Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Author Interview - Supriya Parulekar

  1. Hearty congratulations for the great reviews which the Diabolical is receiving. How does it feel?
    Feel rewarded. For every author or any creative person words of appreciation goes a long way. I find it inspiring. Initially, I was sceptical about the topic I had chosen for my story. It was with mixed feelings that I gave a nod to publish. But now after receiving positive feedback, I feel I did the right thing.    
    Depression as mental illness is something our society shies away from. They feel such a person belongs to mental institution. But this is not true. We need to be open about such topics. We need to be compassionate towards our loved ones who go through depression. We need to understand, the person suffering from depression goes through highs and lows in life. People who are weak and are unable to tackle such situations give up. They need empathy, lots of understanding, a little bit of sensitivity and lots of people around who love him or her and care. What drives a person to end his life? This question haunts me till date.   
  1. Tell us why the book is named the Diabolical?
    Diabolical’ means evil. My protagonist Sonya Rana is a superstar in Bollywood. But she has had a disturbed childhood. The physical abuse, neglect and the feeling of abandonment makes her a fragile person. She is drawn towards death hence the various attempts at suicide. Sonya is chasing demons from her past and this gives rise to dark thoughts in her mind. There is a diabolical inside her which tries to control her life and her mind. This diabolical, the dark thoughts within her, eventually overpowers her and takes her to her death.    
  2. Please tell us how did the concept of the Diabolical come to you?
    In the last few years, suicide rate has gone up. People from diverse faculties, professional or otherwise chose to end their life. From where do these people gather such courage to hurt themselves and unknowingly hurt their dear and loved ones who they leave behind? If they are ending their life, it means they are hurting a lot within. There are times in our life when we feel the whole world is conspiring against us. Even successful people go through this phase. 
    Diabolical’ is written with an aim to understand the complexities of human brain and its working. I have dedicated this book to a close friend and mentor who gave up at one point in her life and I carry the guilt of her death till this date. Only if I had been little more attentive, sensitive, understanding and been there for her when she was vulnerable. 
    When we lose a close person, what remains behind is lots of if’s and but’s and regrets. ‘Diabolical’ is also a way for me to understand what forced her to take such an extreme step. In ‘Diabolical’ lay a solution to many such unanswered questions. “Diabolical’ will sensitize you towards identifying such people who are going through lows in life. Maybe you can reach out to them in time…maybe.    
  3. The story, characterization is raw and edgy. What kind of preparations did you make to come up with such well etched characters ?
    When I write, the characters form on their own. It’s a natural process for me. I converse with my characters and they form a part of my world. I am a very good visualizer. Being from visual media helps in adding life to the characters I sketch. All my characters are strong, self-willed with a mind of their own.  
Sketching Sonya Rana was a mean task. I would be upset for days, withdrawn, hurting inside. I wept with her, smiled with her, felt her pain. I could somehow relate to the fictional character I was sketching and it was scary. I so much wanted to reach out to her and then I created Tania, a sister who would protect and love her. Killing Sonya was never my intention but as the story progressed, I realized Sonya had to die. ‘Diabolical’ will test your patience, overwhelm you with shades of emotions and draw you in to its deep, dark world. If as a reader, you experience these emotions then somewhere it’s my success as an author. 
  1. Please tell us something about your childhood.
    I had a wonderful, happy childhood. I come from a joint-family, stayed in this big house in suburbs in Mumbai. I had lots of cousins for company, all girls so never went out looking for company. My father was a wonderful story-teller. I think genes have this uncanny habit to manifest itself in off-springs and I am thankful to him for passing on the right set of genes to me. I lost him early on in life. But his passing away made me strong and I value the principles he imbibed in me as I grew up. He raised me and my sister to be independent, fearless and honest. My mother is one strong woman and I admire and value her. This could be the reason my stories are female dominated.   
  2. What kind of books do you read? Who are your favourite authors?
    I have been a voracious reader. As a child I borrowed books from local library, mostly Marathi authors. Back then book stores were rare. Only access was the local library or school library. I was fascinated by fairy tales and would lose myself in imaginary world of magic kingdom, Prince and Princesses, wicked witches and elves. I read Tinkle, Noddy and Champaks. Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Sidney Sheldon and Robin Cook are my favorites. 

