Authors for Nepal
It’s always been a dream of mine to go to Nepal, to see the snow-capped mountains strung with confetti prayer flags, to visit the monuments in Kathmandu, sit by the lake at Pokhara. So setting my second book there was the next best thing for me. Sadly I didn’t have the time or the finances to visit this beautiful country for research, which is how I came to meet my friend, a British woman who met and married her husband there. Her husband and his family are private, so she has to remain anonymous, I couldn’t even thank her properly in the acknowledgements, but she painted such a vivid picture of Nepal and its people it has stayed with me and sometimes have to remind myself I haven’t actually been there.
Lake Pokhara at sunset, framed by the ‘pink’ Himalayas
My friend told me of the wonder and horror of this amazing place, of the poverty, the disease, the sheer hardship of life in Nepal. But she also told me how warm and gentle the people are – and described the way the sun melts over the mountains, turning them pink and the lake at Pokhara a molten, fiery red. As a child her husband would walk 3 hours to school through those mountains, with no shoes. Then the rains came and the river swelled, and one morning his best friend drowned on the way to school – he was just 9 years old. My friend told me how living in Nepal had made her reassess her own life and values making her feel ashamed of the ‘me’ ‘me’ ‘me,’ of the selfie age we inhabit here.
Durbar Square, Kathmandu before the Quake and after…
Lives, families, homes, business and cultural heritage of Nepal have been swallowed up by this monster – a reminder of how small and vulnerable we are. We watch a reporter in his cobalt blue padded jacket talking to the camera as someone’s dead child is carried out of shot and for a few moments we want to cry. But then we go back to worrying about the stuff that affects us – calories and cars and where to take the kids at the weekend. We can never begin to understand what Nepal is going through, but we can help. We can go without our cafe lattes for a day and donate to one of the charities involved in rescue and aid…we can tweet and post on FB and make sure the issue doesn’t die like so many do in our fast-paced, caffeine high lives.
In the aftermath of the Nepal Earthquake, writer Julia Williams has set up Authors for Nepal for authors and agents to contribute signed books, named characters, critiques and mentoring for auction. As I write this the effort has reached over £3,000 and it’s only the second day – the money will be paid directly to http://hosted-p0.vresp.com/1270981/c5407f5609/ARCHIVE#.VUdkdwcuyGw.twitter
If you have a few minutes do take a look on the ebay site at all the great book related stuff (I’m offering two signed books and a named character in my next book) and you’d like to make a bid, we would all be very grateful… and I know my friend would too.