Books have always been the best friends of humans. While we say that literature plays a huge role in the shaping of our society and future, books with happy ending play a huge role in the world amidst chaos that needs something to stop by and relax. With this aim, renowned novelist Sundari Venkatraman ensures that all her stories have positive endings.
Sundari has more than 40 to her credit and the best part is all these books have consistently featured in the Top 100 Bestseller Lists on Amazon India, Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada and Amazon Australia in both romance as well as Asian Drama categories. Her latest hot romances have all been on #1 Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.
In an exclusive interview with Apeksha News Network, the eminent novelist speaks about traits to write good fiction, current trends in literature and gives a sneak peak of her successful journey so far!
Tell us a bit about your journey of becoming a successful writer. How it began?
It began like a bolt out of the blue. There is no other way to put it. I began writing suddenly one evening after I turned thirty-nine. While publishing my books took a seriously long time—fourteen years and twenty-eight rejections later—my journey started with a bang. I wrote fourteen foolscap sheets of my first novel, The Malhotra Bride on the first day and managed to complete the first draft of this book in thirty-five days.
As for my success, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing came to my rescue. I got to know about this platform in the beginning of 2014 when I published my first book in February. I never looked back after that. Today, I have 45 books to my credit and I am truly grateful to Amazon for the platform they have provided for independent authors such as me.
What is the biggest struggle of an author/writer/novelist today in India?
Not just today, it has always been there. The biggest struggle is to get published traditionally, as that is where the paperback becomes possible. An author’s dream is to have her books on the shelves of big bookstore chains such as Crossword, Higginbotham’s, Relay, Starmark and smaller shops across the country as well. This is the most difficult thing to achieve.
What is that most important element for an author to focus on while working on writing fiction?
Characters and background. The characters should be relatable and the background, the household, careers, family members, etc. should be as realistic as possible. We do a lot of research before using the material in stories. For example, if I read up two hundred pages of research matter, I might get to use 2-3 lines or maybe a little more in my story. That’s the trick one need to master in a fiction, to ensure that it doesn’t read like a research paper; to make sure the reader doesn’t get bored.
For example, I read this story—no, I’m not giving the name out here—which had a physics background. The author obviously knew a lot about physics. I had to really search for the story amidst the physics matter presented in the book. I used to be patient those days and finish every book that I began reading. Today, I would have probably given up on the book after the first few pages.
Literature plays a huge role towards the growth of the country, considering culture, youth, etc. What do you feel is the kind of literature India needs currently?
The positive kind! Like the person who introduced me at one of my book events mentioned, “Today the need for romance is more than ever in the toxic times we live in!” The books we read and the films we watch play a major role in shaping us, inspiring us. I aim to tell stories that have “happily ever after” endings, leaving the reader with a smile on his/her face.
I also gently prod people’s awareness, or at least I would like to think so. I bring awareness about alternate careers, other than becoming doctors and engineers. It looks like most Indian parents cannot look beyond these two. How many doctors and engineers can one country need? I also talk about alternate therapies and healthy living. But no, I definitely don’t preach!
eBooks have been in trend. Is it a pro or a con for the literature industry?
Definitely a pro! I love paperbacks. But they are expensive as compared to eBooks for one thing. As for another, I can’t travel without a few books. I am happy not to load my luggage as I can carry thousands of books on my Kindle. eBooks have made many non-readers become readers, which is definitely an advantage to the publishing industry.
List down your favorite 5 must read books for literature lovers.
Well it would be,
1. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
2. Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer
3. The Key Trilogy by Nora Roberts
4. A Marriage Predicament by Sundari Venkatraman
5. Destined by Rubina Ramesh
Please share few tips and tricks for aspiring authors?
Read as much as you can, as less as twenty pages every day. Write every day, even if it is only 200-500 words. These two habits are truly useful for not just an aspiring writer, but for established authors as well.
Blogging is a great platform to hone your skills. I used to blog voraciously before I self-published my books on Amazon. One more thing, make sure you really know your language well before you embark on writing, whichever language you want to write in. Shoddy language is one thing that will definitely put a reader off!
From where do you derive inspiration for your writings?
Everyday occurrences, news tidbits, listening to people talk, just about everything. Let me give you an example. I recently visited a heritage place in Ahmedabad for an event. The moment I entered the place, my mind immediately began to churn with an idea for a book with a paranormal setting. I was up half the night as scene upon scene ran through my head, the hero and heroine playing havoc with my mind. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, of course.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career so far, due to being a woman?
I have faced many challenges in my career, but none just because I am a woman.
Please share some details about your upcoming book, and when will it hit the stands?
My next one will be the second book in a trilogy called The Groom Series, which is about three sisters from a village in Bihar finding grooms. You know how the dowry situation is in that state. The first one called Groomnapped is already published and as the coined name suggests, is about groom kidnapping. The second one—the one I am presently working on—is called Gobsmacked. I hope to release it by end of March or beginning of April 2020, latest. By the way, this will be an eBook on Amazon.
International Women’s Day celebrates the scientific, political, economic and social achievements of women. In your experience as a successful woman, what is its significance?
I suppose it is a good thing that one special day has been set aside for celebrating women. But why? Shouldn’t we be celebrating all 365 days? 366 days this year? The very birth of a girl child should be a celebration. Without a woman, there can’t be a next generation. Wouldn’t you agree?
As for me, I suppose I have been lucky. Though born the second daughter of a five-daughter family, neither my grandparents nor my parents treated any of us girls less because we were women. That goes a long way in building one’s confidence. I have never felt less to a man. Of course, we have different roles to play that have been set by nature, not necessarily by society. The man is more muscular and can lift weights; a woman has a uterus and can deliver a child. If we accept ourselves for what we are, there shouldn’t be an issue is what I believe.
Apeksha News Network congratulates Sundari Venkatraman for her contribution and commitment towards the Indian literature with her works as well as words and wishes her all the best for her future endeavours!