If you’ve read both my novels, you already know that An Unexpected Exile is a very different type of read than Later With Myself. LWM is raw and intense; it will make you squirm. LWM has its funny moments for sure, but its emotional impact comes from my having written such a highly personal story in the first person voice. In fact, a few readers have told me it is so personal, they couldn’t make it past the Prologue.

An Unexpected Exile was my attempt to lighten things up a bit. It offers readers intelligent “comic relief” after my very exhausting and soul-wrenching experience writing LWM.  But because of this, I realize that AUE will not pack the same emotional “punch” as LWM. It’s not supposed to.

AUE will make you laugh out loud while forcing you to take an honest look at the stupid things we women sometimes do when pursuing our most indisputably implicit female goals: Love and Marriage. As you read AUE, you’re supposed to ask yourself these questions:  “How strong is my own need for adoration? What price am I willing to pay for an elusive marriage proposal? How comfortable am I, really, with my own sexuality?” What AUE boils down to is this: If society does not afford us women the same (nonjudgmental) right to sexual expression as men, how will we ever know the difference between lust and love?

And yes, there are subthemes worth mentioning, too—the power of language, for example, and the unassailability of Americans’ self-professed supremacy in the Western hemisphere and the world, particularly in matters of culture and capitalism.  But these are just the sprinkles—the ice cream is the sex. Much as I hate to paraphrase George Bush (Sr. or Jr.), “It’s the sex, stupid.”

In conclusion, what both my novels have in common is that they each tell darkly humorous stories while tackling taboo themes that are important to women. Of course, I am still trying to find my niche as a writer. But I already know this much: I don’t want to be pigeonholed into crafting essentially the same story over and over again with only slight variations (as so many popular and successful writers do). As one of my favorite authors, Thrity Umrigar, said at a recent book reading, “I want my books to stand for something.”  I hope that Later With Myself and An Unexpected Exile each does precisely that, albeit in very different ways.