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.

Taking an ambulance ride & Final Sin

Have you ever been a patient in an ambulance? How did it make you feel? Did you wonder about the people who were caring for you, what their training was, how much they cared about your well being? I’d love to hear your comments below.

I have the memory of being a patient twice in the past, once after a relatively minor car accident and once for a severe asthma attack. The asthma attack was especially scary because the treatment en-route was vital, it was definitely more than just a transport.

I also have the terrific perspective of being one of those trained individuals giving care to patients on the way to hospital. I’ve been a volunteer EMT with my local ambulance corps since 1986. Sometimes the care provided is simple compassion and transport… sometimes we work hard to save a life. I’ve delivered babies – and I’ve done CPR trying to restart a heart. Both successful CPR and holding a newborn in your arms can give you a really heady feeling.

My entire family is in emergency services, both volunteer and career. That’s why, when I wanted to write a mystery suspense, it seemed natural to make my characters emergency service professionals. Going by my own experiences, where else do you get to see so much of life?

I encourage each of you to consider volunteering with your local ambulance squad; the rewards of being able to do something to help, to give some people the only chance they may have, and to know that you have provided (at the minimum) comfort and reassurance is never-ending. There are many ways to be a vital part of your community, give your ambulance corps a chance – it is definitely worth it.

About Final Sin:

Deputy Sheriff Commander Jake Carson has his hands full…

investigation of a brutal multiple homicide, a troubled son and a

vindictive ex-wife. He meets young, free-spirited paramedic Julie

Jennings. When Julie becomes the subject of an obsession, it puts both

of them in danger…

Download a FREE Final Sin “discussion starter package” complete with free bookmarks – it’s perfect for a book club or library discussion group.

for multiple e-book formats http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/2354

from Amazon (print) http://bit.ly/GEgv6

EMS Week May 15 – May 21 & the HYPHEMA book tour

Those of you who know me know my passion for EMS & volunteering. I am a proud member of the Stony Point Ambulance Corps (25+ years!) and ride as a NYS EMT as well as serve on the Board of Directors, in our Auxiliary and work with our Youth Squad.

May 15 through May 21, 2011 is EMS Week

My input for the May Awareness Project is all about NYSVARA,
the New York State Volunteer Ambulance Rescue Association

My novels Hyphema and Final Sin are both thrillers with a mix of
passion, mystery, action and EMS

join me on the HYPHEMA virtual book tour,
all past posts are still active links
Please leave comments – lots of them!

Apr 21 Lindsay’s Romantics
Apr 23 Jeanne St. James
Apr 24 Anne K Albert
Apr 26 Chelle Cordero, author
Apr 29 The Book Connection
May 1 Rochelle Weber
May 2 CCE613 on Xanga
May 3 Charmaine Gordon
May 8 Malcolm’s Round Table
May 10 You Gotta Read
May 11 Roseanne Dowell
May 18 Skylar Kade
May 19 May Awareness Project
May 23 Stephanie Burkhart

…and elsewhere:

Teaser Tuesday on the Writer’s Notebook
First Book Stories on The Professional Writer’s Connection

Novels by Chelle Cordero

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.

Remember Matt from Final Sin?

(take a moment to meet him again…)

(an excerpt from Final Sin)

“Hey Jules, I’m glad you’re awake.” Matt’s voice carried into the kitchen. “We’ve got to get these forms to Don before our shift.” He explained that a lawyer had subpoenaed records from a recent motor vehicle case. “Is that fresh coffee I smell?”

“Matt…” Julie tried to stop him.

Matt appeared at the kitchen doorway and stopped short when he saw Jake. He noted Jake’s half-undressed state and Julie’s swollen lips as she came up beside him.

“Good morning, Matt.” Jake faced him calmly and was aware of the derision in the younger man’s eyes as he correctly assessed the scene.

Matt answered him gruffly. “Good morning officer.” He had told her he didn’t like the guy. Matt couldn’t help it, Julie was like a sister to him and he didn’t like it when he saw the predatory look of hunger in Jake’s eyes.

Julie went to Jake’s side. “Matt has some paperwork we have to fill out.”

“Yeah, I heard.” His voice was tender as he looked down at her. “I’ll go finish getting dressed now.” He bent to place a quick kiss on her lips.

As Jake passed Matt, both men’s eyes met with a matching hostility. Julie couldn’t ignore the tension between them.

Matt went to the cabinet for a coffee cup. “So, he got you in the sack after all.”

“Don’t make it sound like something sordid, Matt.”

“Hey Jules, the man has a son whose age is closer to yours than you are to him.” Julie had told Matt about the broken date when he called on the phone last night. “You know, a few years ago you could even have been babysitting for the boy. He’s like some pervert who would’ve seduced the teen-age babysitter.”

