But First, Rumi by Chitra Ramaswami Book Blog Tour (and giveaway!)

Monday, March 15, 2021
When Chitra discovered a stray cat in need of help, she never thought they’d wind up saving each other. Struggling to come to terms with an unexpected diagnosis, Chitra returned home to Oman seeking a sense of familiarity. What she discovered instead was a very special cat who changed her life. But First, Rumi is the story of how, day by day, Rumi and Chitra got to know one another, and as she learned to love the little stray, she began to see greater life lessons about herself, her family, her home country and her place in the world. 

What unfolds when girl and cat meet? What happens when you follow your heart? What if the world is not as it seems? Is it worth taking a chance? 

Find out in – But First, Rumi

Read more about this book on the author’s website and on GoodReads

Paperback: 168 pages
ISBN-13 : 979-8583191413
Genre: Memoir 

But First, Rumi is available to purchase at Amazon.com. You can also add this to your reading list on GoodReads.com

Reviews of But First, Rumi 

“A heart-warming and genuine story of adopted love and healing. Chitra has no idea what to do with a stray cat, especially one that is struggling to even survive outside her house. But Rumi, as he becomes known, gently whirls his way into her heart and in the process helps her to heal inside too. As the author returns to her home and family in Oman to process a difficult medical condition, she chances upon a poor and bedraggled cat that is on its last legs. She takes pity on him and starts to care for him, even though she has no experience of looking after a cat, and in her own words, has no idea what she is doing. But this book is more than just a tale of a cat being rescued, the author very cleverly weaves her own story into the chapters, and reaches deep inside herself to find some meaning to her illness and her life. Ultimately, this is a story of redemption and hope – for both Chitra and Rumi – and I found this a fascinating and compelling read. Highly recommended.

 5-Star Review by Alyson Sheldrake on GoodReads 

“I really enjoyed reading this book & Rumi getting his chance of happiness. Oman isn't a good place to be a cat but it’s an uplifting story full of hope & beautifully written. Rumi doesn’t have the best start in life, but he has well & truly landed on his paws! Hopefully there will be more tales of Rumi in future. A great read for any cat lover!”

5-Star Review by Linda Eyre on GoodReads 

About the Author 

Chitra Ramaswami was born and raised in the Middle East by Indian parents, and her childhood was spent reading every book she could lay her hands on or writing stories and lines of poetry. As a result of traveling the world extensively and being a natural linguist, she is an amalgamation of many cultures and tastes and is constantly looking for the next experience she can immerse herself in. When she isn’t writing, Chitra rides horses, climbs mountains and is a passionate advocate for the Omani Mau/ street cat. She currently lives in New York with her husband and a very spoiled cat and hamster duo. 

You can find her online at: https://cramaswami.com/

Connect with her on Instagram @rumionamission2017

----- Interview by Kelly Sgroi 

WOW: But First, Rumi is a beautiful story; how does it feel to be a debut author?
Chitra: Writing comes naturally to me. I have been writing ever since I was little mostly short stories and poetry and was quite happy writing for myself. At any given moment, I tend to have a story brewing in my mind and it has been that way for as long as I’ve known. However, this is the first time I had something to say to the world and decided to publish. With bringing out - But First, Rumi - I hoped to share Rumi’s story and the journey he and I went on, but I’m enjoying the feedback I’m receiving on my writing and hope to continue putting my thoughts out into the world. 

WOW: It shows that you are a confident writer, and I hope you continue to share your words with the world. What does your typical day of writing look like? 

Chitra: My writing days never look the same. I usually keep penning my thoughts as I go about my day in my note app. And I just know when I’m ready to put everything together and start writing it out on my word document. I have a steady stream of words some days and some days not. I give a lot of importance to flow as opposed to choice of words, if that makes sense - maybe because I’ve always written poetry and am comfortable expressing myself that way. On the occasion of facing writer’s block, I give myself a break for a couple of days but if I still don’t feel up to it after that I start writing anyways. Sometimes, you just need to keep writing till you kick all the bad lines out of your system. 

WOW: I love that you take notes and then trust when it's time to sit down and write. I'm sure Rumi keeps you company while you're facing writer's block. How did you feel about cats before meeting Rumi? 

 Interesting question - I talk about it in the book too. I didn’t grow up around animals but thought I’d have a dog once I grew older. I didn’t think very much of cats. Their gaze made me uncomfortable even. However, I think we tend to be unconsciously conditioned by notions we repeatedly come across over time and cats for the most part aren’t really talked about as positively as dogs. I grew up watching Lassie the collie on tv and assumed I was a dog person. So to be fair, I didn’t really give cats an honest chance to put their best paw forward before Rumi. 

WOW: I'm so glad Rumi found you then. Companionship with animal's of any kind can be so good for the soul. Are there any other parts of your life that you are inspired to write about? 

Chitra: I see my life as nothing but a chain of stories threaded together. It’s just a matter of time before they take shape and I put pen to paper for each of them. There will definitely be more memoirs, street cat stories, and I’d love to do a food version of a piece like “Love, Loss and what I wore.” 

WOW: Memoir has become one of my favourite type of reads, I'd love to hear more street cat stories. Can you tell me how Rumi got his/her name? 

