Thursday, 14 December 2017

Interview & Giveaway with Carol DeMent, author of Saving Nary

Author Carol DeMent has taken time out of her busy schedule to talk about her book Saving Nary, which is now available on Amazon!

When did you become interested in storytelling?

I always like to write things down but storytelling didn’t really occur to me until I felt the urge to tell a particular story, that of the refugees who survived the Cambodian genocide.

What was your first book/story published?

“Savng Nary” is my first full-length novel. I’ve had a few articles and stories published in professional journals and cycling newspapers here and there over the last twenty years.

What inspired you to write “Saving Nary”?

In the late 1980’s I was working at a refugee center non-profit in Olympia, Washington, helping to resettle refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. This was right after I had come from two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand, so I was very familiar with the cultures and the issues the refugees had lived through and were now facing. Their stories were heartbreaking and planted the seeds for the book I would later write.

What character in "Saving Nary" is the most/least like you, and in what ways?

I would say Gail is most like me because we both taught English to refugees and had a “hook” that enabled us to move quickly and more deeply into friendship with our students. For me, it was having lived in SE Asia; for Gail, it was her handicap and how matter-of-factly the Cambodians accepted her – without pity or embarrassment. Also, we both have a bit of the rebel in us!

What is your favorite part in "Saving Nary"?

Well, my initial try at answering this question gave away a major plot point, so I am going to be a little vague here. But I love the party scene, where the protagonist, Khath, sees a photo of a person he believes may have been Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The ensuing chaos destroys a perfectly wonderful celebration and pulls the plot into darker territory. And just when things were starting to go so well for our protagonist!!

What was the hardest part to write?

This is a great question and one that I imagine every writer who describes horrific historical events struggles with: how much of the horror to portray and how much to leave unsaid. When I wrote “Saving Nary” I very much wanted to bear witness to the brutality endured by survivors of the Khmer Rouge and the aftereffects of that brutality: flashbacks, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, depression, anger. I wanted the book to be a truthful portrayal of a very difficult time but I did not want to drive away readers by too much graphic violence.

What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

Well, I actually do have an ideal career, in addition to being an author. I am a licensed practitioner of East Asian Medicine, namely acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I love my work, and will actually be incorporating some of it into my next novel.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

I do read the reviews, and if there is a trend in the comments, I definitely pay attention to that. I am a member of a very rigorous writing critique group, The Puget Sound Writer’s Guild, so I am used to subjecting my work to hardcore assessment as I write. It’s actually very helpful!

What well-known writers do you admire most?

I enjoy reading multi-cultural fiction, so Amy Tan (“The Bonesetter’s Daughter”, “The Joy Luck Club”) is a favorite. I also like Khaled Hosseini (“The Kite Runner”, “A Thousand Splendid Suns”). Ann Pachett’s “Bel Canto” is a fabulous heartbreaker of a book. A little known author, Angela Davis-Gardner, wrote a splendid book about Japanese survivors of the atom bomb (“Plum Wine”).

Do you have any other books/stories in the works?

Two, in fact. One is a multicultural story that entwines the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine with the rough and tumble edginess of the Western frontier during the mining boom and the building of the railroads. It is set in Peking (Beijing), during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, and Montana. The other is a memoir about my years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. You can find out more by visiting my website at!


Carol DeMent will be awarding $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author 

Carol DeMent worked in the field of South East Asian refugee resettlement for seven years, and completed master's level research into international refugee resettlement policy. She lived for two years in Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer and has traveled extensively in South East Asia. Her first novel, Saving Nary, was a Finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

Follow the author on Goodreads.


  1. congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  2. Great post and thanks for the awesome giveaway :)

  3. What is the best book that you read in 2017? Thnaks for the giveaway. I hope that I win. Bernie W BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com


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