Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Behind The Book: Sundari Venkatraman

Today we have Ms. Sundari Venkatraman, the author of the latest release Meghna with us for a conversation as she takes us behind the book and lets us have a sneak peek as to what goes on behind an author's mind as they write what we call as masterpieces.

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.

You can read my review about Meghna here



1. A warm welcome to you, talking about your novel Meghna – how did this whole idea get conceptualized?

Thank you! I am very glad to answer your questions regarding my book Meghna and my journey as a writer.
I am an avid reader and have loved reading Mills & Boon romances since a teenager. Every time I read one, I visualized Indian heroes and heroines in them. I wove stories based right here in India. That’s how Meghna was born.

2. Why Meghna?

I wanted a heroine with grey eyes that fascinate me. Meghna seemed a perfect name for her.

3. It is always said that a writer breathes lives into the characters he/she writes about. Any such character from your book you feel very close to? If yes, why?

Yeah, it’s very true that a writer breathes lives into the characters she writes about, all of them in fact. I feel especially close to Meghna and Rahul. But I thoroughly enjoyed penning his parents Shyam and Rajni too. I don’t want to miss out on the kids Sasha and Rehaan. 

I feel I am watching a film in my head. I think up characters and have a plotline loosely planned. Then I just sit back and watch them in action. They come alive in my head and I just jot down what I see them do. And that’s how they take life. Are you able to relate to what I am saying?
I love all my characters probably because they dance to my will.:)

4. Can you take our readers through your journey of becoming a published author? Was it always a desire to be one that has got materialized now? When did you realize that THIS is what I want to be – an author?

It’s a long story. I never could write for the first four decades of my life. I suddenly started writing one fine day and was quite excited when I finished my first novel in 20 days. After a couple of critiques and several rewrites, I approached Mills & Boon first and then a number of publishing houses in both India and abroad. It took me 13 years to become a published author. While it was not pleasant being rejected again and again, I strongly believe that things happen for the best. The opportunity to self-publish did not exist a few years ago. So, it’s worked out just perfect for me. 

Source: Google Images
5. The plot of Meghna was in your mind since a long time. What took it so long to get published?

Not just the plot. The full-fledged novel was ready on my computer since 2001. As I mentioned in the earlier question, I couldn’t find a publisher for my book.

6. What is that one thing that has been your constant inspiration throughout good and bad days, especially in battling a writer’s worst enemy Writer’s Block?

I used to write my novels as series on my blog. I used to have regular readers who kept giving me positive feedback. That sure is high voltage ‘nasha’ and kept me going despite all kinds of blocks. Whether I was ready or not, I know that a number of avid readers were waiting for the next chapter on Friday. I used to make it a point to write on every Thursday if not before. There have been a few times I missed my deadlines. Those were the best. People used to send me messages asking when the next chapter would be up. That truly encouraged me to write.

7. How does it feel to have so many published works to your credit? Happy for having made it, jittery to have to live up to some expectations or surreal for it is yet to sink in?

Happy for having made it. Super-thrilled, more like!

8. Do we see you experimenting with genres in future?

While Romance will be the main genre, I do plan to explore a bit of thriller, history and paranormal. In fact, a romantic thriller is already taking shape. 


9. Off late thanks to many online writing contests being held there has been a sudden surge in newbie authors along with loads of new publishing houses as well. Your thoughts on this?

There’s a lot of space for everyone. Reading is a matter of taste. I am sure there’s an audience to suit every kind of writing. I just am fussy about using correct language. That is something publishing houses should keep an eye on.

10. Getting published is supposed to be a mammoth task for any writer. How has your experience been about it? Any specific incidents (good or bad) that you would like to share here with us.

Once I got on the self-publishing bandwagon, publishing has been a breeze. It’s the marketing that one has to watch out for. I need to give that quite a bit of time and effort. Luckily for me, I can market something I completely believe in. And I have a lot of faith in my books. Another issue is getting the perfect cover made. I thought it’s easy. Believe me, it’s not. To make the artist understand what the writer wants and getting it completed is quite difficult. Or maybe I am finicky.

11. We would like to know about any future projects you are currently working on.

I am rewriting The Runaway Bridegroom that should be published in September 2014. After that I plan to publish an anthology of romantic short stories called Cupid Strikes, sometime end of 2014. I have almost finished writing this one too.

12. Some words for your readers.

I love to hear from my readers. It would be great to connect.
My FB page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSundariVenkatraman

Thank you very much for your time
Thank you for hosting me on your blog !