10 questions with Deepti Menon
I love the fact that, as a writer I can live a number of lives apart from my own, which is exciting enough, of course. Friends and family members run a mile when they see me around, because they don’t want to be featured in my next tale! I love the idea that everyone I meet and every situation that I go through in life can be put down on paper.
Do you prefer a specific genre for reading and writing?
I grew up in a house with books strewn around, and in an atmosphere in which my parents allowed me to make my own choices. Consequently, I enjoy a variety of genres – classic, history, mystery and crime, romance and above all, humour.
I wrote my first poem at the age of ten. Having done my Masters in Literature, I learnt to appreciate poets of different ages. My friend and I would learn our favourite lines by heart, and spout them, whenever we could! :-)
Today, I find that I enjoy writing short stories because it is a challenge to hook your readers on to a shorter piece of writing. There was this quote by Stephen King which I heard recently, and which made a huge impact on me. He says, “A short story is a different thing altogether – a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger.” I absolutely love that!
Is there a country you would love to choose as your next setting? Why?
I haven’t been to many places abroad. But I was lucky enough to visit England, Scotland and Wales for a whole month, and I was fascinated by the quaint little villages and tiny tea shops that served the most delicious scones and cakes. What was really wonderful is the way the British honour the homes of their writers, and turn them into well maintained tourist spots. I would love to write a book with the lush green English countryside as its background, along with a few fat Jersey cows to add some local colour. :-)
Any favourite books and authors?
How does one choose from so many gems? I remember my mother who is a wonderful story teller, keeping me entranced with the story of ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’. I have many favourites from amongst the classics – The Count of Monte Cristo, To Kill a Mockingbird, the novels of Dickens, the plays of Shaw, the essays of Goldsmith, and the rib ticklers of Wodehouse. I particularly love ‘Palace of Illusions’ by Chitra Banerjee, the short stories of Tagore, RK Narayanan, Maugham and Maupassant, the poems of Ramanujam… the list is so open ended. How can I leave out the brilliant quotes of Rumi, the evocative poetry of Maya Angelou, and the short crisp poems of Frost?
Use these five words to write a mini story: passion, compassion, think, woman, decision.
“Their passion was fiery, but they had to think about that special human being, the one who needed all their compassion right now. For he was the husband of another woman, who had just borne a child after a particularly difficult delivery, and she, his lover, the other woman, was aware that she could never have children. The decision was a tough one.”
Paperback or eBook?
If you had asked me this a few years ago, I would have unhesitatingly said that there is nothing to beat the thrill of holding a paperback in one’s hands, the smell of the pages and the anticipation of the read. Today, I have a Kindle that my husband presented to me two years ago, and I get the same kind of thrill when I shop online, and get the books of my choice at the click of a button. Imagine being able to carry a library wherever you go, and being able to read any book you want, anywhere? It just goes to show that even an old loyalist like me can be swayed!
Is there a question you have always hoped somebody would ask you? (Feel free to answer it, too.)
The dream question in my mind at the moment is a renowned publisher coming up to me and asking, “Could I please publish your latest book?” J And my answer would be, “Do you want a manuscript or a soft copy?” :-)
Complete this sentence: A writer’s most important tool is…
A writer’s most important tool is a vivid imagination that has the freedom to observe, visualize, run riot and write…
If you were sent away to a deserted island, what five things would you take with you?
I would take my favourite books, reams of paper and pens, photographs of my loved ones, wads of chewing gum and a few empty bottles which I would float at regular intervals with SOS notes.
Please tell us more about your latest book(s) and plans for the future.
Well, the first thing I want to do is turn my first book ‘Arms and the Woman’, which is the story of the life of an Army wife told in a light hearted way, into an ebook and put it on Amazon.
One of my short stories titled ‘Mirror Image’ has just been published in a compilation called ’21 Tales to Tell’. I am looking forward to my story – ‘The Little Nugget of Fear’ – being published in another compilation, this time by Readomania. ‘Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul’, which is supposed to come out in July, will also have a piece of mine.
However, my main focus, at the moment, is on my new book, a work of fiction, the manuscript of which is almost ready, a project that my husband has been urging me to complete.
Dear Devika, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for having given me this opportunity to express myself, and talk about the craft I love so much, that of writing and of being read. God bless!
About the Author
In 2002, her light hearted book, ‘Arms and the Woman’, depicting life as seen through the eyes of an Army wife, was published by Rupa Publishers, Delhi. This was written mainly to reveal the warmth and camaraderie within the great institution. She is now working on her second book that is a work of fiction, and not- to-be divulged yet!
For Deepti, writing needs to sparkle with simplicity and originality, and she strives to find that one word that conveys her ideas most meaningfully to her readers. She believes that Mark Twain had the right idea when he said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”