Preeti Shenoy has come a long way since being 'just a mother of two'. (Before irate homemakers-by-choice jump down our throat, let us hasten to clarify: that's the name she called her blog by! It's currently called, 'Much Love'.) Her last release, The Secret Wish List, has been wowing her many fans and she's soon to give us another wonderful read, The One You Cannot Have.
We interviewed Preeti on the eve of the Pune International Literary Festival that's currently on. Here's what she had to share:
1. Give us a sneak peek into your upcoming release, ‘The One You Cannot Have’. It sounds a bit like a tale of unrequited love… did we guess right?
Yes, it is a tale of unrequited love. No matter whether you are married, single, committed or in a relationship, there will always be one you cannot have. The book is a story about two people, who had a perfect relationship, but the girl dumps the protagonist and goes on to marry someone else. What happens after that? You will have to read the book to find out 🙂 It will be in the market in another 8 weeks and you will be able to find out yourselves.
2. At the Pune fest, you’ll be asking 3 male authors (Sudeep Nagarkar, Tuhin Sinha and Durjoy Dutta) about writing romance. How much do you think gender affects the way an author perceives, and write abouts, romantic relationships?
I would say that gender really does not affect the way one perceives or writes about a romantic relationship. In fact more than 60% of 'The one that you cannot have' I have written from a male perspective. Everyone who has read it till date has loved it and has told me that no one will guess that a woman has written it, as it captures the thoughts inside a man’s head perfectly. Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steele whose books have sold millions are also perfect examples. No matter whether you are a man or a woman, when you fall in love, you fall just as hard J. Gender does not affect writing skills. If you are a good writer, your book will strike an emotional connect with your readers. The key is in being a good writer not the gender of the person.
3. So what do all you writers talk about when you meet? Is it all scintillating conversation and razor-sharp ideas and intellectual debates (something like the Parisian Lost Generation authors of the 1920s)?
Ha ha. Are you kidding? We talk about our lives, mundane stuff really. Yes, we also talk about books, publishing, writing techniques, where we are going with our writing, and what we plan to do next. It is just like when people who are working in the same field meet. You would talk about stuff that interests you. Writers are no different. The Parisian Lost authors of the 1920s continue to be lost I guess. 🙂
4. You have written 4 best-sellers. You’ve obviously managed to grab the popular vote, but critical awards have eluded you till date. How much do awards matter?
I think there is a fundamental difference and as a writer you need to make a personal choice. There are literary authors and there are authors who write commercial fiction. There is no right or wrong. Literary authors may get critical awards but if you look at it, the copies sold are far lower than that sold by commercial fiction authors. For e.g. numbers sold by authors such as Chetan Bhagat and Amish would never be the same as someone who has won a critical award. I write commercial fiction and my books are gripping, written in a lucid, easy to read manner and many first time readers have written to me saying how wonderful they felt after reading my books. For me, the choice is clear and the biggest validation or award comes from the hundreds of mails that I get where people who write to me and tell me things like ‘Your writing changed my life’, ‘Your book stopped me from committing suicide’, ‘I learnt to understand my wife better because of your book,’ etc. I am happy that my writing is powerful enough to impact people’s lives. For me, that beats a critical award (which is decided by a small selected bunch of jury) any day! Will I ever write literary fiction, to win critical acclaim? I don’t know! As of now I am happy to do the work I am doing. And of course the Royalty I earn helps 🙂
5. How did you get started with paper quilling? How good are you at it… do you gift your creations to friends? Do share a snapshot of your creations!
It started off as a hobby. I have always had an inclination towards art. Apart from quilling, I also do life-like portraits. For me when I don't want to write I turn to Art or vice versa. I have gifted my creations to friends and also been commissioned by lots of people for portraits and personalised quilled cards. In all modesty I think I God has been kind to bless me with the gift of being artistic and everyone who has seen or received a piece of my work has been very generous in their praise. It is a hobby and a passion, not a day job. Some of my creations can be seen through the attached links
Here is the link to my portrait album: https://www.facebook.com/preeti.shenoy/media_set?set=a.144520361212.124817.518321212&type=3
And here is the link to my quilled creations: https://www.facebook.com/preeti.shenoy/media_set?set=a.10150430504486213.359292.518321212&type=3
6. You’ve travelled all over India in your childhood. Have you been in Pune before? How do you find the city, compared to Bangalore?
My Dad worked for Indian Oil Corporation, and we travelled all over the country, (we moved practically every three years) as children. When I got married my husband too had a travelling job so we continued that. I love travelling and being in different places and making new friends. We stayed for nearly 3 years in Pune and my kids did their early mid-level schooling in Pune. We have very fond memories of Pune. Bangalore and Pune are very different to each other and each city has its own pluses and minuses. I love both cities.
7. If you were to meet Jane Austen at a tea party……
Personally am not a die-hard Jane Austen fan. I would therefore probably run in the opposite direction. Now if you had asked if I were to meet Daniel Craig…Aaaah J. That would be different and have got me interested. On the other hand, I would love to meet Emily Dickinson and discuss her poetry.
8. What children’s books do you read to your kids?
My children are now 16 and 12 🙂 . They are both avid readers and now they give me book recommendations. My daughter wanted me to read ‘Wolves of the Willoughby chase’ and ‘Boy in striped pajamas’ both of which I am reading.
We would like to thank Ms. Shenoy for taking time out from her busy schedule for this interview with Indiabookstore. We hope she has a great time at the Pune fest!