    Nearer to home were stories by V.P Kale, poems by Vinda Karandikar. I have read Orhan Pamuk’s ‘Museum of Innocence’. I love his writing style. It has the power to draw you in. He is a brilliant story-teller. Seeing my love for historical books, my husband introduced me to Chinese revolution. Wild Swan is engaging and gripping family memoir, encompassing three generations in China. A must read.   
  3. You are a prolific writer. Tell us about other novels written by you.
    Writing is my passion. My characters talk to me. The stories just happen. My debut novel ‘A Soulful of Lie’ stemmed from a near death experience I had as a child. It’s a paranormal thriller with lots of action. ‘The Gangster’s Muse’ is weaved around a bored housewife and her tryst with the gangster. ‘Dreamcatcher’ is of romance genre. BFF: Best Friends Forever is for teens. It’s a cute, coming of age, love story. One Tequila, 2 Tequilas … is pure romance with beautiful moments and ‘Diabolical’ is a psychological thriller. I love touching base with different genres. 
  4. How much time do you devote for writing? Give us some tips as to how working professionals should take out time for writing?
    Once a writer, always a writer. A writer will somehow overcome all the hurdles.’  Writing for me is not technical but passion as I said earlier. Being a stay- at- home mom and an author is a mean task. I multitask while writing. My doorbell keeps ringing throughout the day, endless number of people keep streaming in an out, there are chores to be taken care of, but I don’t let it hinder my writing.
    Once I have the basic frame of my story, it becomes easy for me to fill the colours. The thoughts and the ideas keep churning in my head. Many a times the story moves ahead in my mind before I put it down on paper. I can write anytime and anywhere. If I am travelling and I think of something important regarding the story I am working on, I take notes in my cell. Believe me, a true writer will find a way out of his predicament.  

  5. What would be your advice to budding writers?
    Read a lot. Try to understand what people love to read and what you love to write. Speak to fellow authors. Don’t be disheartened by rejections. Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury picked it up and rest is history. Keep writing.  

  6. How was your experience of finding a publisher?
    After series of rejections, undeterred I chose to self-publish my books. Today I have written six novels, contributed for one anthology and am a guest author for recently published anthology. I am invited to schools as a guest author. So do not let a few rejections disappoint you. have faith in your writing skills, believe in your story and you will sail through this.

  7. These are the days of aggressive book marketing. Books have to be promoted. Your take on this?
    A good book will find its way to the reader. Yes, it definitely helps to be heard and seen on social media. More and more authors are releasing their books. If you do not want to get lost in the crowd then one should find new ways to market their books. Facebook, Twitter and blogs have widened our horizons. No longer are we dependent on newspapers or magazines. 
  8. Do book reviews help in selling books?
    Reviewers and bloggers are a big help for new and established authors to spread the word. Majority of people prefer reading a review before buying a book. While others don’t base their decisions on reviews. But a book review sure helps in introducing an author and his book. 
  9. Do you think printed books are going to disappear soon and it is all going to be about e-books?
    This era belongs to technology. But printed books will never go out of fashion. For an author or a reader, it’s a matter of delight to hold the book in his hands, inhale the fresh scent of paper and ink and be able to touch the book and flip the pages and simply share the joy of reading by passing on the book to someone else. The joy of getting an author- signed copy is incomparable. E-book can’t beat this one! 
  10. Tell us about your future projects.
    Well, the a new project I am working on is a mature story of four friends,  involves complicated relationships and situations, a strong comment on social issue, lots of emotions and fun moments. It’s a new subject and I was restless till I got the hang of it. Now, I know how the story will progress, how the characters will move. I am in happy space now. Hoping to close the first draft by December.  

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