As an author myself I know what goes on into making a novel come alive. Hence I always make it a point to interview the authors. This time around I have author Spandana Chakradhar who has authored an interesting thriller – Sadhana. Following are excerpts from the interview:
1. What inspired you to write this story?
In 2012, the death of Nirbhaya, who died from her injuries caused public outrage. The incident helped spur an amendment to India’s Criminal Law, which broadened the definition of sexual crimes against women to include, stalking, acid attacks and voyeurism. But stricter laws did little to prevent women from being tortured.
I feel, India has a sexual assault problem that only women can fix. Firstly, we need more women representing national legislature. Secondly, we need to empower women to protect themselves. And self- defense is the key! I want to educate women on mindfulness and self -defense in the form of a story. Therefore, I chose to write about this real time incident.
2. Any incident in particular that is been recreated from real life?
This story is based on a true incident. And true tales are truly upsetting. Real time Sadhana struggled, struggled and struggled! She was drained and spaced out. Lost hope! Her husband left her, friends estranged her. Family members gave up on her. She didn’t know how to cope with depression and anxiety. She became suicidal!
I know the victim in person. I helped her as much as I can. I have roped in, one of my friends, a psychologist to help her get over fear and anxiety. I sat through some of the counselling sessions at a women welfare association to understand the mindset of such victims. Read several articles on women empowerment and crafted my story to make Sadhana a hero who saves herself from the fiends around.
3. How long did it take to complete this novel? How many edits did it go through?
It took about a year to write and six months to polish and publish it. I edited the story-line about 4 times.
4. What is your writing schedule like? How many hours do you put into writing?
I usually read/ write in the night time. I used spend about 3 hours each night for my novel.
5. How do you escape writer’s block?
It’s a natural fear, and it’s one you can overcome with a little thought, preparation and some good habits.
I recommend these three surefire ways to overcome it:
1) Free write: Just go on writing. This method will help you overcome perfectionism and unlock inner creative resources that you didn’t know you possessed.
2) Listen to music, preferably without lyrics. This is another activity that’s scientifically proven to encourage creative and expressive thinking.
3) Do work in a different environment. Ambient Noise fosters creative thinking.
6. What hurdles did you face while publishing the book?
Choosing a publisher was a herculean task. As a first-time author, I had no knowledge about publishing. I sent my work to a very few publishers. As I zeroed in on one, got offers from others. It was chaotic to operate from Adelaide. Nevertheless, I believe in my concept. I have received an invite recently to post my content on Metoo social handles. Touch wood!
7. Where did the insight for crafting your characters? Any particular actor or actress you kept in your thoughts while sketching the characters?
This story is based on a true incident. I had no actors on my mind but created an ideal husband and a perfect friend characters that every woman needs.
8. Just for fun, if this book was to be made into a movie, who would be the director and who would you want to be the lead star casts.
Meghna Gulzar, the director of Raazi would be great! She has unearthed the story of abraveheart, Sehmat Khan.
Maybe my favorite actress Deepika as Sadhana and Tabu as Vani 🙂
9. What are the 5 things we can find on your work table?
Bunch of color pens, hand sanitizer, laughing Budda, ruled book, water bottle and inspiring quotes desk stand.
10. Authors who inspire you?
Adam Nevill, Stephen King, Paulo Coelho, Chetan Bhagat and Arundathi Roy.
11. Tell us about your upcoming ventures.
Another feminist story, Ujwala- story of a contemporary woman who questions Indian marriage culture.
12. What do you do in your leisure time?
I cook, read, watch movies on Netflix or go for a long walk.
13. What message will you give to the readers?
Stay true to yourself yet always be open to learn, keep reading!