I have the pleasure of welcoming Gita V Reddy to Chat About Books today 🙂
(Photo via Amazon.co.uk)
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
I live in India. I’ve been married for thirty years and have a grownup son. I worked as a bank official for twenty-six years before taking early retirement in 2011. My first book was published in 2013 by a publisher. Around that time I discovered the ease and the freedom of indie publishing and plunged right in. Today I have more than twenty books in different genres. I also write under the pseudonym, Heera Datta.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
An idea may come from anywhere. Outside the Magic Circle is the result of an article I read. It was about Charles Dickens forcing a separation on his wife after twenty-one years of marriage and ten children. My Middle Grade novel, Tara and the Giant Queen, grew out of a short story I made up for my nephew. Hunt for the Horseman appeared as a flash out of nowhere.
How do you pick your characters names?
Naming my characters is very important for me. Many of my books are set in India. India is a vast country and each region has its own culture. My character names reflect their ethnicity and it helps in fleshing out the characters.
Genre also plays a role. I have to be extra careful while writing historical fiction. For children’s books, I go for easy-to- remember names.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
After getting a story idea,
Step 1: Brief outline
Step 2: Research
Steep3: Character Sketches
Step 4: Writing
Step 5-10: EDITING.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
(Not in order of preference)
Agatha Christie, P. G. Wodehouse, Thomas Hardy, Munshi Prem Chand, Pearl S.Buck.
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Margaret Mitchell. I read somewhere she wrote the last chapter of Gone with the Wind first and other chapters randomly. I would like to hear more about that.
Were you a big reader as a child?
I read beyond my age. It didn’t matter if I didn’t understand some of it!
When did you start to write?
I used to write for the school house magazine, and also take part in creative writing competitions. I also made up impromptu stories for younger cousins. Later, as a mother, I created stories for my son. Because he was a stickler for accuracy and wanted each retelling to be exactly the same, I started writing them down.
Twelve years later I quit my job for full time writing.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
I first read Gone with the Wind when I was fifteen. I wasn’t interested in the Civil War or its related social issues. It was an epic love story and I was very disappointed that it hadn’t ended happily.
I would love to change that and go back in time and read it with the revised ending.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
The Write Thing to Do.
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
Miss Marple, and it would be for a cup of tea at home. You see, I suspect there’s something going on in the house across mine.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on two books. A collection of short stories set in India, to follow my earlier books, A Tapestry of Tears and The Vigil and Other Stories. The second is a novel for middle graders. I’m also toying with a plot around Madame de Florian’s Abandoned Apartment but I want it to be historical and not speculative.
Tell us about your last release?
Set in the early nineteenth century, A Tapestry of Tears is about female infanticide, and the unmaking of tradition. If a woman gives birth to a female child, she must feed her the noxious sap of the akk plant. That is the tradition, parampara. Veeranwali rebels, and fights to save her offspring.
The other stories span a range of emotions and also bring to life the varied culture and social spectrum of India. Woven into this collection is the past and the present, despair and hope, and the triumph of the human spirit.
“But can you imagine what courage it takes to pour those two drops into the mouth of a babe? And the child you have carried yourself, one who is a part of your own body, whose heartbeat was a resonance of your own? Just as a man is not allowed to show fear on a hunt, women are not expected to waver in snuffing out that tiny life. Does a man remember the look in the eyes of a dying deer? Perhaps he does. A woman does not forget the face of the dead child. The child lives on as a phantom, clutching at her heart, and troubling her sleep.”
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Nothing much. I did celebrate my first book, also the second. Not sure about the third.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Gita 🙂
Thank you for having me on your blog.