Don't you just love those book covers? All 3 of her novels will make their way onto my TBR list!
10 questions with Renita D'Silva
What I like most is the feedback from readers all over the world. The bad reviews hurt of course, but are far outweighed by the good ones. When you have spent so long with the characters, and the story, it is nice to know what others think of it. What I like least… hmm… I love everything about being a writer to be honest. I fantasized about being one for so long, was reluctant to call myself one until I was published and now, I love it all. Maybe if pushed, I would say it is trying to fit writing into snatches of borrowed time. I would love to write full time one day.
Do you prefer a specific genre for reading and writing?
For reading, no. I like to read across genres, I read anything and everything. While writing I seem to gravitate towards family dramas, the secrets we keep from those closest to us and how they affect everyone involved.
Your first book is titled “Monsoon Memories”. What does the monsoon mean to you?
I love the monsoons, always have. The smell of churned earth; the sheen Mother Nature paints on a dust stained world, making it sparkle; splashing through the puddles, wet clothes sticking to your back; emerald fields glowing silver as they are bejeweled by a necklace of raindrops; the shimmering, undulating sea of bobbing umbrellas; sitting cozy on the veranda sipping spiced tea and eating red rice with fish curry while the rain incites the world into rebellion and drums a tango on the tiles. Yes, I love the monsoons.
Any favourite books and authors? Sorry if choosing is a difficult task…
Yes, choosing is difficult. How did you guess? J I read so much and my favourites keep shifting and growing, the list too big to contain. My favourite book of all time is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things’ shaped my young adulthood as did ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘The Thorn Birds’. Now I enjoy Margaret Atwood, Hilary Mantel, Markus Zusak, Alice Munro, Maggie O Farrell, Chimamanda Ngosi Adiche, Aravinda Adiga, Kiran Desai… the list is endless.
Adoption plays an important role in your new book “The Forgotten Daughter”. Do you think an adopted child should be told?
I think it is better to tell the child, especially in this day and age, when there are so many ways of finding out. But then that is just my opinion. All families are different, and ultimately it depends on the family and the child in question and also the circumstances surrounding the adoption. If the child has suffered trauma before adoption, then the adoptive parents might decide to withhold the truth from him/her thinking they were acting in the child’s best interests. And also, there is the question of when to tell. It is really a very hard decision to make, but I would say, it is always better to be open so then the child learns to trust rather than have her trust shattered by the truth. If she caught her parents out in a lie, it might do more damage than being informed of the truth might have done and rupture the fragile relationship between her and her parents which is, at the best of times, in most families, quite fraught without this added upset churned into the mix.
What makes your writing special?
Ah, that’s a tough one. I write because I have to, I am compelled to, it completes me. It’s been said that there are only seven plots and what you make of them, your take on the story, how you own it, is what makes your story unique, special. Every one of my stories begin as a picture in my head. Over time the pictures get embellished with detail, the characters grow from two dimensional to three, they populate my head and nag at me to tell their story. I am just a conduit, obeying the incessant demands of my characters. If, when I read back what I have written, I can see the picture haunting my head, if the characters are happy with my portrayal of them, then I feel I have succeeded.
Is there a question you have always hoped somebody would ask you? (Feel free to answer it, too.)
I love talking about books. I could talk about books and stories until eternity. I am the person who never leaves the house without a book and a spare, who shamelessly peers over the shoulder of the person sitting next to me in buses or trains to see what they are reading, who puts roots down in a bookstore and will not budge from there. I think if someone asked me, ‘What are you reading?’ I would be delighted because I could then ask it back of them and we could have a conversation about our favourite books and authors.
Complete this sentence: A writer’s most important tool is…
Imagination. The ability to take a snatched phrase, a throwaway remark and create a story around it.
If you were sent away to a deserted island, what 5 things would you take with you?
Books, books, books, books and more books. The first items I pack when we are going on holiday are…yes, you guessed it, books. I have an absolute horror of running out of books to read; that is the worst possible thing I can imagine. So yes, I don’t think I would give a toss about what I would eat/drink/wear on a desert island. I would stuff my suitcase – if I was allowed it – with books.
Please tell us more about your latest book(s) and plans for the future.
My debut, ‘Monsoon Memories’ is out now in India. It made the Asian Age Top Ten bestseller list in India recently.
My second book, ‘The Forgotten Daughter’ and my latest book, ‘The Stolen Girl’ are under consideration with publishers in India. ‘The Forgotten Daughter’ made the top 100 in Amazon UK and Canada and became a Number 1 bestseller in Women’s Literary Fiction. ‘The Stolen Girl’ will be out in the UK and the rest of the world with the exception of India on September the 12th.
Plans for the future… Hopefully I will continue to create stories. That is what I love doing best.
You can find me on Facebook and on my website.
Thanks so much for hosting me on your wonderful blog. It’s been such a pleasure.