Blog Book Tour | The *debut!* #shortstory release of “I Still Remember” by Priya Prithviraj! A dear friend of mine I met through a book blogger panel!

Posted Thursday, 25 May, 2017 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a hostess with Writerly Yours PR – which is run by my dear friend Priya of whom I met during a blogger panel. We have become friends through our collaborations and it has been an honour to work with her on her publicity projects for Indie authors – most of whom I have been featuring a guest author feature as I cannot read digital copies of books. In this particular instance, I was allowed to print the PDF in order to read in full for which I was thankful to Priya for allowing me to do so in lieu of a paperback copy to read.

I received a complimentary copy of “I Still Remember” direct from the author Priya Prithviraj in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keen on reading this story:

When you have a friend like Priya, you are wicked happy for them to enter into the season of their publishing endeavours – as they share something in common with you! You’re both writers who started blogging about your reading lives whilst awaiting a moment where your own stories would start to arrive in print (or in Priya’s case, digitally in e-readers!). I have a profound respect for Priya, as our friendship was carved out a mutual love of literature, of diverse stories and of the joy story-telling gives us both. We’re also poets inasmuch as we’re storytellers of fiction – something I found quite wicked interesting as not every writer is a poet nor every poet is a novelist.

As soon as I learnt her short story was going to be a part of a blog tour for May, I was wicked excited to participate – not only to have a potential chance to ‘read’ a story of hers going into publication for the first time (always a thrilling day for a writer!) but I was so very happy to see this day arrive for a friend of mine! I love cheering and celebrating the writing careers of the authors of whom paths I have regularly crossed these past four years, but when you make a connection with someone you consider a dear friend in the book blogosphere – it’s a bit sweeter, isn’t it?

I hadn’t known she was writing this story ahead of time either – therefore, I did not know anything about the plot, the characters or where the story would be set. I was happily surprised to find it was a coming-of age Romance from the point of view of Korean protagonists. I regularly read #diverselit and advocate for #diversebooks by my own tag (both on Twitter and on my blog): #EqualityInLit as I’ve been a passionate reader of diverse stories as long as I’ve been a reader (see also Post). This is a refreshing change of pace for the stories I find set in Asia or from Asian POVs in both Historical and Contemporary stories. I was excited to see how Priya set the foundation of her short and how she conveyed the arc of her characters’ journey through the duration of the story itself.

Short Fiction is featured quite regularly here on Jorie Loves A Story, as inspired initially through short story anthologies published by Speculative Fiction publishers: Seventh Star Press and World Weaver Press, however, I have extended my readings outside of these Indie publishers in recent years as well. I have more short fiction arriving this Summer as I am finishing my readings of Indy Writes Books, Far Orbit: Apogee, Frozen Fairy Tales, Murder in the Generative Kitchen (see also Post), Shifty (see also Post), Trans-Continental: Girl in the Gears and Trans-Continental: Mississippi Queen (see also Interview). You will find more showcases of Short Stories & Anthologies across genres in my Story Vault.

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On my Connection to Priya:

A few years ago (in 2015), I had the lovely pleasure of meeting Priya for the first time when our paths initially crossed during a book blogger panel – wherein we had the opportunity to sign-up for a blind match wherein each pair of bloggers were being interviewed by one match and interviewing a second match in an effort to connect book bloggers who might not have found each other otherwise. It was during this incredible event, Priya and I first met – sharing a conversation on Jorie Loves A Story and launching a friendship which has endured ever since. I started to host for her authors via Writerly Yours PR whilst maintaining contact with her about possible blog features we could host on each others’ blogs. An instance of this is my essay about ‘Reclaiming my Writing Life’ which ran originally in [2015] but re-published in [2016] as an extension of how Wrimos love participating in Nanowrimo! (see also Post) We’re both writers who started a blog to focus on our reading lives whilst awaiting our season to publish our stories. Priya’s publishing season has arrived ahead of my own and I was thrilled to bits to be able to celebrate this milestone of her writerly career.

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with Priya through our respective love & passion of reading inside the twitterverse, kept in touch privately and having had previously been a book blogger / chat hostess for authors she helps publicize through Writerly Yours PR.  I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time or continuing to read their releases as they are available.

