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Author Highlight: Vaishnavi Sanoj Discusses her New Book ‘Sidereal Destiny’ and Stories from her Life

We are back with another author interview. Today, with us, we have Vaishnavi Sanoj – the author of ‘Sidereal Destiny’. In this interview, Vaishnavi talks about her writing aspirations, and the route to getting her books published. Stay on...while we chat with her.

What inspired you to write this book? Any tales to tell…

Well, I have personally seen a lot of people undergo similar experiences as mentioned in the novel, or even worse. It is not just the illiterate who are after victim to many superstitions, but even the educated elite are prey to these.  And I wanted to shout out to the world- ‘Wake up.’

What message would you like to convey through this book?

People should realize the psychological trap woven by many fake and half-baked fortune-tellers; and so-called Gurus.

What else drives you other than writing fiction?

Writing, regardless of genre, is something that drives me, heals me and helps me explore myself and the world around. Second to writing is reading. I read fiction, self-help and lot of spiritual/philosophical books.

How did you find your writing chord, or were you a born writer?

This question makes me laugh. ‘Born writer’. Unlike dancers or singers who may be gifted right from birth, anyone who intends to write can do so only after learning a language. We learn to listen, speak, read and then write. So, I don’t believe anyone can be born writer. It is a meticulous process.

During my primary school levels, I used to rewrite stories of horror movies, mix and match them and invent my version. My cousin Kumari used to be my only critic then. Till date, I believe that the blind encouragement given by her to the nine-year-old has gone a long way, and I urge all parents to do the same.

Apart from that, I realized that I could write some original stuff when I first composed a poem for Independence Day celebrations at school. However, it took me a lot more years and many more interesting experiences to be confident about my words.

How do you handle the response of this book, especially from your friends and relatives?

Well, so far, all reviews from friends, relatives and professional reviewers have been overwhelmingly positive. I am happy and grateful about that. However, while some frankly discuss what they liked/disliked about the book, many don’t. Nevertheless, every review counts.

What are some of your favourite novels and authors?

I love answering this question. A novel that I always hold close to my heart is ‘ Siddhartha’ by Herman Hesse. My most favourite novel in terms of literary depth and beauty is ‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundati Roy; I adore the way the author has played with language in this work. When it comes to mystery, it is always Dan Brown. Another favourite is ‘White Tiger’ by Aravind Adiga.  Apart from that, I admire Rabindranath Tagore, Khalil Gibran, Ved Vyas, Kalidasa, Toru Dutt, Mikhail Naimy, Eckhart Tolle, Kaajal Oza Vaidya, R K Narayan, Jiddu Krishnamurthy, Robin Sharma…the list goes on.

Of course, I love Shakespeare.

What was your biggest learning experience throughout the publishing process?

I opted for self-publishing this time, and it has been a great learning experience so far. Self-publishing gives freedom and control to the author over the entire process, but it has its downsides too. The most valued learning experience for me was about connecting to readers and reviewers. It has been wonderful connecting to people from different walks of life, getting to know what they think about my work, and understanding the general trends among book lovers.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in as a writer?

I believe that the best is yet to come.

Any best piece of writing advice from your side that we haven’t discussed?

Always believe in your instincts. If you think a particular scene/chapter is not satisfactory, then it certainly is not. Rework on that. Never compromise for the lack of time or imagination. Write, edit, write, until you are fully satisfied.

Know that the whole process of writing, publishing and marketing, and accepting the reviews and criticisms; demands a lot of hard work and patience, especially if you are a self-published author.

Where do you write from? Do you go to some specific place, like beachside or into the hills?

I love to do that, but life hasn’t given me that opportunity yet. I work from the most unromantic place a writer can ever be put in - my living room. My life, so far, has always been amidst cacophonous cities and towns, but whenever I am exposed to nature, I draw inspiration from it.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I love to write letters, not emails, not instant messages, but real pen-and-paper-letters.  I am elated when I receive one, though it almost never happens in this digital age.

Any future books that you would like to discuss now?

It is too early to discuss, but I can say that it will be a thriller set in Kerala, and will be way different from Sidereal Destiny.

Connect with Vaishnavi:

Twitter: @vaishnavisanoj

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