Monday 25 April 2016

Blog Tour Excerpt & Giveaway - Outcast by Dianne Noble

Author: Dianne Noble

Book Description:
Rose leaves her Cornwall café to search for her daughter in the sweltering slums of Kolkata, India.

In the daily struggle for survival, she is often brought to her knees, but finds strength to overcome the poverty and disease, grows to love the Dalit community she helps.

But then there are deaths, and she fears for her own safety.

Her café at home is at risk of being torched, and finally, she has to make the terrible choice between her daughter and the Indian children.

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She breathed in slowly, one, two, three and then out. Watched the conductor squeeze through collecting fares. The bus stopped again. How could they possibly get any more on? Babies were passed over heads until their mothers could battle their way through to reclaim them. The smells of spice and sweat increased, the rattling of the bus, loud conversations.
     ‘Start pushing,’ Ellie yelled.
By the time the bus stopped Rose had made it to the door. With one last effort she burst through the passengers trying to force their way up the steps and almost fell on to the road. Her shirt was stuck to her back and the air outside felt cool.
    ‘This way.’
She coughed as she followed Ellie through the honking traffic, held her hands over her ears.
    ‘You’ll get used to it.’ Ellie said.
     A family was living on the blackened pavement, only enough room for one person at a time to lie down. Naked toddlers. Rice boiling in a pan teetering on a charcoal fire. Filth, flies. And beyond this family, another and another, packed tight, inches away from the lorries roaring along the road. She hurried past a body enveloped in a brown blanket, studded with flies. Stepped across a pool of vomit, rushing to catch up with Ellie. Shouted out in pain as she turned her ankle on broken stones
     ‘Come on.’
     She was waiting by a footbridge. Rose tried to re-arrange her features into a semblance of calm but tears ran down her cheeks..
    ‘I know it’s tough, Mum. Do you want to go back to your hotel?’
Rose wanted very much to do just that, but she knew her street cred would be zero. She swallowed. Hard. ‘No.’
     ‘OK.’ Ellie’s voice softened a little. Was there a glimmer of sympathy there, a touch of respect? ‘Forgot to ask. Did you have any injections before you came? Hepatitis, tetanus…?’
Ellie sighed. Rose followed her down a dark passageway between two crumbling shops, the lumpy feel of broken pavement beneath her feet. Only room for single file. Kept her arms pressed to her body, unsure of what was either side. The alley led into an open space. The stench hit her first – faeces, rotting food. Crows cawed overhead. She looked up to see a tangled geometry of power lines and wires. At her feet naked children up to their ankles in rubbish, empty water bottles, used tampon applicators, yellowed cotton buds, mildewed newspaper.  A mountain of stinking, festering filth.
     ‘This way,’ said Ellie, edging past a bent old woman heaving a handcart. A cow chewed an aged vest. A parabola of pee as a man urinated against a wall. ‘Right, we’re here.’
     Rose saw a settlement of huts made by driving bamboo poles into the ground and draping empty sacks and cardboard over the top. Maybe a dozen of them on the edge of a green pool of sewage. Tiny children ran around playing, shrieking with laughter.
     ‘Where are their mothers?’ Rose asked.
     ‘Working. Trying to get money for food.’
     ‘Aunty! Aunty!’ They’d spotted Ellie, tore across the broken ground, flinging themselves at her. She squatted, gathered them all into her arms. Rose saw running sores on their limbs, stiffened.
     ‘Ellie, don’t,’ she pleaded. ‘You’ll catch something.’
My God, I didn’t bring her up to do this. All the opportunities she’s had, the best schools. She had everything I didn’t and she’s squandering it.
     ‘Good Morning,’ Ellie said to the children. ‘Now, what do you say?’
     ‘Good Morning Aunty.’
     ‘Brilliant!’ She wiped green candles from a boy’s nose.
     ‘They’re dirty, Ellie,’ Rose whispered.
     ‘No water for washing,’ she snapped. ‘One tap for the whole place and it’s only on for two hours in the morning. They can’t afford to stand in line with a bucket. They need to earn money for food.’
A tiny girl held up her arms to Rose, who recoiled as she saw movement in her hair.
     ‘Pick her up, Mum.’
     ‘I can’t.’
A woman in a thin sari dragged a sheet of cardboard towards Ellie then put her hands together as if in prayer, bowed her head.
     ‘Namaste,’ said Ellie. ‘Mum, this is Shenaz.’
The woman gave her a shy smile. Ellie squatted on the cardboard and brought out paper and pencils from her bag.
     ‘Shenaz has family here,’ she continued. ‘They share their earnings with her and in return she passes on what I teach her.’
The woman’s head was bent, her tongue between her teeth, as she started copying the words. The children clustered round to watch, pushing and shoving to get nearer. Ellie put her fingers to her lips and they quietened.
     ‘Mum, if you really want to help, talk to the children, teach them words.’
 Rose gave her a blank look.
     ‘Words, Mum. Anything.’ Her voice rose. ‘One, two, three. My name is Rose. This is my arm, my leg.’ She was shouting now and the children shrank back.
     ‘I’m sorry Ellie, really. I can’t.’
Shenaz had risen to her feet. Looked from Rose to Ellie and back again, her expression fearful. Ellie put an arm around her shoulder.
     ‘It’s OK, Shenaz. Don’t be scared. One of the boys can show my mother the way back. She’s leaving.’

