Hyphema’s Sudah Garratti is interviewed…

What’s your name?

My name is Sudah Garratti, I am also called Mrs. Matt Garratti.

What are your speech patterns like?

I try very hard to speak English like Americans do, but I sometimes get confused with strange phrases.

How do you handle anger?

A few times I have lost my temper and raised my voice, but this is something I should not do. I do not believe I give people any reason to be afraid of me.
Usually when a person wishes to argue, they are not willing to listen to the way another person sees things so I prefer not to argue.

How much power do you wield at home, in the workplace, and in social situations? Are you the quiet “power behind the throne” type or do you wield obvious power?

I try to let the outside world see that my husband is in charge – but at home I know how much it means to Matt that I am happy, so in truth, I feel very powerful.

What would be the first impression most people get when they meet you?

People see a small woman who wears a scarf to be modest, they see a woman who comes from “over there” and sometimes they worry that I am there to do harm. People are very suspicious of dark skinned Muslims, they do not understand that most of us are just like everybody else.

What is your level of education?

I was schooled in Pakistan, I guess it would be equivalent to high school. I came to America to study business in college but the college course ended because the school lost funding.
I do not study business right now, but I still go to college to learn about American history, I wish to become an American citizen and this is something I must know.

Where do you live?

We recently moved from New York to North Carolina.
I live in a house with my husband and young son. Matt says the house is small but to me it is very nice size. My cousin Raja comes to live in America and stays with us.

Are you in a relationship, or part of a family?

I am a wife and a mother. My parents, aunts, uncles and cousins are still in Pakistan.

If yes, are you happy or discontented in the relationship / this family?

I am very happy being married to Matt and mother to Aden. My family in Pakistan is not happy that I am married to an American non-Muslim, it makes me sad that they do not accept my marriage.
It would make me very happy if my parents accepted Matt and thought of Aden as their grandson – I think maybe one day they will soften but for now this is the way it is. I chose to marry Matt, I love him and our son very much.

Who is your best friend?

My real best friend is my husband, Matt. I have a very nice friendship with his former paramedic partner, Julie – I met her after Matt and I were married. I am making good friends with some of the wives of Matt’s coworkers here in North Carolina.

Who do you dislike most? Why?

I do not really dislike anyone. It makes me upset when someone tries to hurt the people I love.

Who else is in your circle of acquaintances? Who would you turn to in times of trouble?

I like to go shopping with the wives of Matt’s coworkers, I get along nicely with most of them. If I need to turn to someone it would be Laurie or Trish, their husbands have worked with the EMS response agency for a while and they have welcomed Matt and me nicely.

If there is anyone in your circle that might betray you, who would it be?

There is one of the wives, her name is Donna. She does not like the fact that I am Pakistani or Muslim. She says many mean things and she embarrasses her husband with her insults.
I would never expect Matt or Raja to betray me. Matt loves me and lets me know all the time how much. Raja and I are like sisters, we were raised together. I would be very, very hurt if either of them ever betrayed me.

How would you describe your life to this point?

I am very happy, I married a man who loves me and is a good man. I am very proud of him, he cares about people. My son brings me much joy. I like the home we live in and the land around us is very pretty. I have a good life.

How important are material possessions to you?

Material possessions can bring you comfort but they are not as important as the people you love or your self respect. It is nice to give nice things to the people we love but when we get too busy having nice things that we ignore our families, it is not right.

Can you tell us a little bit more about you?

I have many more opportunities in America than I did in Pakistan. Matt takes good care of us so I can go to school and study.
I live a simple life. It is important to me that I keep a nice home for my husband. The kitchen is an important room in our home, that is where I cook meals and feed our son.
I feel that I am on my way to achieving all the things I want to in life – right now I am a good mother and I try to be a good wife. As I learn more to become an American woman I will make matt proud of me. Maybe one day I will be a business woman too.

What are you about to do right now – today? How is this relevant to what is important to you?

I am studying my history books because the teacher said there will be a test. The more I learn, the easier it will be to pass my citizenship tests.

What will you do next?

I will cook a nice dinner for Matt.

Your next book club discussion: Hyphema

Here is the HYPHEMA Book Club Discussion Pack

Hyphema is a thriller involving murder, suspense, prejudice, love, and emergency medical services. Former New York Paramedic Matt Garratti trains as a flight medic, but when the economy forces a career relocation he moves his immigrant Pakistani-Muslim wife and infant son to North Carolina.

The area of northeast North Carolina the Garratti family moves to is scenic and known for “southern hospitality”, but there are huge pockets of town folk who have never met a Muslim believer and only know of “them” from news reports after 9-11.

Matt’s wife Sudah is looked at with disdain by some of their neighbors. When strange things happen that threaten the small family’s well-being, there are those, including the local police, who erroneously believe that it is reaction to Sudah’s ethnicity – and while no one thinks it is right, they also seem to think it is not all that serious.

Here are some thoughts to ponder and discuss:

1) Muslims have been in America even before we were the United States of America. Christopher Columbus made a celebrated voyage to “the new world” in 1492 and America won its independence in 1776. Did you know that as early as 1178 a Chinese document known as the Sung Document records the voyage of Muslim sailors to America? In 1530 several million African slaves, arrived in America during the slave trade of that time and became part of the backbone of the American economy of that period. The first mosque in the United States was built in Maine in 1915. Until 1952 Islam was not recognized as a legitimate religion until after the American military was sued.

When did you first become aware of the Muslim (Islam) faith in the United States? Are you surprised by the extensive history of Muslims in American long before 2001?

