Bitten by the writing bug

Bitten by the writing bug
Author Carolyn See once said, “Every word a woman writes changes the story of the world, revises the official version.” Women in Bengaluru seem to be taking this quite seriously as there is a growing trend of women giving up well-paying corporate jobs to follow their passion for writing. The City is also home to ‘Inllinks’, a group of talented women writers who come from diverse backgrounds, and ‘Bangalore Writers Workshop’, which runs intensive creative writing workshops with small groups. The tribe of first time writers is also increasing. And the City, with its literary appetite, is lapping it all up.

Amisha Sethi, who has just launched her book ‘It Doesn’t Hurt To Be Nice’, says it is all about rediscovering spirituality with a tinge of drama and humour. “My purpose to take the messages of kindness, compassion and love and wisdom from ancient scriptures in a fun and simple way triggered me to start writing. I was working full time while penning this book. For me, the best time to pen is early mornings and late evenings and of course, the weekend when I nicely slip to remote and ancient places of India and even outside of it.”

Author of ‘Secrets in Time from the Spell Unbound’ series, Vinamra Santhosh’s book is a young-adult fantasy novel about Aisiri Diwakar, who stumbles into the strange world of Ultu Ulla (which means ‘Since Time Immemorial’ in Sumerian). Vinamra admits that she has always been a bit of a dreamer and writing was one way of being a slightly more productive dreamer! “This particular story was bubbling on the backburner for a while. Curiosity about the grandfather I had never met, coupled with a childhood squabble with one of my favourite cousins over one particularly dark and dingy toilet that we were both terrified of, was really what inspired this story,” she says.

For home maker Bhamini Ravishankar, her novel ‘Fortnight Before Dawn’ was a result of her love for languages and the contemporary topic of terrorism. “Bombarded by daily news of how terrorists might be taking over our world and finding it rather unsettling, I always wondered how an ordinary person would react when thrown to the lions, so to speak. That person became my protagonist Avanti, and the twists and turns in her life during the last fortnight of the year 2014 became my debut novel,” she says.

Naturally, the hardest decision comes when you need to take a call of giving up a well-paying job to follow your passion for writing. “I took a conscious break to fully focus on the book and to see through its launch. The biggest challenge is that sometimes, even your close friends and family don’t support you. However, I think if you feel absolutely right about doing something, you should just go ahead and do it. And I am glad that I did just that,” says Amisha. “I think when you make a commitment like this one, you’re ready to make some lifestyle changes so I’d say the biggest challenge was writing the book. Writer’s block became a reality and I had to force myself to write at least a couple of pages a day, even if I didn’t end up using those pages,” adds Vinamra.

The bigger challenge is publishing, which is why many authors today are taking the self-publishing and print-on-demand routes. “As ‘Secrets in Time’ belonged to the science fiction/fantasy niche, the agents I contacted would have to belong to this market. The only Indian agent who responded to my query told me that she didn’t believe that the time-travelling concept would do well in the Indian market. After a few rejections from the US, I was all ready to give up, but then some of the characters had really grown on me and I didn’t have the heart to dump it in the trash. So I put it up on ‘Amazon’,” says Vinamra.

This is something that Bhamini echoes as well, “After a couple of publishers did not respond, I thought that ‘Amazon Kindle’ would be the best way to publish the book with the least amount of stress.” With the online media opening up a world of opportunities, writers truly have found their voice!

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