A literary journey to modern India

For many years, expat partner Edith Hummel dreamed of writing a novel. She explains how studying a course was the key to realising that ambition.

Scrapping ‘Plan A’

When we last caught up with Edith she was planning to publish a guidebook to Santiago. “Well, the pandemic put an end to that idea! I would have had to check all of the listings again, knowing so many businesses I had featured would have closed. The whole family was at home – my husband was working remotely, my kids were studying online. I needed my own project, so I wrote a novel!” says Edith.

Cultural contrast

“For as long as I remember I have wanted to write a book. When I was living in India, some years ago, an idea came to me. It was inspired by meeting a tour guide who worked for the Goethe Institut and spoke fluent German. In my novel the life of an Indian editor, Raj, is contrasted with that of his German colleague, Sven. They have the same professional status but Raj is bound to his culture, the expectations of his family and religion, whereas Sven’s free to pursue happiness in his expat life.”

Where to start?

“However, having an idea doesn’t mean you can write a novel! I had no idea how to do that. With the expatriating company’s support, I signed up for a writing course based on Joseph Campbell’s monomyth ‘The Hero’s Journey’. It was the first time in my life that I’d ever studied online! But that’s how I learned to construct a novel, step by step.

Encouraging words

“I also discovered you don’t write a novel alone. I joined a community of writers, many of whom – along with friends and family members! – read drafts and offered feedback that helped me realise this dream. Besides, I have learned so much about editing, cover design and publishing (digital and print) along the way. It’s been hard work at times but incredibly rewarding!”

The next idea

Titled Karmaji: Das Leben ist kein Wunschkonzert, Edith’s novel is now available both as an ebook on Amazon and in print. She also hopes to translate the book into English in the near future: “I’m just so proud and thrilled that this door opened for me. If it hadn’t been for the support of my husband’s employer and Global Connection, I would have dreamed of writing this novel to the end of my life. Now I’m cooking up a new idea: a romance in Patagonia!”

Photo: Edith writing her novel at home