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Preeti Shenoy (Author)

About Her

Preeti Shenoy has been named as the highest selling woman writer and among the top five highest selling authors in India.  She has written 8 books and her work has been translated into many languages.

Welcome Preeti, I would like to ask you the following questions:

  • 1.
    You are on the Forbes most influential celebrity list in India. A writer and a poet. How did it all begin? Were you trained to be a writer?

    I have always written ever since I learnt to write. I have always contributed to my school and college magazines, taken part (and won) at several University level writing competitions.

    So the journey originated long before I began blogging. I started a blog in 2006, and I still continue to blog, and do blog maratthins (a term I coined . Blog marathon means I write a new post every single day, for a month). So the ‘training’ as such, you can say began with my blog. I went on to write for newspapers and magazines after that. Then contributed to ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ series etc, before finally getting abook deal.

    And yes, the journey has been great. But then again, I have put in an insane level of work to get to where I am today. It hasn’t come easy. I have worked till I fell asleep at the keyboard, till the lines have blurred, sacrificing sleep, going out and a lot of other things. It hasn’t been effortless—that much I can say!

  • 2.
    You most memorable moments of being a writer?
    Oh—there are so MANY to recall. Mostly it is the pure love that is showered on me by my readers and the interactions with fans who say I have changed their lives by my writing. Some have gifted me gold! Some carry food that they have cooked. Some give jewellery and hand-made cards. It is that sincere expression of love and warmth from thousands of people who feel connected with me. An 84 year old woman hugged me and said I had written her story! I receive hundreds of emails. They are complete strangers to me. And they feel this powerful connection because of my writing. In Pakistan, at Karachi Literature Festival, I was mobbed by a group of women who said my writing gave them hope. They all wanted photos with me, and said I am an inspiration to them. I knew then that writing and art transcends geographical and political boundaries. They had nothing but love for me.At a blogging conference, I was a keynote speaker along with Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden). He wanted a copy of my books and wanted me to sign them for him. I was a Guest of Honour and a Keynote Speaker along with Shruti Hassan. She said she would read all my books. Because of my writing, I get to meet people from varied fields and that is a great thing for me.

    I feel immensely grateful for all of it.

  • 3.
    You are the highest selling woman writer in India and have written 8 books, which is your personal favourite and why?

    My next one, which will be released in last week of October/1st week of November this year. We will be doing a cover release at the Birmingham Literature Festival, where I am a keynote speaker, and hence I cannot reveal the name just yet.

    I feel Ibetter myself with each book. Hence the answer to that question will always be 'The book I am currently writing/The book I have just written.'

  • 4.
    Where do you get your inspiration? Tell us something about your latest book, ‘Its All in the Planets’ ?

    My latest is not ‘It’s All In The Planets’. It is the book which will be released soon. Incidentally, we have sold more than 60K copies of It’s All In The Planets (and still counting) and it has already been translated to Hindi. The other language translations are on their way.

    The book is a contemporary relationship story, set in our times, and explores the concept of Free will versus Destiny through a relationship angle. The protagonists are very relatable.

    As regards where I get inspiration--- I honestly do not know. Sometimes an idea just strikes me because of something I read, or have overheard or have seen. The inspiration for ‘It’s All In The Planets’ came during a train journey when I was travelling in Shatabdi from Delhi to Chandigarh for an event for the promotion of my book It Happens For A Reasonand I happened to read the astrology column in a free newspaper which is handed out in the train!

  • 5.
    Your top five favorite books and authors? What are you currently reading?
    It is hard for me to pick my ‘Top five favorite”. My reading tends to be varied. I read everything including graphic novels and children’s books. I love Michael Morpurgo, Roald Dahl’s work for adults and Audrey Niffenger. I also like Neil Gaiman. I like non-fiction books too. Teenage Brain and Sonia’s Choquette’s work comes to mind, when I think of Non-fiction. Also books like Outlier and Blink. Here are a few other books I like:My all time favourite book remains Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, which I read in my twenties. But the more recent ones which I thoroughly enjoyed and which left an impact on me are the following:

    The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto—Mitch Albom: I love Mitch Albom’s writing. It is sheer poetry. He is a master of the craft Here, he narrates this beautiful, poignant tale through the voice of music. I loved the concept, the execution, the story, the writing---sheer brilliance.

