Local author Pashmina P’s debut novel follows the stories of four multi-cultural women trying to “find” themselves
She’s of Indian origin, was born in Thailand, grew up in Hong Kong, lived in the UK and the US, is married to a Brazilian, has a step-father who is Chinese, and recently released her first book in Bangkok (with a Canadian publisher). And if that isn’t international enough, wait till you read local author Pashmina P’s debut novel, The Cappuccino Chronicles, which deals with four women, of various multi-cultural backgrounds, who flit from one country to another trying to “belong”.
A recent book launch, held at Indus restaurant, was attended by the hoi polloi of Bangkok’s Indian society, with many well-heeled Thais and foreigners there as well.
“They’re all amazing creatures of the world,” proclaimed Pashmina, using the same airy generality with which she describes herself: “I’m a global citizen of the world, who lived in Asia for many years, taught theatre for 16 years, and has so much to thank the universe for.”
She does not believe in specifics, which is why it is difficult to identify the four female protagonists in her book, except to know that they belong to the upper crust of society (like the writer herself). There is a vagueness about them, which can appear obtuse to the reader, but it’s part of the writer’s chosen perspective. Even the chapters have no titles, except for the names of the cities or regions—“South East Asia” for example— where the characters dash in and out of.
It’s a stretch to believe that the book is truly an “international bestseller”, as proclaimed on the website and by the Amazon sticker on the book jacket, but nevertheless the author has already announced not one, but two, sequels to the novel.
So, do you love coffee as much the women in your book?
Not at all, I’m totally a tea-drinker.
Are the characters based on women you know?
They are complete fiction, but every one of them is a part of me. I always hear the song I’m Every Woman in my head!
They seem to be yearning for love.
Love comes from within. You have to love yourself wholeheartedly for anyone else to love you. Ultimately, it is self-love that heals the women. The theme of the various stories focuses on simple spirituality through multi-cultural ideals.
How long did it take you to write?
I finished the whole manuscript in 2003, when I was pregnant with my first child, but I got so caught up in my new life that I put it away and only re-visited it again in 2016. I then wrote the final version in eight months.
What did you do before you became a writer?
I was a teacher for 16 years, and prior to that, I worked in the PR industry. After I left the PR industry, I went into theater arts. Now I’m a writer, and I also hold writing workshops.
Can you tell us a bit about these writing workshops?
My workshops are designed to inspire writers to pursue their dreams. I am part of a coaching program called ‘Thinking Into Results’, which helped me unlock my desire to become an international bestseller. A good writer writes to, and from, the heart.
It seems odd that you are an ‘international bestseller’, when you have just launched your book.
My publishing company, Hasmark Publishing, channeled my book to different parts of the world, and told me that my book was an “international bestseller” in seven countries!
Why does Bangkok, the city where you now live not figure in the book?
This book is part of a trilogy, and Bangkok will probably appear in the forthcoming books. Four generations of my family live here. When I was, younger Bangkok was our Christmas, summer, and Easter home. Whilst my grandparents looked after their 13 grandchildren, their own children would travel the world to exotic places. interview by Lekha Shankar