It was just over twelve years ago that I finished the first draft of the novel that was to become Out of the Cages. I was living in Nepal at the time and as my family prepared to return to Australia, I was cramming in research trips and writing days.
Since then, the research has continued, the writing turned to rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. But finally, on the 1st July, Out of the Cages was published and last weekend amid friends and family, and a number of anti-trafficking organisations, we officially launched Meena's story into the world.
The launch was lovely. We had supper - including some delicious Indian sweets and hot, spicy chai - and I was able to share some of what I learned as I researched this book. Katrina Roe, a fellow author and writing friend of mine, launched the book for me.
One of my favourite parts of the night - though it was also rather nerve wrecking - was the opportunity to actually read from the novel. I ummed and ahhed over which sections to read but finally decided to begin at the begining and read the prologue, followed by chapter three. Later, after Katrina had formally launched the book, I read a small section from chapter twenty eight where Meena, for the first time since escaping the brothel, begins to rediscover the power of her voice.
It's been a long journey for this book to come to print, but it's finally here. It's Meena's turn now; to tell her story, to represent the voices of those who have been trafficked and sold into slavery.
And although I doubt I'd sit back and do nothing, I'm excited to see where this book will end up.
Out of the Cages can be purchased via the publisher's website, your favourite local bookshop or by doing a quick online search.