Is it possible to cherish and to love something all your life without really analyzing or understanding why? ‘Stories’ fired my imagination since I was a child….it started with my father, who would spend thirty minutes each night weaving supernatural tales of troubled ghosts in a bid to awe, shock and above all bond with his daughters.
He never realized and neither did I that he was also weaving those little quirks into my personality that later on in life would go ahead and set me apart. I would share the same tales with a classroom of students now adding my own embellishments, peaks, and lows so as to hold their attention and leave them begging for more.
As my dad got busier and we got a little older the stories seemed to have trickled off. However, that hook for the beginning, the narration, the mystery and the spectacular end had been transferred. Books and Movies became my magical time machines capable of drawing, pulling, and holding me.
Friends and colleagues would decide to read books or watch movies after I brought to life with words what I read or saw on screen. Even love came to me through books when the first time I met my husband we fell in love over a discussion on ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’.
One day I realized what I should have known all along – Stories; they lived in my soul. I had worlds to create, people waiting to be brought to life. What was I waiting for? I picked up first, my pen and paper, later sat at the desktop and then finally on the mac and slowly, reverentially with revision after revision, going back to the drawing board a thousand times emerged my newest baby -‘Broken’.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I am a realist but at the same time also a dreamer. To me, writing is the window to my imagination at the same time collaborating with my glimpses of the world around me. The beauty of writing lies in the mind’s eye – what we see, the way we interpret it and finally how we translate it to paper. This gives me immense joy.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first real story I ever wrote was about a princess who traveled through time to the future to save a ten year old child. The two of them end up rescuing each other. That story was never completed and after I finish the Breach Chronicles, it is one of the stories I hope to tell.
What is your writing process?
I write about girls and women with flaws and their lives. My characters are not the most beautiful, not the bravest, not the thinnest nor the richest. They find strength in their family, in their love. My girls do not compete against men; only circumstances and the challenges they throw up. I draw inspiration from real women, those around me and stories I read or heard growing up. Of course there is my ever active imagination which has been plotting and planning tales ever since I was a little girl. I have mentioned elsewhere how my dad,Francis started me down the path of story telling. Later I had this sketchbook where I would draw up a multitude of characters and then proceed to enthrall my little sister, Karen, with family sagas and battles in their imaginary lives. That is how it started. Now, of course, the writing begins with the notepads, jotting down ideas and thoughts and then moves to the laptop. Then, of course, there is draft after draft and discard after discard until I am finally happy. But believe me, that takes a long time. I try to imagine myself as a reader, I read what I've written aloud. And if I am bored, its thrown away and I start again. It takes a lot to make me happy and I will keep at it until I am satisfied. Compromise is not a good word where storytelling is concerned.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Not the first story exactly but I am pretty sure it was Enid Blyton. Growing up, she was my favorite author and although that list has a lot more names in it, she will never grow old. She still lives in my heart. I read Enid Blyton even now.
What do you read for pleasure?
Oh yes I don't think you can write without reading I don't read for inspiration but read because it feeds my soul. Without stories I am nothing. Books take me into another world, their world and I need that.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The Breach Chronicles is a series of three books. The first book, Broken is out next month in December, and the second, Metamorphosis as soon as possible. Book 3 is also in the drafting stage. The prequel Origins - The Legend of Ava will link up to all three. They can be read more or less independently also. The reader will find a connection in the series, though. The book is based on the lives of a clan of sorceresses, banished from Earth along with the rest of the supernatural creatures. A group of them, called guardians come back to protect humans. That is the premise but the tales are focussed on the characters and their lives, loves challenges, and story narration. The science fiction element is to a minimum and provides the background to the lives of the people in the story. It shouldn't take away from the story and the characters.
How do you view your characters?
To me, every character is multi-dimensional. There is no mere black or white perspective to a character. If a person is strong, then what contributed to making them that way? The character has to show progression, change. We are not born perfect. Similarly what are the fears, likes and loves of a character. That is what makes each one of them unique. It makes them what they are. No character should be just a filler in a story. If a character is evil, why is he or she that way? If a male character is not the central focus of a story, if he is okay with the girl in his life taking centre stage I don’t see him as weak. I think he is a great guy and the kind that any girl would be lucky to have in their lives. Looking for the prince who rescues you from the dragon or the lecherous villain should be passé. Real men may not have muscles but they have good hearts. I write about such princes, the guys who are also okay with the girl-playing hero in their life, being rescued by them too.
What are you passionate about writing?
I am extremely passionate about stories especially those steeped in mythical folklore, ancient myths, and legends and suffused with the magic of unique realms and supernatural worlds. I believe there is an alternate universe where magic, mysticism, and wonder still exist, a world where no reality is impossible. Discovering ourselves is an ongoing journey. When I write about these worlds, I become a part of them and learn more about myself each day.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.