Author Leena Ceraveeni’s debut novel, “The Hometown,” examines the journey of a 23-year-old Indian American woman and her search for love, success, and something beyond the ordinary. The novel provides a witty and colorful illustration of what it’s like for an Indian American woman to beat the odds and embrace the unexpected.
The inspiration for the novel came to the author after a co-worker told Ceraveeni that she has an Indian accent, even though she said she does not have one. Afterward, she began recalling all her past racial experiences and wrote them down. “I documented future experiences and ended up with a journal of ignorant comments,” Ceraveeni said in an email. “I decided to weave them through a plot and mold them to fit the storyline.”
Indian Americans have been asked if they know the Indian people who work at the gas station down the street.
"He thought all Indian people did not eat meat. He said if Indian people would eat the cow they wouldn't starve."
Even though it had been her home her entire life, Leena Ceraveeni felt like an outsider growing up in central Indiana. She was the daughter of Indian immigrants, living and going to school in predominantly white community of Perry Township.
The US is seen (deservedly) as one of the most tolerant and diverse cultures in World. So it comes as a surprise when a Indian-origin girl, born and brought up in the country, chooses to base her first novel on her brush-ups against racism and alienation, growing up in a town in the US Midwest.
"I wanted to fit in when I was younger. I was so self-conscious. Now I'm glad I was an outsider. I have a story to tell."
“The biggest challenge was to sit there and really write it,” Ceraveeni said. “It was worth it. I had always wanted to write a book, and it is very fulfilling to have accomplished that goal.”
From India to Indiana
Indo-American Author Documents "Hometown" Experience In Debut Novel
Leena Ceraveeni’s debut novel, “The Hometown,” has been selected as Editor’s Choice by Independent Publisher Magazine, the voice of the independent publishing industry. These books are honored each month for exhibiting superior levels of creativity, originality, and high standards of design and production quality.
Editor's Choice: Indian American Author Documents Racial Experiences
“I wanted to blend in and I was self-conscious about being Indian. I was in denial at times."
Indian People Smell like Rice and Curry
Says Leena, “I gradually became more comfortable with my Indian heritage."
“He said I didn't notice my Indian accent because I picked it up from being around my parents,” said Ceraveeni.
Each chapter of The Hometown focuses on a different racial experience when 23-year-old Mala Thomas packs up her Acura Vigor and makes an impulsive move to Houston.
Leena Ceraveeni’s debut novel, “The Hometown,” documents the racial experiences of an Indian girl born and raised in Indiana.
Love the fact that I received an email with the subject: Indian People Smell like Rice and Curry! I was so curious! I thought it was a joke! That is, until I found out it was a book, written by Indian American, Leena Ceraveeni.