Indo-American Author Documents “Hometown” Experience In Debut Novel


HOUSTON – 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.

“Along the way you’ll be entertained and enlightened by this smart and witty coming-of-age novel that gets to the heart of ‘growing up multicultural’ and making your way as a minority woman in America today,” said Jim Barnes, Editor, Independent Publisher Magazine.

“The Hometown,” documents the racial experiences of an Indian girl born and raised in Indiana. 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.

In Houston, she doesn’t get questioned about being Indian. The South is very different from the Midwest and Mala can’t take the word “y’all” seriously. On her career path, she lands a job in the energy industry and falls for work-obsessed Cyril, a Creole who works in her office building.

The death of the sister she can’t remember, her love for ’80s rock, and her past racial experiences follow her everywhere she goes.

Leena Ceraveeni graduated from the School of Journalism at Indiana University. She lives in Texas.

The Midwest Book Review writes: “Finding a new home can lead to many unusual situations. “The Hometown” is a novel following Mala Thomas as she embraces a new spin of life in Houston, Texas and facing life as an Indian-American in the south. A story of career life and finding love, “The Hometown” is worth considering for general fiction collections.”

Still Flying, is a unique story concerning a plane crash and the destruction and debris that was scattered over the ocean floor of the Arabian Sea.   Four kids ventured down to the water’s edge to obtain a glimpse of the crash site. There the kids meet up with a wise fisherman who witnessed the crash and they learn about eternal life as he informs them that “the souls of the passengers are still flying.”

Peter Gonsalves, Author of Clothing for Liberation: A Communication Analysis of Gandhi’s Swadeshi Revolution, writes… “It amazes me to think that Julian D.  dared to enter the mind of a child to articulate the everydayness of life from there…and yes, he succeeded rather well in coming up with tid-bits of wisdom for ‘children’ of all ages.  Our adult-erated world needs to listen and be healed by the voices of innocence.”

Julian’s background includes conducting one of the first research studies on street children and addiction.  Acclaimed by UNICEF, the research findings were used jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP).  His ground-breaking qualitative analysis of addiction in families in India’s drug capital was part of the first Benchmark Survey conducted nationwide. His proposal for immigrant men who Abuse their spouses was adopted in North America and continues even today to bring value to communities in the Peel region.  As a result of his extensive research background, becoming a writer was a natural progression for him.

Even today Julian D., a Mississauga based, Registered Social Worker and Author struggles with the battle of mind over heart, research over stories and of course the adult self versus the inner child.  As you read the stories in Lords of the Last Benches you may say “I am no different from the author.” True, this may be the case but with one difference, we need to go back to the time when we were kids and visit our triumphs, our failures, experience our smiles and tears and this will bring about the Champion in us.  Currently, the author is working on a sequel, aptly entitled, Champions In Us.