2) In 1790, Congress established a formal process enabling the foreign born to become U.S. citizens; Policies established in 1965 are still largely in place. The policies have been changed many times since as immigration to this country has grown at often record rates. Today NON-immigrants are permitted lawful entry to the U.S. for reasons like tourism, diplomatic missions, study, and temporary work; temporary admission does not permit citizenship by naturalization. Non-immigrants wishing to remain in the United States on a permanent basis must apply for permanent admission. A real marriage to a U.S. citizen will, depending on circumstances, allow an immigrant to apply for naturalization sooner than an immigrant having no relatives in the U.S.

When did your family come to the United States? If they immigrated here, what do you know of the challenges they faced and any prejudices they had to deal with? Depending on how many generations your family has been in the U.S. do you feel strong ties to the country if your heritage? Have you ever visited the place(s) your ancestors came from?

3) Matt Garratti is a skilled paramedic with many years of experience answering 911 medial and trauma emergencies. He makes the move to becoming a fight medic and working in an aeromedical environment (an airborne “ambulance”). There are some increased risks associated with being a flight medic including hearing loss, exposure to heat and fumes, back injuries and air crashes. Why do you think someone would become a flight medic?

4) How does your local 9-1-1 system work? Are the first responders who work in your area paid or volunteer? Have you ever been a patient in a ground or air ambulance? If your local department is volunteer, how could you get involved? Did you know that a “paramedic” is sometimes also called “hands of the doctor”? What do you think it would be like to administer crucial life-saving skills during transport of a patient to the hospital?

5) If you were to move to another location such as Matt did from New York to North Carolina, what information would you need to know in order to find a place to settle (ie: schools, etc)? Is there a dream place that you would like to move to? Describe it.

6) Have you ever eaten Pakistani/Indian/South Asian foods? Some of the common spices used in Pakistani cooking are cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, curry, ginger, and cumin; dishes are often highly spiced and fragrant. Observant Muslins are forbidden to eat pork or consume alcohol and must follow the halal dietary guidelines.

What are some ethnic foods or dietary customs from your heritage? Do you often prepare foods native to your heritage? How do these dishes differ from the “usual cuisine” of the area where you live?

7) Sudah is a practicing Muslim. Matt is Christian. What problems do you think a mixed religion marriage might face? What are ways to blend both cultures so that each individual retains their own identity while sharing a life and customs with their partner? What about children, how should they be told why mommy and daddy are different faiths?

Hyphema is also available in print through
Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

Additional Reading:

Final Sin by Chelle Cordero

The Muslim Next Door: The Qur’an, the Media, and That Veil Thing by Sumbul Ali-Karamali

A Paramedic’s Diary: Life and Death on the Streets by Stuart Gray

The Complete Asian Cookbook by Nina Solomon and Charmaine Solomon

Coming to America (Second Edition): A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life by Roger Daniels

Woo-Hoo! HYPHEMA cover wins…

Hyphema won the

Hyphema: Bleeding in the eye caused by trauma
Matt Garratti, a paramedic from New York, moves his wife and son to North Carolina to work at his dream job as a flight medic. Pakistani born Sudah, his wife, receives frosty stares and insensitive comments from their new neighbors… Matt wonders if he is pursuing his dream or bringing his family into a nightmare from which they may never wake.

Hyphema ~ the page 69 theory

There is a theory that if you pick up a book and turn to page 69, you will know if the book is interesting or not

so we are putting it to the test…

“Sudah is the last person to ever be scared of.” Matt knew how gentle and kind his wife was.
“Okay ladies,” the chief entered the room. “There‘s a tropical storm moving in. I need you to be extra careful and keep an eye on your TAWS.” Each chopper was outfitted with a terrain awareness and warning system as well as GPS, absolute necessities when flying in inclement weather. “I don‘t want any incidents out there.”
The weather service was predicting an active storm and hurricane season through the summer. This storm was just the first of many.
“You and me both.” Tony muttered under his breath.
Both Frankie and Matt hid their grins at Tony‘s comment.
“I‘m serious.” The chief scowled at Tony. “Frank, Chris is going to be riding with you today. Just remember, the barometer‘s gone crazy and there are winds of 60-miles-per-hour.”
Frank and Chris were sent out to move a critical heart patient from the Outer Banks to a trauma center inland. The patient, a 53-year old man, needed pacing as they transferred him from the barrier reef‘s hospital unit.
Matt and Tony were toned out to a motorcycle accident on the mainland‘s coastal highway. As they were getting ready to land at the LZ, Matt could see the fast moving storm clouds and lightning flashes that were headed their way. He made up his mind to move the patient as quickly as possible or they might not be able to lift off at all.
The young man had taken his bike down on the normally busy highway; it was empty thanks to the high winds and storm warnings. The motorcycle crashed into a thicket of trees and neatly wrapped itself around one tall Magnolia. The cyclist was about 80-feet down the road against a guardrail, the first trooper on the scene had to scan…
You can purchase Hyphema for the
Kindle from Amazon (
http://amzn.to/fEYUR7) or through
Smashwords for multiple e-book formats (

You can read a sample of Hyphema at http://bit.ly/ezia8N

Virtual Blog Tour for Hyphema

Join me as the Hyphema Virtual Blog Tour
kicks off on Thursday, April 21
When a character lingers…
Here are some of the Hyphema tour stops ~ more will be added…

Visit my Smashwords Profile Page for multiple ebook formats of all my books.