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 Blog Book Tour | The *debut!* #shortstory release of “I Still Remember” by Priya Prithviraj! A dear friend of mine I met through a book blogger panel!I Still Remember
by Priya Prithviraj
Source: Author via Writerly Yours PR

How do you forget someone you’ve loved once?

Ji-woo dreams of becoming a writer and is back in college giving it a second shot. But then Weon-gyu, her first love, comes back into her new life. Will she give up on her dreams or will she write them a happy ending?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Short Story or Novella

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing


Published by Self Published

on 14th May, 2017

Format: epub | PDF editon

Pages: 29

Self-Published Author

Formats Available: Ebook

Converse via: #YALit & #NewAdult + book tag: #IStillRemember

or #IndieAuthor + #Contemporary

About Priya Prithviraj

Priya Prithviraj

Priya Prithviraj writes poems which appear in journals such as Eastlit and the New Plains Review. She also writes about books, writing and publishing on her blog. She tweets at @priyaprithviraj.

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my review of i still remember:

You feel the longing of retracting hours off the clock to re-settle inside a moment of joyful happiness for Ji-woo, as she remembers a day spent in the company of her boyfriend Weon-gu. She’s caught between the past and the present, of letting go of events she cannot change and of hanging onto a memento of a relationship which meant so very much whilst it was present in her life. You can feel her emotional turmoil as she prepares herself to face the day and as her mind turns over the memories which are surfacing as quickly as her eyes lay sight of the evidence of the life she once lived.

It’s revealled this was a short-lived Romance between the two young loves, where everything felt quite possible and carefree; as you see Ji-woo reliving the moments which made her smile most about the boy she had become smitten with during a break from school. The flashback sequences fit in nicely with the present scenes of where Ji-woo is trying to navigate her classes and studies, as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. You see her struggle to catch the moments in class, whilst her mind continues to ferret her across the wheel of where time stopped and re-started; of where her heart felt happy and where her felt the most remorse of what was now lost.

Suddenly for a brief moment, the two of us were the only ones who were silent at the cafe as voices young and old buzzed around – people deciding what would go well with their coffee, people talking on the phone to their friends who were yet to join them, and the baristas talking to each other at the counter – the voices were so distinct now that I noticed and it seemed to me that each voice would lead me to a world of its own, isolated from all other worlds that the other voices in the cafe could lead to.

-quoted from the ARC edition of this story; text might differ from the finished copy ; used with permission of the author.

Within the context of this selected quotation, I wanted to draw particular attention to the selection in ‘bold’ as I was quite moved by the insightfulness this portion of the paragraph offered. Priya has a beautiful way of ‘saying so much’ within this breath of observation as how many of us have felt detached and removed from a living moment whilst we are caught ‘elsewhere’ by our thoughts, our memories and the internal voice we all listen to even if we’re slightly less motivated to draw into a live conversation currently at hand? The interesting bit for me is how she spoke towards the ‘hidden dimension’ of how the tangents of flowing conversation can float you away as if you’ve found a hidden vortex of experience and awareness that remains out of sight to others who are close to you in proximity but are nowhere near where you’ve become enlightened to what is not readily seen. It’s just a beautiful passage of symbolism and of conveying a particular emotional response on behalf of a character who feels vulnerable.

One thing I enjoyed is how Priya kept shifting the perspective from Ji-woo to her surroundings; she was a girl lost betwixt and between the romance she was still attached to emotionally but attempting to push forward in her life at the same time. You can see how difficult it is for her to make the transition; her feelings even match the weather outside and she finds idle conversation difficult when so much is weighing on her heart. You can sympathise with her in the scenes; as anyone who has tried to get on with the normalcy of ordinary hours after ‘something’ which took them out of the rhythm of their lives can attest to returning back to normal is oft-times quite the extraordinary thing to do. You find it harder to tuck into your routines and to find the reasons of what makes you smile so effortlessly. You can see these things in the mannerisms and reactions of Ji-woo and of how she’s attempting to go forward without quite knowing the path to follow towards that end.

