Mercy And Grace Book Tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the “Mercy and Grace” book tour, introducing a very emotional and well written story by author Anoop Judge.

My thoughts? This is a whirlwind of a story – the raw love of two young people from different religious backgrounds whose lives are torn apart; an “orphan” born out of love who discovers her back story in an unusual way; a mother reunited with her daughter; cultural differences, lives behind closed doors…. and things are not always what they seem. And an abundance of love in its many disguises. Can you tell that I loved the book?


At twenty-one years old, Gia Kumari finally leaves the Delhi orphanage where she was raised. With few prospects for the future, she receives an unexpected invitation from a stranger named Sonia Shah, in San Francisco: an internship at Sonia’s weddings and event company. Jia and America. It’s love at first sight as she navigates an unfamiliar but irresistible new world of firsts. 

It’s Gia’s first real job: her first meeting with her only known family, her uncle Mohammed Khan, and her first romance, with Sonia’s quirky yet charming stepson, Adi. But it might be too good to be true. Gia’s newfound happiness is unfolding in the shadow of a terrible family secret, the impact of which is still being felt in a place Gia now calls home. To save what matters most, Gia must come to terms with a tragic past she’s only beginning to understand—and a lifetime of lies she must learn to forgive.

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 19, 2023)

ISBN-10: 1662509219

ISBN-13: 978-1662509216


Print Length: 283 pages


Welcome to the blog, Anoop! 😊

Hello! I am Anoop. Born and raised in New Delhi, I now reside in California. I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College of California and am the recipient of the 2021 Advisory Board Award, and the 2023 Alumni Scholarship. I am the author of four novels: “The Rummy Club”, which won the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award, “The Awakening of Meena Rawat” an excerpt of which was nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize, “No Ordinary Thursday,” and “Mercy and Grace”. You may also recognize me from the show Gems of Ruby Hill, a reality-TV series streaming on @watchcpics showcasing my life as an author and writer. I call myself a recovering litigator: I practiced in state and federal courts for many years before I  replaced legal briefs with fictional tales. I am an Instructor at Stanford University’s Stanford Continuing Studies.

Who or what inspired you to write “Mercy and Grace”?

I was inspired to write “Mercy and Grace”, because the India that exists now is very different from the one I grew up in. Over the years, the religious right in India has used hate propaganda to push the country away from its inclusive, secular founding vision as envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi.  Hinduism used to be a very liberal and tolerant religion, but India’s current prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has created a distinct fascist ideology dubbed “Hinduvata” to distinguish it from Hinduism. “The movement does not demand a theocratic state or any explicit embrace of Hinduism as the state religion. Hindutva is a national-cultural rather than a religious category, seen as synonymous with the idea of India. Indians of other faiths, including Muslims, should therefore have no trouble accepting Hindutva, according to the Sangh Parivar. If they choose not to, they must be traitors to the nation.” (Ref: I have watched the growing trend of extreme loathing backed by physical violence against Muslims and Christians with fear in my heart. I am not a Muslim myself, but I am a Sikh, a minority religion derivative of Hinduism. I witnessed firsthand how fundamentalist group leaders coordinated and led frenzied mob attacks against innocent Sikh citizens when Prime Minister Indra Gandhi was assassinated by her own Sikh security guard who acted solely of his own volition. In spite of the divisive political administration in the last White House election, I do not exaggerate when I say that I feel safer in the United States than I do in India. So, I wanted to write a novel about how the giving and taking of religious offense against minorities affects innocent people, ordinary people who have no stake in politics but are only trying to live their small lives.

I really enjoyed reading your book, “Mercy And Grace ” and I particularly enjoyed the characters of Gia Kumari, Sonia Shah and Adi. Which character did you particularly enjoy writing about? Which character was the hardest to portray?

That would probably be Sonia Shah, because of how the religious upheaval in her life and her past, causes her to become a very different woman from the one she initially was.

Researching for your novel must have been quite interesting…for example, the wedding event business,  the Hindu/Moslem relationships, the orphanage, the Indian communities in California … although you were born & raised in India  and now reside in California, did you discover anything that shocked you or uncover some nugget of information that was unexpected? 

What a good question! My sister-in-law is a wedding coordinator of some note in the Los Angeles Indian community, so I do have quite a bit of insight into that business. I was legal counsel and president for 13 years of a 501 C(3) organization that provides financial support to more than 4000 orphan, destitute, or otherwise disadvantaged children via partner organizations in India. Therefore, I had firsthand knowledge of how orphanages in India operate.In writing this book what did surprise me was how frenzied mobs of Hindu fundamentalists hell-bent on Muslim blood resort to pulling down the underwear of Muslim men to see if they are circumcised or not as a way of determining if they are of Muslim faith or not.

Growing up, did you envisage yourself as a writer or did you have other career aspirations?

