1.Take us through the journey of writing your book.
The journey was so pleasant. There were so many mentors and motivators on the way. I wrote my first poem to prove to my mother that I was a poet. I posted the poems I wrote thereafter in my blog. A surprise blog visitor little Haiku master Ramesh Anand, whom God did send, asked me to send my poems to magazines. He suggested Muse India to start with. The then Your Space editor of Muse India, Mr. Kumarendra Mallick happily accepted my poem for the forum. Then came many little achievements which pushed me to keep writing. Now I had a good collection of poems, I tried to publish a short collection in Pothi.com and Amazon’s Kindle. Those attempts didn’t work well and again God send me a good publisher Gaurav Sharma. Omji Publishing House published my first book Singing Soul. Slowly and steadily it came up in the best-selling lists of Infibeam. The entire team who worked for the book, the editor, Abhinav Pandey, the cover designer Akash Khonde everyone were so much supportive, which ended up in a wonderful book. My next book was “The Painted Life” and after that I slowed down a bit. But destiny didn’t.
On Women’s day, I received a message from publisher, Mr. Bernard D’sa that as a mark of respect to women poets, they were interested to publish my poems (the best of my writing) as a collection. Drizzle is a joint venture by Raindrops Publishers and PustakMandi. It was a whole new experience to choose the best among all. Once the book was compiled, it was great to read. The editors were outstanding and everything came out perfect.
2.Tell us something about your book.
Drizzle has a collection of wonderful poems. The foreword was written by eminent poet Ms. Pramila Khadun. She says “Shalini’s poetry is endowed with freshness, sensuality and rich inventiveness which provide a liberating image of the indomitable spirit and versatility of mankind.” The first drizzle on earth, after a long summer spell is so aromatic, blissful, nostalgic, poignant and emotive. It gives us a motley feel. Similarly the poetry collection Drizzle gives you everything in a single book.
3.It’s a saying that writers are another creators. Do you agree with it?
My personal thought is, Creator is a mighty soul, Who could create anything out of nothing. But we, human beings, discover what’s already there. It’s just like we catch a diamond from a sewage, we take it, clean it and display it. Nothing more.
Once while talking to a novel writer, “I wondered how novelists were writing such long novels. How do they get those ideas?” He answered “We write from what we see and experience. How do you write poems out of nothing?” So I think, some are destined to write, to them it’s an easy job. It happens to them, their life makes it happen. Their mind and thoughts are very much programmed to do that job. When there is a strong emotion running in my mind, my mind automatically transforms that moment into a poem. Maybe poets express their thoughts through poems and Creator expresses His thoughts through creation.
Whenever I finish a poem and when I get great feedback for it, I have thought how elated the Creator’s heart would have been, whenever we thank and appreciate Him for this wonderful creation. I agree our mind creates wonderful things in the form of writing. We could write about underworld, galaxies, true love, betrayal, murder, theft, historical happenings and unknown mysteries with ease. But then again they are only at the mind level, the reader who reads it imagines it in his own way. The writer’s mind implants on the reader’s mind, in a way in which he is able to understand. The thoughts that arise out of that may end up in actions and it might propagate further through word of mouth, further actions, etc. Maybe that’s the reason for the saying writers are another creators.
4.Your inspiration besides your family?
Meditation and a close relationship with our imaginary yet real friend, God inspire me to write.
Nature, life and fellow writers also inspire me often. If we are ready to observe and learn from our life and nature, then they would teach you everything you need. Writers inspire me through their writings and their life. Conversation with friends brings in diverse thoughts and so they they inspire me a lot.
5..Tell us something about yourself.
In short I am an introvert. But if you talk to me about something that really touches my heart I would automatically transfigure into a chatter-box. I do, whatever is close to my heart. I keep on contemplating and rejuvenating my thoughts and actions. I don’t want to be a stagnant person who does the same mistakes again and again. I learn from my mistakes and I am not ashamed of having done it beforehand. I just correct myself, do the required restitution and move on. I love to inspire, help and motivate people to the extent to which I could do. But you see I am not a superhuman and my capabilities are very much limited.
6.By holding your own book is a special feelings always. For you, how was that feeling?
Rather than me holding the book, to see my parents holding it is a great feeling. My mother had said “You should try better” for every other book I gave her. But when I gave Drizzle to her, she was astonished and she sat down to read the book immediately. In the end, she wished my every other book, should be the same like Drizzle.
