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Interview with Preeti Shenoy

Post by: Deepti Khanna

This week we chat up with Preeti Shenoy, an avid blogger, author of two bestsellers, an artist, a poet, a writer and a mother of two – or should I say just a mother of two (that’s what she calls her blog). Her two books, 34 Bubblegums and Candies and Life Is What You Make It, though poles apart, met with the same end: they were instant hits and went on to be declared national bestsellers.

Know about why this Bangalore-based author moved on to writing fiction after her first nonfiction met success and why she decided to call her blog “just a mother of two”… 

From holidays to relationships to what’s happening around us to your wonderful children and husband, everything has a mention on your blog. We really loved the poem – the turtle and the moonfish and the blog post on your kids making book marks. Your favourite post?
Now this one is really difficult to answer. I have loved quite a few of them. From among my recent posts the photo post on my holiday to Maldives and the one on marriage and freedom or the one on meaning of life are my recent favourites.

Besides dealing with your father’s loss (which was why you started blogging) how has blogging helped you?
When I started blogging I had absolutely no clue about what I was getting into. After two years of blogging the grief encompassing the loss had subsided, to an extent. Slowly I saw my blog crossed geographical boundaries. There were a lot of events on blogosphere that I heard of and took part in. Also, one of my posts won the Best International Post so that was again very rewarding. And more than anything else I would say blogging disciplined me. I grew as a writer, and writing posts sharpened my writing skills. Besides, the fact that I can truly be myself on my blog is what gets me back to it.  

Why did you decide to call your blog – Just a mother of two – after all that is just one of the many roles you play?
As I mentioned earlier when I started blogging I was very wary of what I was getting into. I wanted to blog anonymously so I wanted to sound like an odinary woman, thus just a mother of two. In fact my posts were written in the name of PS and there was no photograph attached. It was only later, after the wonderful response my posts garnered, that I revealed my complete name. By then my blog was popular so I could not change the name.

Your poems are darker than your light-hearted blog posts. What brings about this difference in writing style/tone in the mediums you choose?
My prose is a slightly more planned affair. But my paintings and poems are straight from the heart. So the times when I am troubled by something or affected by what is happening around me, then I take refuge in poems and art. And with the prose I choose to be positive and spread happiness around me.

What is the difference between writing prose and poetry?

Prose is thought about and planned whereas poems are impromptu. If I don’t pen poems down there and then many-a-times they are lost.

34 Bubblegums And Candies and Life Is What You Make It, are both books you penned but are distinctly different. What prompted you to shift gears?
34 Bubblegums And Candies are 34 short stories adapted from my blog to suit the format of a book. It is about the bitter-sweet experiences life offers. It is a compilation about the experiences I or my friends have gone through. After the 34 Bubblegums… writing a novel was a natural progression. So came a full length novel of courage, inspiration and love under the name of Life Is What You Make It. It is a tale that I believed in.

I read somewhere that you did not research or travel for your first book as it is based on the experiences of you and your friends. How did you research to feel and narrate about what a girl suffering from bipolar disorder goes through? And why you picked up this ailment? 
Ankita Sharma’s character is based on a true life story. Actually it is somebody I know very well.  Life is… is not so much about bipolar disorder. It is more an inspirational and moving tale  of courage and love. The predicament here happens to be that of a  mental illness. I choose this since such things are a taboo in India, but in the UK there are many support groups and the attaitude towards such things is entirely different. But here a mental illness is a hush-hush affair.

What do you love reading?
I read just about anything. From the labels of ketchup bottles to Gokualam or Indarajaal comics I just read anything I can lay my hands on. But my favourite authors would be Anita Nair, Roald Dahl, Milan Kundera (i really admire his writing), Mark Barrowcliff and Mitch Albom.

You have said in an interview – you have already planned your third and fourth book. Please throw some light on this…
Well I am working on a sequel to 34 Bubblegums and Candies and a full-length novel. Let’s see which one sees the light of the day sooner.

Any advice to budding writers
I would say read, read as much as you can. Pick up books from different genres so that you are exposed to different kinds of writings. Also, I would say google up writing tips, as you can hear something that can be of help from anywhere. But for all those who are serious about writing should write at least 1,500 words every day. Since that will help you better your craft.



Add Your Comment:

Thu,Feb 14th 2013 8:17 AM
Sabhya Soni
i simply loved preeti's work...grt thoughts....excellent explanation..looking forward for ur nxt novel:):)
Mon,Jul 18th 2011 6:44 AM