I was raised in a middle-class family in New Delhi, India, where education was key, fresh pomfret fish for dinner was a treat, and budget-conscious holidays in hill stations defined our summers. As a young girl, I was expected to apply myself at college, get a job that would allow me to be financially self-reliant, get married, and have kids—in that order. Given this worldview, “writing” was a bourgeois activity, encouraged by my mom, an avid fan of Reader’s Digest and Harlequin romances. My mom loved stories, and she made up endless tales on the fly—Ravan, the demon who was afraid of cake, the fairy who couldn’t find her magic, the princess who was forced to marry the tyrannical prince and was rescued just in time by the pauper she loved. She gave me those things, and that’s how I survived adolescence. My command over the English language made me appear smarter than I was—growing up in post-colonial Delhi, where your zip code and what your Dad did for a living was all that mattered, the only way for a young woman to stand out was her chutzpah and her ability to flaunt her knowledge of big, blocky English words.  Soon, I had a prolific output. At age eleven, my mother made my brother, and I compete in a war of words—we had to write an essay about an out-of-town family wedding we’d attended—and, from the way my mom’s dark eyes shone as she read my offering, I knew I’d scored. In my teens, I spilled my hormonal angst over pages and pages of a daily journal that began with the salutation, “Dear, Diary.” One summer, I did an internship at a leading advertising agency as a copywriter, coming up with pithy slogans and jingles. After high school, when I enrolled in Hindu College at Delhi University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, no one in my family was surprised. But, convention dictated that I procure a practical degree that would result in a paying job. This catapulted me into law school after graduation. Writing remained my first love, though—while pursuing my legal studies, I wrote a column for ‘Mid-day,’ a weekly newspaper, titled ‘University Beat’, and I was a correspondent for All India Radio, submitting weekly news stories that were read aloud on air. While in my second year at law school, I was approached by a publishing house (Twenty-Twenty Media) to write a Dummies—style book for recent college graduates on the legal profession titled “Law: What’s It All About and How to Get in.”  When a mess of typewritten pages—loosely bound by a haldi-stained pink ribbon—of dozens of interviews with notable legal experts in New Delhi became a published book of 92 pages, I couldn’t get over the shock of it. It was an eye-opening experience to see how good editing and an attractive book cover could transform my word vomit into a brilliantly-structured, polished work. I knew then that when I had the time, I would write books that appealed me to as a reader—fiction that wove imaginary worlds and left me spellbound with the magic of it. When I met and married my husband and immigrated to the United States, I continued to pursue my legal studies, acquiring both a JD and an Esq. at the end of my name. Writing legal briefs that would persuade judges opened my critical eye and taught me how to turn a good phrase. When I left law practice and stayed home to raise my kids, I began writing in earnest. Ten years ago, my dream came true with the launch of my first novel ‘The Rummy Club’ (Daggerhorn Publishing; 2014) that gave voice through my story to the East-Indian diaspora in the context of 21st century America. In the last ten years, I’ve continued to learn the craft of fiction and write stories that have been published in many literary journals  The themes of recreating identity, immigration, changing roles of women, and racial conflict deeply resonate with me and inspire me to write. I am passionate about applying these themes to my background and the traditions I grew up with, as well as the new traditions I have co-created with my first-generation children while living in America. I’m fortunate that I have a literary agent who believes in my stories, and although the publishing industry is fickle—my fifth novel narrating the story of two estranged sisters based on colorism—-didn’t receive much traction from acquiring editors forcing me to shelve it, I continue to write. As Anne Frank said, “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” (Excerpted from Anoop Judge’s Nov 1, 2020 blog post.) 

 Is “Mercy And Grace ” available to purchase worldwide?

Yes, they are. Thanks to the power and reach of Amazon.

If you could visit any place in the world to inspire your next novel, where would you go and why? 

If I could visit any place in the world to be inspired to write my next novel, it would be South Africa. I found South Africa so different from every other place I have visited, with its safaris where you can watch the Big Five predators in their natural environment, and the country’s rich culture as manifested in its food and traditions.

Are you a bookworm yourself? If so, what genres (or authors) do you usually like to read? And are you a kindle or “proper book” fan?

Yes I am. The genre I like to read the most is what I write in which is book club fiction, also called upmarket fiction: a combination of commercial and literary fiction. It has universal and relevant teams everyone can connect to, and a hyper-focused plot but doesn’t necessarily end in doom, gloom and suffering. I always loved the feel of an actual book with pages, and never thought I would convert to Kindle, but my techie son who is an engineer got me started on Kindle. Now, I can’t give it up because it’s just so darn convenient. I’m always reading a book and it’s the first thing I turn to when I’m standing in a long queue, or I’m feeling bored.

Apart from being an author, you have appeared in the US TV reality series, Gems of Ruby.  Did you enjoy being in a TV reality show? Was it nerve racking? 

I enjoyed shooting the reality TV series, in part, because it was with friends I knew well; women who I consider my best friends and who would keep safe from any dark secrets I didn’t want exposed, haha. It was nerve-racking, only in the sense because we didn’t know what would finally come out of the editing room and how we would be portrayed on screen. It’s also crazy how addictive being on screen can be— the cringe-worthy aspect of seeing yourself on screen goes away very quickly when people begin to recognize you, and talk to you about the scenes they’ve seen you in.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I’m not a very casual person, so you won’t find me lounging around in sweats, except when I attend my Pilates classes. Usually you’ll find me in jeans with bright-colored blouses, and tailored jackets or in a dress if I’m going out.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I mix-and-match high-and-low, so you’ll find me shopping both at Nordstrom and at Shein. It’s what catches my eye. I don’t like to break the bank on outifits because I’m trendy, and enjoy being a seasonal shopper.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A white faux fur jacket.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots because they instantly make you look polished. I always like to be well turned-out when I’m going out because looking good instills a confidence in me, and makes me feel strong.

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Thank you Anoop for inviting me onto your book tour, for a review copy of the brilliant “Mercy And Grace” book and for agreeing to be interviewed.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with the kind permission of Anoop Judge.

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