Today is Doctors Day and ideally the author interview I should be posting should be of a doctor but there are two medical doctor authors: Reet Singh and Ruchi Vasudeva. So, the question that was nagging me was: Whose interview should I post? If I would post one of the two, it would be wrong. Then I decided, a non-medical doctor: DR ANURADHA PRASAD. So here goes:
Dr Anuradha Prasad is a post graduate in English literature and Phd (English) from Mumbai University and has been writing since she can remember. She is a feature writer, worked and published with Times of India, Free Press house, Body and Beauty Care, Incredible India, Woman’s Era and other notable publications. She has worked as a senior editor for lifestyle magazines, developed and edited web content, as a natural progression towards her journey into writing. Times West Side Plus had featured her for their second anniversary issue. She has, to her credit, hundreds of published and edited work. She teaches journalism on invitation to youngsters that she enjoys immensely. ‘Two Winters and 365 Days’ is her first book as a writer. I am very thankful to her for giving me this opportunity to interview her.
Thank you, Dr Anuradha for the interview. At the outset, could you please tell the readers about yourself?
You have already given such an introduction that I am at a loss of words. Further on the topic- I also love traveling, observing nature, gardening, cooking exotic foods and spending time at home in front of the idiot box. Very few people know that I aspired to be a model in my college days and even featured in some brand modeling. Destiny had other plans. As I matured, I became more intellectually inclined. I started looking at more permanent options for a career, as I realized that a model’s shelf life was very short. Focus on learning, wisdom and intellect took centre stage. I swear by constant learning that promotes change and growth. I lead a simple life, taking care of my family, spending time with friends and loved ones. I strongly believe that things happen for a cause.
You are a post graduate in English literature and Phd (English). Did this in some way help in your writing?
It was actually the other way round. Because I was good at English language, I took to studying English literature and yes, I must say that after completing my Phd in English I realized that I had not given wings to the writer in me and determined to do so.
You have written hundreds of articles. What motivated you to write a full-fledged novel?
I wanted my work to outlive me. A book is eternal. It is a legacy you pass on to your kids and the generations next. So I decided to write one. Another reason why I wrote a novel was I had never written a single short or a long story in my entire career as a feature writer so it presented a greater challenge for me and I love challenges! It also hit me that there was nothing new in the field of feature writing that I could explore, as I had experimented with all the genres.
Lastly, often I had heard from friends and colleagues as to how difficult it was for a writer to get recognition. So I guess I wanted to experience all the pitfalls and exhilaration myself.
What were the challenges faced while writing the book?
As I have mentioned I had never written even a single short story, so to write a story spanning over 250 or 300 pages was a challenge. The biggest task was to think of a realistic story line with realistic situations in it. After this, creating characters and writing dialogues for them was extremely mind blowing. I realized later that good dialogues poured life into characters and I spent days writing certain parts
to perfect the characters. While writing I have laughed, cried, made merry, felt sad and went through all that my characters might have gone through in the book, because I wanted the readers to experience the same.
Researching was another challenge. When you write in English language your story becomes global. So you are dealing with a wide audience, some are extremely knowledgeable and intelligent. You cannot make mistakes where descriptions are concerned. For example—The color of the furniture or the decor in a room, food, or medicines for an ailment, names of drugs with correct spellings, clothes, makeup brands, anything and everything that you mention needs authenticity. Another factor was, my story was set in different countries. So an American reading my book might laugh at me if the places and related facts are not correct. Besides, most foreign readers cannot relate to Indian culture that makes Indian novels losing Global appeal. It was extremely challenging for me to write a story for Indian sensibilities with a Global audience in mind. Lastly I wanted the readers to take away something from my little book without it being very heavy on the psyche or sounding preachy. I worked around these points bringing in an element of evolution after loss, self-discovery, adventure, romance, inspiration and success while keeping the language and narration simple, that makes it deeply touching yet an easy enjoyable read.
Is the book based on someone you know or heard of?
The book is totally imaginary.
The cover of the book is very nice, did you have a say in designing it?
I thought of an idea for the cover and the publisher added some more elements to it and the designer did his bit to make it exceptional.
Who is your favorite author?
My all-time fav author is Danielle Steel and I can also add Sydney Sheldon, Jeffery Archer, Harold Robins, Barbara Cartland, Ernest Hemingway, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Milton, Mahatma Gandhi, Arundhati Roy, Khushwant Singh, Robin Sharma, Chetan Bhagat, Rhonda Byrne and J.K Rowling.
I don’t stick to a particular author now. Sometimes, I pick a book on my own or the one suggested by my friends.
Which book are you currently reading?
Right now I am not reading any book. I am into researching and writing my next and busy with the interviews and photo sessions.
What is the next project that you are working on? When is the next book scheduled for release?
I am working on my next project that is a novel. I am planning to release by early 2015 or mid-2015.
What will be your advise to the upcoming novelists and writers?
It’s easier saying than doing but rejections are a part of life. Take it with a pinch of salt and move on. Keep an alternative career on the side. Write to express and feel happy rather than to become famous or to make money. More you will run after name and fame less you shall get it. Don’t push yourself. If your work is good or if you are destined to, you shall surely get recognition. Write honestly from your heart! Chill, Chill, Chill at all times. Do not expect your home fires to burn with your writing talent. Believe that there is a place for everyone in this universe and every dog has its day. Your day shall come very soon. Move with this faith and strength. All the best!
Her website is www.anuradha-prasad.com.
Anuradha’s books are available on Flipkart, Amazon and Google and the readers can compare the prices on Junglee.com
Coming up next in Author Interview Series: Interview 2: Dr Ruchi Vasudeva