The title of my novel, ‘The Pagoda Tree’ is inspired by a phrase popular among the English in India during the 18th Century when my the novel is set - ‘shaking the pagoda tree’. ‘Pagoda’ had a double meaning – both a temple and a gold coin. When Englishmen went to India, they went to make their fortune - to literally shake this tree of money. My novel is set at the start of global capitalism and the rise of the East India Company, which had a remit to maximise profits. It was a time when everything was up for grabs, everything could be bought and sold – including the local women. The fact that these two cultures were meeting and mixing, colliding and intermingling was fertile ground for my story.
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