Statement: My international background helped me adjust when I came to America in 1988. In my first writing workshop, I wrote a story about a mother who ties a black cord around her daughter’s neck to mitigate astrological influences. Imagine my surprise when another writer told me that she had thought that the mother was going to strangle her daughter! Differences in culture distort the understanding of characters and their actions. I use my writers’ group to ensure that my Indian American characters come across as intended. I want my characters to be true to me and, more importantly, true to the people they represent.