Today we're excited to chat with Jasmin Kaur author of
If I Tell You The Truth.
Read on for more about Jasmin and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Jasmin Kaur!
Jasmin Kaur is a writer, illustrator and poet living on unceded Sto:lo First Nations territory. Her writing, which explores themes of feminism, womanhood, social justice and love, acts as a means of healing and reclaiming identity. Named a "rising star" by Vogue and a "Writer to Watch" by CBC Books, she has toured across North America, the UK and Australia to connect with youth through the power of artistic expression. Her debut poetry and prose collection, When You Ask Me Where I'm Going (2019) was shortlisted for the Goodreads Choice Awards. Her sophomore novel, If I Tell You The Truth (2021), is releasing on January 19th 2021. Currently an MFA student in the University of British Columbia's Creative Writing program, Jasmin can usually be found daydreaming about the next story she's itching to tell.
Meet If I Tell You The Truth!
Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Rupi Kaur, this heartrending story told in prose, poetry, and illustration weaves together the stories of a mother and daughter’s lives.
In this stunning sophomore novel, acclaimed writer Jasmin Kaur explores trauma, fear, courage, community, and the healing power of love in its many forms.
Kiran flees her home in Punjab for a fresh start in Canada after a sexual assault leaves her pregnant. But overstaying her visa and living undocumented brings its own perils for both her and her daughter, Sahaara.
Sahaara would do anything to protect her mother. When she learns the truth about Kiran’s past, she feels compelled to seek justice—even if it means challenging a powerful and dangerous man.
if i tell you the truth
that i’ve dug
from the hardened depths
of this shrapnel-filled dirt
with these aching, bloody hands
would you believe me?
would you still love me?
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
This story didn’t have a singular source of inspiration. Instead, it’s inspired by the profound complexity of the Punjabi women in my life—complexity that is so often diminished in mainstream literature in favour of exotification and over-simplification of South Asian cultures. At its core, If I Tell You The Truth is inspired by countless moments when my friends and I tried to voice our uncomfortable truths only to be told to go silent. As young adults, we learned the hard way that this world favours the interests of important, powerful men over victims of their abuse. Through If I Tell You The Truth, I wanted to confront this particular injustice and challenge it head-on.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Sahaara, without a doubt. I see so much of myself in her fire and her journey towards growth. She has good intentions but doesn’t always get things right. She’s a wildly talented visual artist who beautifully captures her emotional growth through her craft. She’s willing to shake up the world in ways I can only dream of. I think Sahaara might be one of my favourite characters of all time.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
So far, all of my titles have come after I’ve finished a few drafts of my books. Like the title for my first book, When You Ask Me Where I’m Going, If I Tell You The Truth came from one of my poems. If I Tell You The Truth is the title of a poem written in the voice of my character Kiran. In this poem, Kiran is reflecting on the consequences of sharing a secret that’s been buried for nearly two decades. Carrying this secret has been a painful burden, but unearthing it could have cataclysmic repercussions for her and her daughter. When I wrote this piece, I instantly realized that I’d found the title. I think it captures the heart of this story.
YABC: Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I need a hot bag of popcorn on hand. And maybe a bag of Sour Patch Kids. I tend to reward myself with snacks as I finish drafting chapters and pages.
YABC: What’s on your TBR pile?
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Water Dancer is next on my TBR pile, once I finish V.E. Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue! I’m obsessed with the gorgeous writing in Addie LaRue and can’t wait to begin The Water Dancer once I finish it.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m currently planting the seeds of a prose-driven YA fantasy novel! It’s still, very much, in its infancy but I can share that there will be Punjabi witches, herbal magic and tooooons of drama.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I, admittedly, loathe drafting. I tend to overthink every bit of my first draft, which makes the process extra painful. But once I have the bones of a scene down, I have so much fun tinkering with the scene and reimagining it in a stronger form. I’d take revising over drafting any day.
YABC: What advice would you give to new writers?
Be teachable. Know that your voice is important and necessary. Know that your voice will evolve throughout your journey as a writer. When you open yourself up to learning opportunities, when you listen to feedback from trusted critique partners, your work will almost always get stronger. Stay open. Stay confident enough to trust the value of your work and humble enough to take constructive criticism.
If I Tell You The Truth
By: Jasmin Kaur
Release Date: January 19th, 2021
One winner will each receive a copy of If I Tell You The Truth (Jasmin Kaur) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*