“I’m not exactly a teen-ager Matt.”

Matt sounded disgusted. “So what are you doing, huh? Figure when he’s too old to pop you, the son will be the right age?” He cringed as soon as he said it.

“You are a pig!” Her voice was filled with hurt.

“I’m sorry Jules.” Matt was contrite. “I wasn’t thinking. That was stupid.”

She ignored his apology.

“I just meant that I think he’s too old for you.”

“Age has nothing to do with it, Matt. Jake is a really nice guy.” And a fantastic lover, Julie thought quietly.

“He talked you into bed right after he left his ex-wife. How nice is that? For him, maybe. But he used you.”

“I asked him to come over and I was very clear that I knew what was going to happen. I wanted to go to bed with him.” Julie sounded annoyed. “So just mind your business, Matt. You may be my best friend and I know you mean well, but butt out about this. I can make my own decisions in this area.”

Both were silent as Julie got two more coffee cups from the cabinet. She closed the door a little more forcefully than she meant to. Matt sat at the table and watched quietly as she buttered a couple of slices of toast. She was putting milk and sugar to the table when Matt finally broke the silence.

“So, how are you feeling this morning?” His concern sounded genuine. He was sure she had made a mistake, but he would never want Julie to have regrets. But he was sure that the last thing she needed in her life was this cop….

It was a unique relationship that fostered between paramedic partners. They worked together to save lives and were there to console each other when they couldn’t save someone. No matter how much someone else tried to feel compassion, you couldn’t possibly understand the emotions unless you were there yourself. Jake was a cop and he had a pretty good idea of what she faced on a daily basis, but he didn’t work by her side the way that Matt did. Julie wondered if she could even try to make Jake understand the depth of her friendship with Matt.

~~~Matt has his own story, coming soon – Hyphema~~~

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.

Before long, Matt wonders if he is pursuing his dream or bringing his family into a nightmare which they may never wake from.

It’s Cinco de Mayo! Fiesta!

from Wikipedia: “Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a voluntarily-observed holiday that commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. It is celebrated primarily in the state of Puebla and in the United States. While Cinco de Mayo has limited significance nationwide in Mexico, the date is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico.”

Matt Garratti, a paramedic in murder mystery Final Sin, (and SOON to have his own story…) just loves Mexican food. While he was up in the Hudson Valley area of New York he found a favorite restaurant which served a terrific Pulled Chicken Taco. Since he and his wife Sudah moved to North Carolina (oops, spoiler alert) he convinced the restaurant manager to give him the recipe.

And now in honor of Cinco de Mayo he wants to share this recipe with you –

Pulled Chicken Taco
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
cayenne powder
chopped cilantro
diced tomato
muenster cheese
  • Boil the chicken breasts until done and set aside until they’re cool enough to handle. With two forks, pull the meat apart and place in a small pot on low heat.
  • Mix in just enough applesauce to hold the chicken together—add the cayenne, and chopped cilantro. Simmer until heated through.
  • Generously fill the bottom of a corn taco shell with the chicken mixture, top with shredded lettuce, diced tomato and shredded muenster cheese.
  • Add hot sauce to taste (Matt likes A LOT of this)
  • Serve with Mexican Rice and Refried Beans. Enjoy!

The donation presentation

Chelle Cordero and Vanilla Heart Publishing
Show Support for the
Stony Point Ambulance Corp Youth Squad

(l-r): Jenni Salomon [Senior Advisor], Patricia Stein [advisor], Austin Nestle [member], Joe Bulson [member], Chelle Cordero, Emily Pierson [member], Cheryl Hubert [Youth Squad Treasurer], Peter W Hubert [Junior Advisor], and Mark Engelman [Youth Squad Chairperson] – Photo by Mark Engelman.

Author Chelle Cordero and Vanilla Heart Publishing donated one-dollar per book sold during the launch week of Cordero’s latest novel, mystery thriller Final Sin, to the Stony Point Ambulance Corps Youth Squad. Chelle presented the check to members and advisors of the Youth Squad at the Stony Point Ambulance Corps building on Friday, June 19, 2009. The donation totaled $120.00 and will be used towards training supplies and activites.

Members of the Youth Squad, ages 14 to 18, receive training in emergency response and emergency medical skills. In addition to helping to maintain ambulance readiness and other community services several members (age 15 and up) are proficient in BLS-CPR and Advanced First Aid and respond as part of an ambulance crew when 911 is called.

Final Sin is Chelle Cordero’s fifth novel and is a murder mystery set in New York’s lower Hudson Valley; the main female character is a Paramedic. The book has been praised for its accurate depiction of emergency services.