Friday, 24 July 2015

Yellow Room - Shelan Rodger

It is my great pleasure to welcome Shelan Rodger, author of Yellow Room to my blog.  Yellow Room has been published by Cutting Edge Press, a publishing house with a reputation for books that are hard hitting, that will stretch your mind, that are meaningful and will touch your heart; covering subjects that many would shy away from. I love Yellow Room, it is a thought provoking read that has stayed with me long after I turned the final page.  Today I share a Guest Post written by Shelan, next week I'll be sharing my review.

About the book...
Set in England and Kenya during the post-election crisis of 2008, a psychological drama that explores the power of secrets to run and ruin our lives

Chala has grown up in the shadow of a tragic act—as a small child she killed her baby sister in their yellow room. Even now, in her thirties, her state of mind is precarious and both she and her partner struggle with the demons of her past. When a one night stand leaves Chala pregnant, and her beloved adoptive father dies, she decides to go to Kenya and visit the scene of her parents' deaths. Slowly memories of  the events in the yellow room return, the political uprising puts a new meaning on life, and the future can only be faced by making a choice—to deceive or tell the truth.
About the author...
Shelan's life is a patchwork of different cultures. Born in Nigeria, she grew up among the Tiwi, an aboriginal community in Australia, and moved to England at the age of eleven. After graduating in Modern Languages from Oxford, she travelled to Argentina, where she spent nine years teaching and setting up a language school. Another chapter in England was followed by six years in Kenya, where she got involved in learning and development, with an emphasis on anti-discrimination. She now lives in Spain, working in international education - and writing.

Guest Post...
Yellow Room. Yellow is the colour of the third chakra, associated with our sense of self-worth, the place where guilt and secrets dwell. Why are we so fascinated by secrets? Why do we have secrets? The phrase ‘skeleton in the closet’ was first used in the early 1800s – what a wonderfully vivid image that still is!

Whether they are born of fear or shame, denial or the urge to avoid hurting another, so often secrets create pain and guilt. We pay a price for the things we keep bottled inside us, and sometimes the bottle bursts. Secrets are often bound up with relationships and how we define their boundaries. How much should you share with your partner? What belongs to you and you alone? Secrets protect people – sometimes the owner of the secret, sometimes an innocent who would otherwise become a victim. So in theory, they can be harmless…can’t they? They are often connected to our sense of who we are and how we are seen by the world. In the widest sense of the word, they can be about the things we bury or hide from ourselves. Secrets are a clue to our sense of personal identity if we listen to them.

With Yellow Room I wanted to explore the power of secrets to run our lives. I wanted to delve into the grey areas in relationships. The urge to protect someone you love from the truth. And – incredibly – it has only just dawned on me while writing this blog post that the reason for this is probably because of what happened to me as a child. I can share this now because the person I wanted to protect is buried in the African bush, in – ironically - a place called Secret Valley. My secret: when I was 9 years old, I was sexually abused by a man who was supposed to be a friend of the family. My reasoning for not sharing this was very simple. ‘If my father knows, he will kill the man who did it and then my father will be sent to prison.’ So I kept it buried deep inside my 9-year old little body. For years. Now, as an adult, I can look back and understand the toll that took. As the novelist Jennifer Lee Carrell wrote, ‘A secret is a kind of promise…it can also be a prison.’ I saved my father from prison but I created my own…and when I finally shared what had happened with my mother, it was a huge relief.

The personal story I’ve just told you is very specific but I believe we all live with different kinds of secrets inside us. If we look deep into our own hearts, we can feel their presence. Perhaps they are specific, perhaps vague and undefined. Should we attempt to articulate them, at least to ourselves, or are they best left alone? 

Secrets are like scars that heal over a wound which never quite disappears…I hope you enjoy the secrets of Yellow Room.

Huge thanks Shelan for another wonderful book and for visiting my blog today :)

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