When we reached out to the “Indian of the Year 2017” Preeti Shenoy, we didn’t expect a reply. An author with more than 200,000 followers on Facebook and another 80,000+ on Twitter? Why would she reply to us? But for Preeti, life is more than numbers. We learnt that her books connect with readers because she cares.
We were humbled when this amazing author took the time to respond to us. We waited a while before we sent this interview because we wanted to read more of her books. She responded quickly, and humbled us again. Preeti Shenoy has written nine books since her debut with ‘34 Bubblegums and Candies’ back in 2008. Her books, which resonate with life and laughter, have gained a huge following.
Her latest book, ‘A Hundred Little Flames’ was recently released at the Birmingham Literature Festival. We can’t wait to buy that book in November next!
One thing is for sure – she has in us fans for life.
The only woman in the best selling league according to India Today. You also bagged the recent ‘Indian of the Year’ award. How does that feel? Have you ever felt the pressure of being the only woman writer in this rarefied circle?
To be very honest, I never even think about it nor am I conscious of it when I am writing. It is a world I retreat into, a world which I create, and a world which I am most comfortable in, where I can submerge myself.
No—never really felt any pressure as it is not something that I even consider, except in interviews such as these where I am forced to think about it!
How much does travel play a role in your writing? Could you tell us your most interesting travel experience?
Travel plays an important role for personal growth—and that helps in my writing. I don’t consciously travel to be able to write. For example, I went to the Maldives and was blown away. The Maldives features in my book The Secret Wishlist. I have many memorable experiences. They are too many to share, and perhaps I shall write a book on it some day.
We are big fans of graphic novels. Since you are an artist as well do you think you will be doing a graphic novel some time in the future?
As of now, I don’t see myself doing a graphic novel.
Name your favorite travel destinations, ones that you dream of going to and returning to.
I really don’t have any that I dream of returning to. The world is so large. There are so many new places to explore. I loved Bhutan(especially, Tiger’s Nest, which was stunning), loved the Maldives, loved Meghalaya—Mawsmai Caves and the root tree bridges were out of this world, and Egypt. I lived for a couple of years in the UK—so that will always be one of my favorite destinations.
I want to visit Japan, and Sao Paulo, Brazil. I am hoping there is a lit fest there and I get invited. 🙂
How would you define responsible travel? How do you contribute?
Respecting the local traditions and customs, respecting Mother Nature apart from the obvious like not littering, not being loud etc. I always make it a point to support the local arts scene by buying art from that place even if I do not really need it.
To be able to travel is a privilege and one should always remember that you are a guest at that place. Be grateful to your hosts. Be aware of the footprints that you leave behind.
Have you drawn inspiration from authors like Nicholas Sparks or Danielle Steele? Which authors have influenced you the most?
No—though I have been compared to them. I love Roald Dahl’s writing for adults, which is very dark. My short stories are very dark, I also love Audrey Niffeneger, Benyamin , Michael Morpurgo and many more.
Have you thought of writing a book based on travel?
If I receive an advance large enough, and if my tickets and accommodation gets taken care of, I might! 🙂
You started out writing as a way of coping with your father’s death. How does writing contribute to the healing process? What suggestions do you have for aspiring young writers?
That continues to this day. I don’t always share what I write.
For me, writing is as natural as breathing. I write to make sense of things around me, things that affect me.
My father’s death was in 2006. So it’s been a while since then.
For aspiring writers: read read, read as much as you can. Write at least 500 words a day.
We know this question must be asked a lot. But we didn’t want to ask you about your favorite authors. From all the books you have written, which one is your favorite? (We pick ‘Life Is What You Make It’ as our own personal favorite).
For me it is always the next book that I am writing, or the book that I just finished writing. This is because I do believe I better myself with every book. Life Is What You Make It—well I have grown a lot as a person, and as a writer since that book. That was just my second book. My current favorite is my ninth book, whose cover release took place on 7th October at Birmingham, as I was a keynote speaker at the literature festival there. So login to http://preeti.io/fb to watch the unveiling of the cover.
Your stories are known to be highly relatable. Are they because you base it on a personal experience or someone’s experience?
It is simply because I write well!
And thanks :-).
Please give us your favorite travel quote.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
(This quote is regularly attributed to Mark Twain, but he never wrote it. Whoever wrote it, captures what I feel about travel)
And one last question, Preeti. What is Life? How do we know when Life Is What We Make It? How do we understand it all?
You don’t. That’s Life!
You make a Secret Wishlist, and you believe It’s All In The Planets. When things don’t go well, you know It Happens For A Reason.
You try to figure out Why We Love The Way We Do, and you grow when you accept that there is always The One You Cannot Have, and you are content and grateful with Tea For Two and A Piece Of Cake.
Buy the above books: http://preeti.io/amazon
Connect with Preeti:
Photo Credits: Murthy and Pradeep