The Bangalore Literature Festival will be held at the Royal Orchid hotel (Near KGA) on 5-6 Dec 2015. The event will feature writers from India and abroad and is FREE to attend. But early registration is recommended. Click here to register.
Open Road Review’s Kulpreet Yadav interviewed one of the bestselling popular Indian writers, Preeti Shenoy, who is scheduled to speak at the festival. Preeti, a prominent blogger and columnist, is also the highest-selling female writer in India.
Kulpreet Yadav: Your first book was nonfiction and your latest book is a collection of essays from your blog. The five books in-between these two were all fiction. But the common thread that runs through all of them is the theme of love. Which form of writing—fiction or nonfiction—is more satisfying for you at a personal level and why?
Preeti Shenoy: Kulpreet, the latest book is not a collection of essays from my blog but a non-fiction book on relationships. Also, I wouldn’t say that my stories are love-stories, as finding love is really not the main focus of my books at all. Life is what you make it is about a young girl battling Bipolar Disorder. Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake is about a young mother with two kids picking up pieces of her life, after being abandoned by her husband. The Secret Wishlist explores whether you can actually fulfill your wishes simply by writing them down. The One You Cannot Have is about moving on after a heart break. It Happens for a Reason is about an unwed mother who has two unusual careers—she owns a dog boarding facility and is a gym instructor. Like in real life, my characters do fall in love, out of love, break-up, and move on. But my books are definitely not ‘love-stories’. I like to write. Period! Fiction and non-fiction---both need different approaches. I am unable to pick one and say that this is what I like. As long as I am writing, I am happy.
KY: Writers are often taken by surprise by the reader's reactions to their books. As a storyteller, which one of your work is the strongest according to you, and did the reader’s reactions match-up to it?
PS: To be honest, I don’t think that any one story is more ‘strong’ than the other. All my books have been successful (touch-wood) and I feel grateful to the readers for that.
KY: Unlike other bestselling authors, you invest a lot of time in pursuing you other creative interests and hobbies. How do you discipline your mind to shift focus so frequently?
PS: It is not deliberate! That is just how I am. I get bored easily. I am interested in many things. I love to learn. I love to create. I love my Ashtanga as much as I love my art and my organic terrace gardening. So it’s not like I have a rota where I say that from this time to this time, I will do this activity. The only exception for this would be my Ashtanga. There I have a routine and unless I practice I don’t feel good. So I do!
KY: You are one of the most active writers on social media who also updates her blog regularly. Do you do this yourself or there is someone else to take care of it while you focus on research and writing.
PS: I do every single thing myself!! I work hard. I have written a blog post on how I signed 3000 books. You can read it here. I am grateful to my readers. I feel a sense of satisfaction when readers write to me to say that my stories are impacting their lives in a positive way. I feel I have a personal accountability for each and every reader who reads my book. And therefore for as long as possible, I would like to respond to every reader who tries to reach me.
KY: Do you have a favourite Indian author who is under 40?
PS: I don’t classify a writer by his or her age. I have read and enjoyed many writers both over and under 40.
KY: You live in Bangalore; tell us something about Bangalore as the city of writers & readers. Delhi, as you would know, leads the country in sales of books, whereas Bangalore is the country’s top startup hub.
PS: Besides Bangalore, I have lived in many cities including Pondicherry, Mumbai, and even the UK. Each city has something good to offer and I therefore set my novels in different cities. I like Bangalore a lot as it is truly cosmopolitan.