to accept what was.
He drove on, easing down the street. A scooter carrying a man, and a woman holding onto a child, wobbled past a cart piled high with corn stalks. Scooters and bikes w
ere everywhere, in the road or leaning against walls and trees. Revving engines, beeping horns and the conversation of people filtered through the windows of the car.
“It’s so noisy. And so many people,” she said.
“Yes, very different from a modern, Western city like Melbourne. The people have different expectations, different values, too.”
“Like evicting people over a superstition?” Her voice dripped contempt.
He pushed down the tremor of annoyance. He couldn’t expect her to understand. “It may have been a last straw, it may have been a vindictive neighbor planting tracks. They may have just had it in for him for some other reason. But it is up to the panchyat—the village council. I have no power there.”
He pressed his foot on the accelerator as soon as he could. “Besides, are you so sure something like that could not happen in Australia?”
“No.” She snapped the word without even thinking.
“No-one has ever been ejected for being the wrong color, the wrong nationality, the wrong religion?”
She sucked in a breath, frowning a little. He must have hit a nerve. Just outside the village, the towers of Tengai palace gleamed white above
the enclosing hedge.
Twisting in her seat, she stared out the window as they passed. “What’s that?”
“A palace? Where you live?”
Not likely. Share a wing with his mother? She pried into his life quite enough as it was. “It’s a hotel, now.”
“Oh.” She gazed over her shoulder at the receding building.
He could guess what she was thinking; was ‘home’ going to be a hovel?
“Don’t worry, Doctor Carter, your accommodation will not disappoint. But if it does, room can always be found for you at the palace.”
Greta van der Rol loves writing science fiction with a large dollop of good old, healthy romance. Black Tiger is a slight departure from her usual genre, because it’s contemporary and paranormal., but, like her other books, it’s fast-paced and action-packed. She lives not far from the coast in Queensland, Australia and enjoys photography and cooking when she isn’t bent over the computer. She has a degree in history and a background in building information systems, both of which go a long way toward helping her in her writing endeavors.
She also has a love for animals and nature, which is why all profits from the sales of Black Tiger will go to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation to help tiger conservation.
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