On the Author interview today, I have a voracious reader of escapist literature, freelance writer, Sarita Varma. She has contributed short stories for the Chicken Soup series and has written numerous articles for magazines and websites on history, travel, health and a host of diverse topics. A postgraduate in history, Sarita loves the light-hearted romances of Georgette Heyer, historical detective fiction by Ellis Peters and, at the other end of the spectrum, the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. She juggles her long and active association with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India during the day, with one-finger typing on the laptop in the quiet of the night. Writing for her is a means of communion and self-expression. It is also escapism—transporting her instantly into a different, magical world of make believe. Her debut book, ‘Girl from Fatehpur’, is a novella published by Indireads.
Thank you Sarita, for giving me this opportunity.
At the outset, could you please tell the readers about yourself?
Like most women, I am good at role-playing and slip effortlessly from motherhood to managing an NGO but I am happiest when immersed in writing. I am bookish… not in the serious, academic sense but in that, books have been the leitmotif in my life. There are days when I do not find time to read but there has never been a day when I have not had a book lying on my bedside table, just waiting to be read. The anticipation is delicious!
My taste is eclectic and my preferred genre is historical fiction.
You have written short stories, what inspired you to write a book?
My friend Anjana Appachana, herself a published author, has always pushed me towards the longer format. When Naheed Hassan of Indirom/ Indireads shared her vision for a dedicated website for e-books, especially romantic novellas written for a South Asian audience, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try my hand at something different.
Is the book based on someone you know or heard of?
No, not specifically, but like all writers I draw heavily from my personal experiences, direct and indirect. The characters and incidents are often a mish-mash of what I may have seen, heard, or felt, spiced with a large dose of imagination!
What were the challenges faced while writing the book?
The biggest challenge was in trying to translate my imaginings into a coherent, plausible whole. I wanted the characters and incidents to resonate with the readers just the way they did with me. The prescribed length of the novella also imposed a form of discipline on me, keeping in check my tendency to write oodles of pages!
The cover of the book is very nice, did you have a say in designing it?
No, the creative team at Indirom/Indireads did a terrific job on that and I am so thankful to them.
How do you manage to find time out of your busy schedule to write?
I think that when you feel strongly about something, you just make the time to realize it. It is a question of prioritizing your activities…not easy but possible. Thankfully, my family, while my sternest critics, were also most supportive in giving me time and space to write.
Which author has inspired you the most?
Georgette Heyer…love her sense of humor and vivid imagery, her amazing grasp of the subtle nuances of the Regency period and most of all, her perky heroines and dashing heroes.
Which book are you currently reading?
I am re-reading ‘The Crystal Cave ‘by Mary Stewart…an old favorite.
What is the next project that you are working on? When is the next book scheduled for release?
A British Raj period romance, which I hope will be ready by the end of this year.
Any word of wisdom for aspiring authors?
Stick to subjects you know best unless of course you are into fantasy thrillers!
Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with your readers.
Social Media links of Sarita Varma for people to find/follow/like:
The book ‘Girl From Fatehpur’ is available at :
Next in Author Interview Series: Interview 9: Sumeetha Manikandan on 15th July 2014