Preeti Shenoy is counted amongst the finest writers of the nation. The lady with a number of best sellers to her name infuses magic to the fictional stories through her books. She redefined the terms of love, companionship, life and relationships. The words to reflect the author’s Trademark writing style which somewhere connect to the real day-to-day life incidents. The unparalleled an inspiring writer always compliment her book by a pinch of humor.
Mrs. Shenoy has consistently been nominated for the Forbes List of 100 most influential celebrities in India from last 6 years. She has been honored ‘Indian of the year’ by Brand’s Academy and ‘Business excellence award’ by New Delhi management institute.
An exclusive interview with Preeti Shenoy reveals a few secrets of her life, her perceptions towards the writing world, her opinions, tips and suggestions for budding writers for which really look for to grasp, to clear the misconceptions.
Rekha: First of all, I am grateful to you Ma’am that you replied to my mail and ready to share few words to us.
Preeti Shenoy: These days, there is this flood of mails I get. I do reply to most of them, even if it takes a lot of my time.(If you have written to me and not got a reply, I have probably overlooked, please resend)
But of late, I seem to be getting a whole load of mails from people who want to be published. They want me to read their work and tell them if I think they are good enough. I have time constraints due to my paid assignments (Writers have bills to pay too, folks!). I am flooded with requests from people who send me stuff they have written and some send me whole manuscripts even. Even though I would love to help, my current commitments leave me with no time to read stuff (let alone edit and assess) which readers send in.
Rekha: Who inspired you to write?
Was it your own passion that provoked you to pen down?
Preeti Shenoy: A writer is something I have always been. I have always had journals as a child and I still do. As a child I attempted to write a book, and it was all of 8 pages long (which was the maximum I could write), complete with illustrations. I used to wonder then how people wrote so many pages in a book! I could only manage short stories and essays and I continued writing them. Many of my stories and articles won prizes at state level and University level in inter-collegiate competitions.
I started a blog in 2006 to get over the deep grief of losing my father.
When I started the blog, my words began pouring in torrents, like the Indian monsoons. It was a flood, a deluge. Oddly they comforted many even though I was writing primarily for myself. I began getting many mails. The readers of my blog grew like an inverted pyramid, gradually but steadily. My blog skyrocketed to ‘Top blogs’ in the Indian blogosphere. I started getting a lot of response internationally too. My writings had transcended geographical boundaries and touched feelings which are universal.
Around this time, I began writing articles for Times of India and Readers Digest. I also wrote poetry which struck a chord in many hearts, some of which was published. People began writing to me, asking me to put my posts into a book. The encouragement and overwhelming response I got from my blog finally goaded me to write to a few publishers. The result was my first book in 2008. As of now, I have written 10 books, all of which have been top selling books.
I have been featured on all major media, and recently BBC world interviewed me, and it reached about 400 million people around the world in over 200 countries. My in-depth interview was aired 14 times. I am grateful that my writing resonates with people.
Rekha: Out of your own Novels, which one is the closest to your heart and why?
Preeti Shenoy: It’s like asking a mother who her favorite child is. I do not have any novel which is closest to my heart. I do believe I get better with every book I write.
Rekha: Who is your favorite Author, you never miss to read?
Preeti Shenoy: I have many favorite authors. The list is long. I love Michael Morpurgo, Audrey Niffeneger, Neil Gaiman, Sonia Choquette to name a few.
Rekha: Have you ever written a similar book inspired by your favorite Author? What do you feel?
Preeti Shenoy: I truly believe that writing has to be original. You have to find your voice, your style. I am somehow against a ‘copy’ or a ‘similar style’. Be original! Be brave! Be proud of who YOU are!
Rekha: Nowadays most of the budding writers are going for Self-publishing instead of waiting for a reply from the Traditional Publishing Houses. Though most of the time, their manuscripts are not even read. What according to you is the better way to opt for?
Preeti Shenoy: I think a traditional publisher is the best way to go. But then again it depends on what your aim is. I have written in detail about getting published in India through my blogs.
You really do not need an agent in India to get published. A traditional publisher will never ask you to pay any amount. If a publisher is asking you to pay, then it is probably ‘Vanity publishing’, It is really not worth in my opinion. Chiki Sarkar, an editor- in-chief of random house India (The topmost publishing house in India) told me once , “There aren’t any rules to write a book but some people just go rush in and start writing. I know other writers who make a fairy tail chapter plans.” So, you see there is a difference.
A Traditional publisher is always a better option.
Rekha: Although a better option but they usually reject the budding writers.
Preeti Shenoy: It’s like we choose to self publish out of frustration of being rejected. In traditional publishing it takes years to get published and many never get published at all, so why not self publish in that situation. But you remember in self publishing it will not be as making a career from writing, but want to create a book for a specific market, your family and friends or for a small niche market that you know exactly how to reach, then self publishing a 100 or 500 or 1000 copies of the book. The reality for most people is that self publishing won’t get your book into book stores.
My advise is that you do not consider self-publishing until you have spend at least a few years working on your writing, making submission and clearing about the business of publishing so later on if you do decide to self publish you will be much more equipped to do so successfully.
Rekha: If not an author, what would Preeti Shenoy have been?
Preeti Shenoy: I am an artist. You can see my art on my website,(www.preetishenoy.com) as well as on my Instagram art page: (https://www.instagram.com/preetishenoyart) which I update every day.
So if I wasn’t an author, I would probably have been an illustrator. I might write and illustrate children’s books, sometime in the future.
Rekha: A message for our readers and Me.
Read at least a 100 books, before you attempt to write one! Read, read, read a LOT! And write every single day.Join a creative writing course. If you are outside India, just google it and many colleges and universities offer you courses. If you are in India, this link may be useful. If you are working, look at your company newsletters if they have one.
Offer to write for local newspapers and magazines. (Study first what kind of articles they publish and see if your writing fits in their style.)
If you write as a hobby and want a wider audience for your work or want to see your work published consider taking part in short story competitions. Write and read as much as you can and this is the way to bump into the field.
Image Credits: http://www.preetishenoy.com/about/photos/