A senior journalist with a career of over two decades, which includes working for Magna publication and DNA, she quit her job as Assistant Editor of Times of India to devote herself as a full time author. A self-styled aficionado of cinema and theatre and sufficiently armed with a post-graduate degree in English Literature and another in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Poona, the only skill she knows, she confesses, is writing. Excerpts from her interview at WIC INDIA Dehradun Community Literature Festival 2017.
What makes you call yourself an accidental author?
Simply that I never intended to write a novel! I was bored, had never attempted any sort of creative writing and decided to listen to my mother’s requests for once! I wrote Karna’s Wife keeping these parameters in mind and more like a test for myself.
The main characters in your books are the characters with less popularity in the Indian mythologies. But you have given them pivotal value and attention. So what was the reason that you chose to write about these characters?
Because they are as interesting as the protagonist. Because the moment the spotlight is on them, they come out of the shadows, and tell their own story without changing the narrative, because they are characters whose story we want to know.
How does it feel to be acknowledged as a writer who renders due respect to these less popular characters from Indian mythologies when most other writers take up characters on whom it is easier to collect information and facts?
It is not intentional; it’s what I find interesting enough to write a 300 page book. Uruvi and Urmila are minor characters but Surpanakha is not. Nor is Menaka but yet what do we know about them but for their vital roles in propelling the story forward? Without Menaka, there wouldn’t be a reformed Vishwamitra or a Shakuntala who sowed the seed of the premise of the Mahabharata. Likewise, without Surpanakha, Ravan would have never had warred with Ram. Each character, major or minor, have a role to play in the plot, there’s a reason why they were created.
Out of all the books that you have written, which one is the closest to you and you find your best work so far?
The readers, I think, would be better judges, not me!
Your debut book, Karna’s Wife, is the story of longing, love and marriage. Why did you choose this to be the topic of your first book?
It is also about anger and forgiveness, disappointment in love and ideals, the hopelessness of war. The book is not about Karna’s wife, it’s about Karna and the final outcome at Kurukshetra.
How do you deal with negative reviews of you books?
To each his own. Also makes me realize where I went wrong.
Why did you choose mythology to be the subject of your books? Why do you find it so captivating?
Mythology is an ancient story, telling us of today, of Man and his struggles, his follies and fallacies. Through mythology we get to learn about them, the mistakes we still commit in contemporary times. It’s not about gods but about us, mortals.
Other than Mythology, is there any other genre on which we can expect your forthcoming books?
Yes, I would love to surprise myself!
What is the best part about being an author and the worst one?
The best is I guess you get to create your own world, your characters, your story … The worst, is reading and re-reading it over and over again while editing!
How has your journey been as an author through writing and getting your books published? How did you deal with your share of apprehensions and excitement?
Fortunately it was smooth. My first book got published quickly and its success gave me the courage to follow it up with more books!
Is writing spiritual to you or exhausting?
Both! But it’s a happy exhaustion that leaves you with a certain peace and calm.
Would you like to share any memorable incident of childhood that suggests your inclination towards mythology?
I had this terrible habit of counter questioning the tales recounted by my grandmother who interestingly interspersed her every conversation with mythological similes. And I had riled her majorly when I defiantly announced that if I had a son I would name him Duryodhan and Kaikeyi if it was a girl!
If Kavita Kane was not a writer, who would she be?
How important do you regard literature festivals for youth and writers?
It’s symbiotic. The readers get to meet the author and the author meets the readers who are both critics and fans and the reason for the author’s success.
What advice would you give to young aspiring authors for overcoming the fear of rejection?
Never fear a no for there’s always a yes hiding somewhere. You have to search for it.
Any message that you would like to share.
Isn’t what I write in my books enough?!