Priya broached the topic of how the items we keep amongst our cherished belongings can sometimes turn our hearts a bit sour on the memories they evoke; of how certain things can dredge up the past in such a dislodging of emotional angst, it is sometimes better to purge such items out of our lives than to keep them round us. It’s a critical observation in the human condition and of how sometimes we have to own our emotional reactions even if certain things once gave us joy only now seek to dissolve us into a tangent of regret. It was quite a good piece of insight but also, one of the transitional periods of how Ji-woo was finding her way towards finding her own method of solace from heartbreak.

One critical Content Note:

The names in the story did not confuse me on the level, I’ve had Asian friends IRL to where I understand the context of how their names are spelt and ordered. Meaning, in Asian cultures the last name is said first and the first names are said second; opposite in direction to Western culture. However, what I found most interesting is there is a critical bit of information that is held back from sight of the reader until partially towards the middle of the story – which is the true identity of Ji-woo’s romantic beau. I knew there had to be a reason for this exclusion or rather, slight misdirection in the beginning – as you would have expected the character briefly mentioned in an almost off-handed way to not be as important as he truly is to the storyline – is in effect the critical second lead character of focus.

The blogger I am sharing today’s showcase of this short with goes into more direct explanation of how she resolved this misunderstanding in the text itself (the link to her review is below the tour banner attached to the bottom of this post) but for me, what I should have thought of and hadn’t – is perhaps Ji-woo was dating someone slightly older than herself and thereby, that person in particular might re-enter her life in a way we should have suspected. As too often when people meet at University, especially if there is a small age difference, there is a plausible explanation of how their lives can cross in the future if one becomes a teacher lateron. Either that, or it’s also plausible a student can fall for a Professor but that isn’t the case here it’s the first way round as I’ve theorised.

There are not definitive breaks in ‘time’ in this short story – as it’s more of a moving stream of conscious thought intermixed with flashbacks and a continuous of the timeline from a current day perspective. Therefore, when it is revealled who is who, I am not thinking it was meant to deflect the reader’s instant attention / reaction from a previous section or if it was meant to be a bit of a shock in order to better understand why Ji-woo is having issues ‘moving forward’ when this person is still readily available to be seen in her current life.

On the short narrative styling of priya:

I truly love how short stories can root you so connectively into a singular moment in time it is almost as if each sentence and page of a short story has to convey so very much in it’s short breath of time to not only capture your heart but give you a reason to feel motivated to stay ‘inside’ the moment being shared. Although I have stumbled across many prime examples of how this can be done, I especially liked Priya’s approach – as she shared an intrinsically emotional connection between the reader and the internal thoughts of her lead character: Ji-woo. You could tell what she was feeling by how she was expressing a flashback memory and in grounding us in this singular moment at the very entrance of the short, Priya granted us the best anchour to the short story!

The title eluded to ‘the one who got away’ which is an interesting angle of approach in Romance and one that I have contemplated writing myself (per a conversation shared during my chat #ChocLitSaturday) as it allows you the grace to ‘go back’ whilst ‘moving forward’ to see what ‘could have been’ vs ‘what became’. Priya approached this with the sensibility of a girl on the verge of letting go of a romance she was not yet recovered and of a man she could not yet forget. It wasn’t a traditional set-up wherein something draws the two apart but rather, something separated them and there is an ache left behind for what once was vs. what currently is. Resolving emotional angst is tricky in the best of times but when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s complicated and layered through how we allow ourselves to heal once a relationship has ended.

A beautiful side inclusion in the story is how too often people re-sell their belongings rather than donate them to charity shoppes or thrift stores where others might be seeking an item they cannot find elsewhere. I grew up in a family which regularly donated items and clothing which could be passed down to another or given to an organisation or thrift store where in turn, others seeking the same items or clothes could readily find them. It’s a beautiful circle – to use what we need in the moment they’re necessary and then cast them back into the world to be re-loved by others who are in need of them now. I liked finding this recycle mentality in the story because it hints towards how each of us can play a part in creating a better world simply by how we approach the materials we gather and how we dispose of the things we no longer need. On the flipside, thrifting can be a great adventure – of finding things no longer in print (ie. books, music on cassettes, movies on VHS or vinyl records) or of fashions which are fresh again or household items which are gently used and still have life in them. There are two ways of looking at consumerism and I for one, was thankful for the secondhand approach to be highlighted. The best method of course, is to have an equal balance between ‘new and used’ and to have the mentality of donating what is still viable to be used after it’s purpose has expired.