It was my third book, and you know for every human being their first child would be the best and favorite one. The eagerness and curiosity of holding the first child is exceptional. The next children would make them happy, but not elated and excited as the first one. But for me my third book gave me the same feel as it was when I held Singing Soul in my hands. I haven’t read the book after editing and the book was a surprise when it reached me. I was very glad that it came out good. Once I opened the book, first relief was the editor hadn’t ruined my poems. And then as I read it, I was very much satisfied. Moreover, there was a long gap between the compilation period and the publishing period. In-between I never read those poems, so reading my own work again in print gave me a wow feeling.
7.Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
I love to read Tamil books. My most favorite author in Tamil is Kalki and his famous novel “Ponniyin Selvan” is my favorite novel.
In English I love to read works of Agatha Christie, J.K. Rowling, Robert Frost, Khalil Gibran, Stephenie Meyer, Preethi Venugopala, Kirtida Gautam, Ayse Kulin, Rajeshwari Chauhan.
My favorite book in English keeps on changing. “Twilight” and “Daniels Diary” were once my most favorite novels and now its “Last train to Istanbul”. “I am 16 I can rape” by Kirtida Gautam is another novel that touched my heart.
8. Share some memories (good and bad both) of your reader’s response.
There haven’t been any bad memory so far. Some readers have become my close friends. Some had become very close like a family. It feels like I have a huge family now which spans countries.
One fine day, I posted a poem titled “Social Worker”. After a few minutes I received a message from a reader turned well-wisher Mr. K . Krishnamurthy that the poem was more related to him and his wife.
After reading my poem Muse in the newspaper “The Hans India” an unknown reader (then not now) Philip Joshua dropped me a message in Facebook appreciating my poem. I woke up that morning to read his message and I felt overjoyed to know that the poem had touched someone. Do we search for the authors of the articles we read and appreciate them? I was blessed to experience that.
When my poem came us the second runner up of Valentines Poetry Contest, a lady (forgot her name) said the poem “Lovingly I hate you” was so close to her heart and she could connect to it easily.
These are few of the memories that stayed in my heart.
9.What are your other hobbies?
Solving puzzles, reading, cooking and gardening are my other hobbies. I love to keep my brain active. I keep learning new things and end up us a jack of all trades, master of none. Spending time with nature excites me and so I love walking in the garden. Now, fitness is also in my regimen and so walking while hearing songs is my new hobby. I walk at the least, 10,000 steps a day and I wish everyone should start doing that.
10.What is your next plan of writing?
Two more poetry collection are to be released this year titled Nychthemeron and Mumbo Jumbo. I have plans of releasing Kindle version of my second book “The Painted Life”. There are plans to try my hand at novels and short stories too. Let’s see what’s in store for future.
11.Do you ever feel like writing is tough?
Not at all. The one sad thing is writing never pays. Most people wants to read free. Yet, people keep writing for their love of literature. Most publishers ask money for publishing your own work. Even anthologies and magazines have become paid ones. People are shifting from paperback books to e-books. We are at a time, when a radical change is happening in reading. People love to read Facebook posts, blogs and eBooks. Audible books are also a trend now. It’s tough to compete and survive in this environment. Yet as a writer I am too struggling to keep my head high. There had been times when I have thought of giving up writing, yet the love of readers’ brings me back.
12.When did you first realize that language has some power to bind hearts?
When people loved my poems and were moved by them. I never knew my words would make them feel good, make them think, make them change. When I saw that, I couldn’t stop admiring how language helps in binding hearts. I feel, silence is a wonderful language which could bind million hearts, when used at the right time; just like the pause between two lines in a verse.
13.Which genre you prefer the most for writing?
I love all forms of poetry. When it comes to writing I prefer free verse as it has no restrictions and it helps me to convey my message aptly. Epic, ballads, narrative poems are the other genres I love for their story telling power.
14.What challenges did you face while writing and getting published ?
Finding the right publisher was the biggest challenge I faced. This field was new to me, I didn’t have a family member or friend who would pave the way for me. I learnt everything from scratch. Moreover I am an engineering student and not a literature student. I am still learning the art of poetry.
15.Few words for your lovely readers?
Without you all, I could have never come to the place where I am today. Your support has opened a new dimension of life that I have never dreamt of. I need your blessings, always.