Author Pia Padukone speaks from personal experience when she writes about narrowly escaping death. “The summer before I was a junior in college, I worked as a temp in Tower One of the World Trade Center. My last day was Friday, and I was supposed to fly to London to study abroad on Wednesday. Tuesday, 9/11 happened,” she tells Metro.
And that’s not all. Padukone was also in India when a tsunami struck the coast in 2004 (luckily, she was a couple hundred miles north,) and she was also present at the 2013 Boston Marathon, cheering on her husband. “It definitely got me thinking about what it means to have fate look after you,” she says.
Such is the basis for her novel, “Where Earth Meets Water,” out next month. The main character, Karom, narrowly escapes dying in both 9/11 and the 2004 Indian tsunami and is struggling with survivor’s guilt. His girlfriend prompts him to travel to India, hoping he will find peace there, which leads him on an unexpected personal journey.
For Padukone, the very act of writing "Where Earth Meets Water" took her on an unexpected journey as well. Instead of outlining it beforehand, she just sat down each morning and wrote, not knowing what would happen to her characters. "The book started as a short story, which is actually the first chapter of the book. After I finished the short story, I thought to myself, 'There's a lot going on here, and I'm not done. I want to see where this goes.' So I just wrote it," she says.
Padukone says one of the underlying messages of the book is finding peace where you least expect it. "I personally love intertwined stories. I love the randomness of how people meet up and how their storylines become connected," she says. "Sometimes, you can find peace in someone or something you never expected to."
Having lived in New York City all her life, Padukone finds peace in a place most of us take for granted: "The only place I can really concentrate and read is on the subway. Even though there are loud conversations, performers, people playing music and babies crying, I need that ambient noise," she reveals.
Whatever your thoughts on fate and however you plan on finding peace this summer, "Where Earth Meets Water" can provide an escape that not only takes you around the globe, but also makes you think about how unseen forces affect your own life.
NYC book reading
May 14, 6 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Tribeca
97 Warren St., 212-587-5389
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