Equality in Lit:

Although this story is set in South Korea, it is not overly reminiscent of Korean lifestyle and cultural differences from those lives lived in the West or in Europe. For instance, the college girls in the story happily move about their hours in places of frequency most college students enjoy everywhere: from independent restaurants to coffee or teahouses which become favourite haunts. I felt the way in which the story was told is relatable to every reader irregardless of geographic location, as there are certain things which translate through cultural divides such as the emotional upheaval of past relationships, the moving on period after losing a love in your life and the curiously busy life of a college student which has it’s own unique rhythm of routine.

I appreciated the approach Priya took with this short but also how she made her characters not just approachable but humbled by the situations they were going through. She took a different moment in her lead character’s life and etched in a lot of light and purpose into how she would find her own way out of sadness which owned to the truths of how growing up can be difficult but necessary to move through the transitions the different milestones we reach can provide us. Even if some are matters of the heart, each new experience can bring it’s own inner knowledge of growth.

The only regret I had is the focus on the different foods hadn’t been expanded. Similar in the vein of the Singaporean mysteries I love reading so dearly by Ms Yu! I’m truly a Foodie at heart!

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NOte on revision of this review:

As most of you know, I’m a Creative Dyslexic Writer who writes in AmeriBritish vernacular – therefore sometimes there are transparent slips in my writings on this blog and on my Twitter feeds which hint towards my dyslexia. Although I do compensate for these short-comings in grammar & spelling, sometimes I reverse letters or insert one word when another was meant to go in it’s place, or even misuse certain conjunctions like the word ‘it’s’. However, in this particular case, I misconstrued how to write the lead character’s name:  Ji-woo as Ji-wooya. Ergo, I have edited this review to reflect her proper name. I am very thankful Priya reached out to me via DM to tell me the key difference is that ‘Ji-wooya’ in the Korean language dialogue is the variant of properly addressing someone when speaking directly to them.

I do re-read my posts and reviews multiple times before I publish them, but sometimes, on return visits after they initially publish you might find I have made new ‘copy edits’ as sometimes it takes me a moment to ‘step away’ from my blog to find the errors I hadn’t caught in previous readings. I appreciate everyone’s understanding of how I write and my dedication to making sure I articulate what I am trying to say through my blog. Now, there are times in the instance of my interview with Ms Walsh, where I yielded to not editing the post due to an incident on Twitter. The author defended me in such a kind and generous way, I felt honoured to have my ‘dyslexic slip’ understood in such a personal way, to leave it stand. In this instance, though, I wanted to use the character’s true name and not let it sound like I’m speaking ‘directly to her’.

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Writerly Yours PR

Forgive me! Those of you following this blog tour! My original tour date (on Monday) ended up not working for me as I was struggling to come back online after a weekend of tech issues revolving connectivity issues. They continue to plague me but I have more hours now to play with in-between storms and the busyness of life! I was so very excited to be a part of this tour which is why I rescheduled this to run on Thursday. It was such an emotional week for me – since the late hours of the 22nd when I first learnt of what happened in Manchester, I am even more thankful I had the foresight to push this forward closer to weekend! *waves!* To everyone and I look forward to making my rounds and seeing what everyone else has been sharing about this lovely short debut!

Click this lovely banner to follow the tour route:

I Still Remember blog tour via Writerly Yours PR

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Today I am sharing *thursday!* with the lovely:

of whom brings up an interesting point on her review which I also broached myself. #likeminds

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 {SOURCES: Cover art of “I Still Remember”, book synopsis, author photograph of Priya Prithviraj, author biography and the blog tour banner were all provided by Writerly Yours PR and used with permission. Quotation from “I Still Remember” selected by Jorie and is used with permission of the author Priya Prithviraj. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2017.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 25 May, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Blog Tour Host, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Debut Author, Equality In Literature, Indie Author, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Nanowrimo 2008, Romance Fiction, Self-Published Author, Short Stories or Essays, Singletons & Commitment, Women's Fiction, Writerly Yours PR

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