About the Author
I think I became a reader before I could walk. While other people had childhood memories, I amassed a vocabulary. I was born into a service family and at the tender age of seven found myself on the Dunera, a troopship, sailing for a three year posting to Singapore. So began a lifetime of wandering – and fifteen different schools. Teen years living in Cyprus, before partition, when the country was swarming with handsome UN soldiers, and then marriage to a Civil Engineer who whisked me away to the Arabian Gulf.

Most of the following years were spent as a single parent with an employment history which ranged from the British Embassy in Bahrain to a goods picker, complete with steel toe-capped boots, in an Argos warehouse. In between I earned my keep as a cashier in Barclays, a radio presenter and a café proprietor on the sea front in Penzance.

Ten years ago I flew to Kolkata, West Bengal as a volunteer to teach English to street children in the slums. I stayed for several months and kept a journal, primarily so that I could download the horrors I saw daily. A kind of de-briefing. Not that it was all bad, the children had a huge capacity for happiness which was truly humbling.

It was this diary that grew into a novel and I was thrilled when Tirgearr Publishing brought it out as an ebook March 2016. It has already attracted a number of five star reviews. ‘A richly told tale, emotive and evocative.’ ‘Has it all – humour, pathos, spirituality.’

I have two further novels in the pipeline, Oppression, which is set in Cairo, Egypt and tells the story of a forced marriage and One Hundred Hands Outstretched, again based in India.

My website promises ‘Atmospheric Settings, Women under Pressure’ and this is what I try to deliver. If you are a fan of books by Victoria Hislop or Rosie Thomas you’ll probably like mine.

My travels have taken me to China, Egypt, Israel, Guatemala, Russia, Morocco, Belize and my favourite place, India. I keep copious notes and constantly dip into them to ensure my settings are authentic.

I live alone, when not travelling, in a small Leicestershire village. A happy life for me is writing or reading – with breaks for chocolate and mugs of tea – and occasional visits to the theatre.

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  1. One of my favorite places to travel to is Disney World. :-)

  2. I like to travel to our nearby lake: it is so pretty and a great way to relax.

  3. Paris and southern Portugal are my favorite places in the world so far :)

  4. I love visiting Canada.

  5. I love to travel to and around Egypt :)

  6. Anywhere where I can be close to the sea :)

  7. My own back yard,I would love to travel but my husband and son are unable to do to a debilitating illness that is we travel to different places in our back yard,beach,Paris,ect..just simple decorations and different menus you can go any were.....

  8. I've traveled across the U.S. in my car a couple of times, just hopped on in and picked a route. I'll go pretty much anywhere my car can take me :D

  9. Italy... but I like South Pacific as well.

  10. My favorite place to anywhere! Love random road trips!


  11. My favorite place to travel is the southern US

  12. I've never been, but I'd love to go to Australia and New Zealand.

  13. I got to go to Hawaii it was so nice

  14. I got to go to Hawaii it was so nice

  15. My favorite place to travel to is Hawaii. It is so beautiful

  16. My favorite place to travel to is Hawaii. It is so beautiful

  17. The only place I have really traveled to was Morocco and it was very pretty

  18. Mexico is my favorite place to travel!

  19. I'm not much of a traveler but I did like visiting Washington DC!

  20. My favorite place to travel is to Alaska! Just breathtaking!

  21. I really enjoy going to Cancun Mexico

  22. I haven`t travelled that much, I love to travel around my province of NL.

  23. I haven;t travelled much but love the Rocky Mountains

  24. My favorite place to travel would have to be Melbourne Florida. I've gone there so many times ever since I was a child that it feels like a second home.

  25. I love going to CO - so beautiful there!
    thank you

  26. Maria Theresa Santos26 April 2016 at 05:48


  27. My favorite place to travel is the Grand Canyon.

  28. Wherever I can see the ocean.

  29. Japan. Off there on honeymoon next week!

  30. Big cities of developed countries!

  31. Would love to travel to Ireland.

  32. California is my favorite place to travel!

  33. We rarely travel but I really loved Canada when we went.

  34. I love to travel to places I've never been.

  35. I love travelling to Hawaii, New York City and Florida!

  36. Switzerland! Love the mountains especially in spring/summer.

  37. My favorite place to travel is the beach. Any beach. :)

  38. We love to travel all along the coast of California.

  39. My favorite place to travel is Texas. Florida and Colorado are also nice for travel.

  40. We like to go to a local state park and camp by the beach for the weekend.

  41. Thanks for the great giveaway!
    I really like to travel to sunny places.

  42. I love Europe - especially the Adriatic!

  43. My favorite place to travel to is Vegas and Maui! Love the sun and heat! Looking forward to checking out this book!

  44. California would be my favorite place. I like to see Celebrities when I can.