The Story Behind the Story of Himalayan Dhaba

June 2002
by Craig Danner

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A few months ago, I sold the reprint rights for my independently published novel, Himalayan Dhaba, to a major New York publisher for a six-figure advance. Now I’m often asked what I did to achieve such a coup. With the hope that other small publishers and independent authors might find something valuable and inspiring within, I offer the following story.
Ten years ago, my wife and I left our medical practices, sold our house and our two cars, and traveled high up into the Himalayas, to a remote town with a tiny hospital, where we were to join a talented Indian surgeon. He was performing medical magic using the most basic medicines and surgical equipment, and we had written him, asking if we could work at his side and learn how he was able to do so much with so little. He enthusiastically agreed. However, after traveling halfway around the world, we finally arrived to find that this surgeon had left the hospital three days earlier for a nine-month training program in Uganda.
Like most things in life, the experience was not what we’d expected. Working mostly on our own, we spent a long, cold winter simply doing the best we could. We encountered illnesses we’d never seen before, battled feelings of shame and incompetence when we couldn’t save a patient, and enjoyed feelings of pride and elation when we could. There were, of course, huge cultural and language barriers, and we worked hard to learn some of the local Hindi di…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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