"I was humbled by the transformative power of grace, and determined to answer two questions: how and why do some people forgive the unforgivable, and what toll does a system of justice based on vengeance take on our lives and society? From this quest came The Crying Tree."
"it is very gratifying to know that there are readers out there who come away moved, more aware, sometimes changed, and feeling an urgency that they simply must talk to someone about the book – now." (more)
"The root meaning of justice is to restore balance. The justice system in the United States tries to do this by enacting a system of penalties for crimes. In reality though, these penalties do little, if anything, to bring a sense of balance back into a victim's life. Crime subordinates its victims, makes them powerless." (more)
Naseem Rakha's Journalistic Instincts Influence her novel writing
WH SMITH INTERVEW with Naseem Rakha
I would not describe the process of researching The Crying Tree as hard. Fascinating, yes. Gut wrenching, sometimes. Confusing, mind-boggling, emotionally charged, and even aggravating, of course. But not hard. For me hard comes when I have to do something I'm neither motivated or interested in.
LitPark's Susan Henderson interviews Naseem about the issues that make The Crying Tree a very personal read.
July, 2009 issue of Third Place Books News
"Switching from jouranlism to fiction was not as hard as one might think, Ms. Rakha notes. In both, my goal was the same: to tell a story that makes people stop, think and feel something they may not have otherwise." more
Why this topic for a debut novel? The former broadcast journalist explained, "In 1996, I was assigned to cover Oregon’s first execution in over thirty years. At the time I had never given much thought to the death penalty and what it would take for the state to plan out, prepare, and then kill a man. After the assignment, I wanted to learn more so I began to interview death row inmates, the people they had harmed, and the men and women we entrust to carry out our nation’s most severe sentence. During that time I heard many stories, some of them abhorrent some heartbreaking, but by far the most compelling were those told by the people that had come to terms with the murder of a loved one, and no longer felt it necessary to seek retribution. This arc, from the most desperate kind of anguish to reconciliation and even love stunned me, and compelled me to write The Crying Tree. more