    A Japanese Manga graphic novel called DeathNote: I discovered this book, as my 16 year old daughter bought it. It tells us the story of LightYagami, a high school student, who discovers a notebook, dropped on Earth by Ryuk, the God of death. Written by TsugumiOhba and fabulous illustrations by Takeshi Obata, made me lose myself in this book. The book has to be right to left, and from back to front, following the Japanese tradition.

    The Tamil Story—translated by SubhashreeKrishnaswany and edited by Dilip Kumar, this is a collection of Tamil short stories published from 1913—2000. We get a glimpse into the society it’s evolution,, the rich Tamil literature and life itself, through these lovely stories, which had me happily reading for many hours.

    When breath becomes air—Paul Kalanithi :Paul was a brilliant neurosurgeon who attended Stanford University and Yale and before becoming a doctor, had majored in English literature. Cancer struck him at 36 and swiftly progressed, claiming his life at 37

    The book, which is deeply moving is not only poignant and powerful but is almost poetic too. It is the work of a man, whose days are numbered, and yet not once is there lament or an overly cheery tone. Paul is a gifted writer. There isn’t a doubt about that, but more than the prose, what makes this one a must-read is the questions he asks and the answers he finds. Throughout his life, Paul had sought to find the answer to the question “What makes life worth living?” In the face of death, he finds it. In many places, the book is heart-breaking, as it takes us on a journey through Paul’s life, his obsession about his work, the way he empathises with patients, and how he finally ends up as one, in the very hospital where he used to perform complicated surgeries, sometimes working non-stop, up to 36 hours, before taking a break.

    Having just finished Paul Kalanithi’s book, When Breath Becomes Air, I am in that strange state of calm, having been made acutely aware that there exists a place, where life meets death and despite death having the final say, life wins.

    It is on rare occasions that one comes across a book, which is so riveting that you are unable to do anything else, other than curl up and read and read, till you finish it in one sitting.

    Goat Days by Benyamin is one such book. Not only is it engrossing but it is deeply moving. It is the story of an immigrant worker from Kerala who lands up in Saudi Arabia. Powerful, compelling and profound, this book is sure to leave an impact on anyone who reads it. Days after reading the book, I am still haunted by the vivid and powerful images that Benyamin draws up, and I wince each time I think of the protagonist and his travails. A story of hope, faith and a fight against destiny, it also showcases the human as an animal with all the frailty, ugliness and cruelty of the human psyche. By juxtaposing this with the will ingrained will in all of us to simply survive, Benyamin tells an impactful story, based on the real life of one such worker.

  • 6.
    What is your process of writing? How long does it take for you to write a book?Are you a morning person or a night person? What time of the day is your most productive as a writer?

    The right answer to that would be 46 years (as I am 46 now). I think when we look at ‘time taken for writing a novel’ we largely discount the time we take in preparation for it. A novel is a culmination of so many varied experiences that you have been collecting your entire life. So how can you confine it and say “I wrote this novel in 1 year” or 8 months. What about the time you spent researching it? Editing it?

    My process of writing---I know the story completely and I have it all planned out. I don’t have any favourite time. Once I begin a book, I am diligently at it, till I finish it. It haunts, troubles me and I can think of nothing else till I complete writing it.

  • 7.
    Are you a methodical writer or an intuitive writer? How do you handle writer’s block? Any example?

    I don’t suffer from writer’s block and have never had one! (touchwood). Here’s the thing---Writers block implies that you have to FORCE yourself to write. When words fails me, I turn to art. (I paint too. I am an artist trained in portraiture and illustrated journaling).

    I have no idea whether my writing is methodical or intuitive. I do plan my novels, plots etc. I think that is very important. But I also think the characters take over once you create them.

  • 8.
    What does a weekend mean to you? And your favourate non-alcoholic drink?
    Weekend means nothing! There is no difference between a week day and a weekend. Favourite non-alcoholic drink: Black coffee.
  • 9.
    What strategy would you recommend to aspiring authors of ‘The Write Scene,’ who are working on their manuscripts to increase their chances of publication?
    I truly believe that a commissioning editor would be able to answer this question best! I have no clue what the publishers look for really. Considering that my hugely successful book ‘Life is what you make it’ was rejected by almost all the publishers I approached (not only in India but also abroad), I guess my advice would be ‘Learn to face rejections and never give up.’
  • 10.
    Can we have your views on our new initiative of ‘Young Author Awards’ to recognize the next generation authors under the age of 30?
    This is an excellent initiative. It will be a huge boost to young authors. Who doesn’t like recognition?!


To know more about our guest : http://www.preetishenoy.com/


Preeti Shenoy (Author)