About Matt and Sudah’s Marriage by Chelle Cordero

About Matt and Sudah’s Marriage

 

I’m not going to lie, Sudah’s Pakistani born character was created out of convenience. When I wrote my murder-mystery Final Sin, Matt Garratti was the heroine’s best friend and paramedic partner. Since I wanted to throw in a bit of intrigue and possibly have Matt become a suspect so I gave him something to be secretive about – marrying an immigrant who was about to be thrown out of the country. Sudah never made an appearance in Final Sin.

Readers liked Matt’s character and I decided to give him his own story, Hyphema. Staying with the theme of Emergency Medical Services and wanting to make another murder mystery, I moved him, with his wife and child (Sudah was pregnant at the end of Final Sin) to North Carolina where he had become a flight medic.  And since I once again wanted to throw a “red herring” into the mystery, I used Sudah’s ethnicity and faith as a source of conflict. After all, since September 11, 2001 our nation (and much of the world) has been suspicious of the Muslim population.

Yes, a group of Muslims were behind the tragedy of that fateful day as well as other worldwide terrorist events, however they do not define the entire Muslim population.

It was a difficult story to write without crossing the line. As an American and a New Yorker, I watched the tragedy unfold that day. Since I am involved in emergency services I know folks who were down there working to save the injured. A friend called me from her cell phone as her ambulance was speeding through Manhattan before the towers fell; I remember hearing the siren and the screeching radio transmissions in the background. It was difficult not to get swept up in the common fear and hatred of a people, but I looked at friends and neighbors who were of that ethnic background and who practiced their Muslim faith AND were Americans first; I also know that people of all races, faiths and nationalities were murdered that day. Luckily I was able to see the two factions separately.

It is important to me that I am accurate in all depictions so I delved into research of Sudah’s background. Fortunately for me, I have a friend who is both Pakistani in origin and a practicing Muslim. He was kind enough to explain several customs to me. I also read excerpts from the Koran, short stories based in Pakistan and about the people there, and even scoured Pakistani cookbooks to learn the cuisine. My research helped me create Sudah’s character as well as that of her cousin who also comes to America. Researching the Pakistani people and the Muslim faith as well as reading newspaper headlines from around the country (mostly thanks to the internet) was definitely a learning experience for me.

Matt is an American Caucasian Christian male who married a Pakistani Muslim immigrant with brown skin and who wears a traditional scarf head covering. They mutually decided to raise their son in Matt’s faith believing it would be easier for him to be accepted. After moving to North Carolina and meeting new friends and neighbors, the couple finds people who both accept them and people who look upon them with suspicion. The wife of one of Matt’s new co-workers has difficulty moving past her own family’s loss from that terrible day in 2001 and voices her displeasure; the small group of friends choose sides and tensions run high. Fortunately Matt and Sudah have a strong relationship even though their own cultural differences cause some conflict.

The name of the book, Hyphema, comes from Sudah’s innocent mistake about an American idioms and takes them literally – they receive a threatening note which promises “an eye for an eye”.

Sudah says that only “makes for bloody eyes”; the medical term for blood in the eye after a trauma is a Hyphema.

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Matt Garratti, a paramedic from New York, moves his wife and son to North Carolina to work at his dream job as a flight medic. Pakistani born Sudah, his wife, receives frosty stares and insensitive comments from their new neighbors… Matt wonders if he is pursuing his dream or bringing his family into a nightmare from which they may never wake.

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