Chitra: Rumi is named after the world renowned Sufi love poet - Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī. The name otherwise means a deep and exceptional kind of love which is what Rumi and I share. If you’re familiar with the poet Rumi’s works, you’d know he had the ability to talk about any aspect of life, even the most painful experiences in a way that is both eye opening at many levels and also manage to leave you with hope - not very different from what my Rumi makes me feel. 

WOW: That's so beautiful! I will have to look up Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi's work, it sounds amazing! So, what’s next for you and Rumi?
Chitra: Well, I hope Rumi and I can take our story to new readers. We hope we can contribute to changing people’s perceptions towards the Omani street cat. We’re especially interested in sensitizing children towards stray cats. We have a few ideas and hope to pursue them. We also hope to continue to advocate for the Omani street cat, tell their stories to the world and help them find the loving homes they deserve. Also, a second book maybe in the works!

WOW: Sounds fantastic! I look forward to seeing more from you and Rumi. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. Best of luck!

----- Blog Tour Dates 

March 15th @ WOW! Women on Writing 
Join us at the WOW blog, The Muffin, to celebrate the launch of Chitra Ramaswami's book But First, Rumi. You can read an interview with the author, find out more information about this touching memoir, and win a copy for yourself! 

March 16th @ Hook of a Book 
Join Erin as she shares a guest post by the author about Omani street cats. http://www.hookofabook.wordpress.com 

March 20th @ Boots Shoes and Fashion 
Visit Linda's blog to read her interview with author, Chitra Ramaswami about her book But First, Rumi

March 20th @ Pages and Paws
Visit Kristine's blog today to read her review of But First, Rumi by Chitra Ramaswami.

March 21st @ Shoe's Seeds & Stories 
Visit Linda's blog today to read her review and spotlight for But First, Rumi by Chitra Ramaswami. 

March 25th @ Keeping it Real 
Join Lisa as she shares a guest post by the author about how to get past writer's block. https://www.lisambuske.com/ 

March 26th @ Author Anthony Avina 
Visit Anthony's blog as he shares a guest post about cats and mental health and reviews But First, Rumi by Chita Ramaswami. 

March 28th @ The Faerie Review 
Visit Lily's blog where she interviews author Chitra Ramaswami. 

March 29th @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog 
Join Bev as shce shares her thoughts about But First, Rumi by Chitra Ramaswami. https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/ 

March 30th @ Lisa's Reading 
Visit Lisa's blog where she reviews But First, Rumi by Chitra Ramaswami. 

April 1st @ Knotty Needle 
Visit Judy's blog and read her review of this touching memoir for pet lovers, But First, Rumi. You can also win a copy of the book too! 

April 5th @ Reviews and Interviews
Join Lisa as she interviews author Chitra Ramaswami about her book But First, Rumi.

April 5th @ Note to the World
Come by Mahnoor's blog today and read the review of But First, Rumi by Chitra Ramaswami.

April 7th @ It's Alanna Jean 
Join Alanna as she shares a guest post by Chitra Ramaswami about the misconceptions about cats. https://itsalannajean.webnode.com/

April 13th @ Deborah-Zenha Adams 
Join Deborah as she shares a guest post about writing process by the author of But First, Rumi. http://www.deborah-adams.com 

Keep up with the latest stops by following WOW on Twitter @womenonwriting.

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Enter to win a copy of But First, Rumi by filling out the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends on March 28th. We will announce the winner the next day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sioux Roslawski said...

Chitra--Congratulations on your book. Memoir is one of my favorite genres to read. I admire you for working on the rescuing of street cats. I've traveled a couple of times to Turkey to bring back dogs to the U.S. There are countless dogs and cats wandering the streets, begging at outdoor restaurants, trying to find shade under parked cars, searching for water and food, and so on. It's quite sad.

Good luck with your future writing endeavors. It sounds like you have your process down--you've found what works for you--and that's a huge hurdle when navigating life as a writer.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

But First, Rumi sounds like such a touching story everyone needs to read. Congratulations on its publication Chitra.

Andrea said...

This sounds like a wonderful story. My sister also named her cat Rumi.

Angela Mackintosh said...

I started working in cat rescue right before the pandemic started, so your book sounds right up my alley. :) I love that you named your cat after the poet Rumi.

Congratulations on your book tour launch, Chitra! I'm adding your book to my TBR pile. :)

TRIPPER2365 said...

This sounds like a very good book . Conrats on getting it published .

Rebecca said...

Excited to check out this book!

Buddy Garrett said...

It sounds like an interesting read. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Chitra Ramaswami said...

We’re looking forward to your thoughts BG!

Chitra Ramaswami said...

We hope you enjoy it Rebecca!

Chitra Ramaswami said...

Thanks so much Angela - so great you’re working with rescue cats! We’re excited you’ll be reading our book and looking forward to your thoughts.

Chitra Ramaswami said...

We’re excited everytime we hear about another cat named Rumi! Hope you get a chance to read our story!

Chitra Ramaswami said...

Thx Jeanine! It’s a story straight from our hearts to yours - we hope you get a chance to read it!

Chitra Ramaswami said...

Sioux, what you describe of Turkey resembles the situation of strays in Oman to a T. Thank you for flying the strays to their new homes and saving their lives. Coincidentally I flew in 8 dogs and 1 cat just a week ago. They travel quite well in my experience.

Rumi and I hope you get a chance to read our story! Thank you for your wishes!

Chitra Ramaswami said...

Thanks so much! We hope you get to read it!

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