Three books down and many, many more to go, Sundari Venkatraman believes that books should transport one into a world of wonder. She has tried drawing, painting, tailoring, embroidery, knitting, gardening and an umpteen other things before she discovered WRITING. A voracious reader, she is a fan of Georgette Heyer, Julie Garwood, Janet Dailey and Penny Jordan. Jeffrey Archer truly inspires her and a hot favorite is JK Rowling. Thank You, Sundari, for taking out time from your schedule for this interview.
Thank you Arti for hosting me on your blog and for that lovely introduction!
How did you think of writing a book? What inspired you?
I am a voracious reader since I was about three years old. I have always been fascinated with words. I used to feel envious of authors who can write so beautifully. But I was hopeless at stringing even a couple of sentences together. While being a great fan of Mills & Boon, I used to visualize Indian heroes and heroines every time I read a book. When inspiration struck suddenly at the ripe age of 40, I began to pen my first novel. There was no looking back after that.
All the three books are romances. Are you a romantic person at heart?
Absolutely. I love reading romances and writing them even more so.
The plot of your first book, Double Jeopardy, revolves around a girl and twin brothers. How did this come about?
Twins have always fascinated me. But I wanted my book to be different from Bollywood twins where one usually gets lost in childhood and they find each other as adults. Normal twins grow up together, playing pranks on the world around them. I had Arth and Ansh in my book and one heroine Sanya. I wanted both the men to be good but Sanya had to choose only one of them. Thinking along those lines, I landed up with the plot. I wish I could have made it a longer story with more interaction between the twins. But that did not fit in with the editorial guidelines and hence the story is what it is today.
Your second book, The Malhotra Bride, is based on an arranged marriage. Do you believe in them at this day and age?
The Malhotra Bride is the first book that I ever wrote. Arranged marriages happen all around us in India. In fact, many NRIs flock down to India to find a bride. The methods of ‘meet and greet’ have evolved in metros. But I don’t think arranged matches will fade away from Indian society completely, ever.
Your third book, Meghna, is a sweet story on family friends. Was this story based on someone you know or heard of?
No, I don’t think so. At least not consciously.
The covers of all the books justify the saying, “A picture speaks more than words”. How much say did you have while designing the covers?
Double Jeopardy’s cover was a complete and awesome surprise. Shehna Khan is the artist. Indireads, the publisher, had that made for the book. The Malhotra Bride and Meghna – I take responsibility for the cover ideas while the artists’ Prashant Kamble & Nithin Narayan did super jobs of both of them. They had to redo quite a bit before the final product was done to our mutual satisfaction.
I know it is difficult for an author to choose between her books, but which of the three is closer to your heart?
First of all, I would like to make it very clear that I love all my books. There are more than three, by the way. If you insist on my choosing, then I would say The Malhotra Bride as it is my first book. The book amazed me as I penned it as I never could believe that I was capable of writing before this one was born.
You have mentioned that you are a voracious reader. Can anyone who is a voracious reader write books?
Only a voracious reader can write books.
Who is your favourite author? Any author who has influenced your writing?
I love Jeffrey Archer’s books – his novels and short stories. My favourite romance authors are Carole Mortimer, Penny Jordan, Janet Dailey, Margaret Way, Julie Garwood, Nora Roberts and many others. Indian M&B authors like Adite Banerjie, Aarti V. Raman and Reet Singh are truly inspiring. I like a lot of Indireads authors – Sumeetha Manikandan, Andy Paula, Zeenat Mahal, MM George, Jazz Singh, Neelima Vinod, Parul Tyagi & Yamini Vijendran to mention some.
I recently read Ravi Subramanian, Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi and liked their works.
My all-time favourite is JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Ms. Rowling is the most amazing author I can think of.
I adore Georgette Heyer’s works. I sincerely hope to write like her sometime in my life. Her characters are so witty. I wonder whether I could ever manage that.
I think all the authors I read have influenced my writing in some way or the other.
What is the next project that you are working on? When is the next book scheduled for release?
I am working on an anthology of short stories – all romances. I plan to release it by end of September, 2014.
Any words of wisdom for aspiring authors?
Keep writing and never give up.
Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with your readers.
Social Media links of Sundari Venkatraman for readers to find/follow/like:
google+: Sundari Venkatraman
If you are interested in Sundari Venkatraman’s Books, here are the links:
THE MALHOTRA BRIDE:
United Kingdom: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00IE4R20U
Next in the Author Interview Series: Interview 13: Aarti V Raman on 25th July 2014