Her latest Beynd School is an attempt to make the readers understand the teenagers with open mind and open hands to embrace them, the way they are. 🙂
Let us start with the session.
BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background. So, What all you have written / published till date? What inspired you to write your first book and or this book?
CA: I have been a teacher by profession, sharing my understanding of fundamental physics with students who are on the verge of entering professional colleges. This phase of transition, from school to college, is a challenging time for my students. Caught in a deluge of academic compulsions, personal aspirations and interests, hormonal changes, societal norms and indifferent schooling system, many of them go through harrowing time of what should have been a thrilling experience of learning, growing and dreaming. ‘’Beyond School,’’ could be considered a reflection of the times of our seventeen year olds, walking through the grind of our system of education.
BNI: A 30 word tagline for your book
CA: Seventeen- year- old Shail aspires to be an ace professional footballer. But he is unable to match his aspirations with directional focus and effort. Urmila and Sushil, influenced by momentous events in their past, wish him the realization of his dreams and take help from Gladys, a teacher-mentor, who has learnt her lessons for life in hard ways.
BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
CA: Shail may be a seventeen year old, fighting board exam related stress. But his times cannot be viewed in isolation of the life of his parents, teachers, friends and the inanimate system of education to which each contributes his mite. ‘’Beyond School’’ tries to explore boundaries beyond Shail’s life and school. Hence I hope readers from varied age groups and pursuits, find interest in the story.
BNI: Who is your favourite and least favourite character? What makes them so? Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
CA: Shail, Urmila, Sushil and Gladys, are the main characters in the book. And each one has a unique existence in ‘’Beyond School.’’ I am unable to choose one from another of them.
BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release?
CA: From the time I began writing the book to the time of its release, every moment has been a learning experience. ‘’Beyond School’’ is my first novel and in an effort such as this, I understood that, apart from developing the requisite skills, you should support yourself with tenacity and perseverance. Writing part is enjoyable and hence there is enthusiasm to overcome the hardships. Finding a publisher is a daunting task, not easy.
BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?
CA: In ‘’Beyond School,’’ when young Gladys would have died of shame and guilt, her father helps her to rise and succeed in life. I wish every father to be like Gladys’ father who inspires the girl by repeatedly saying,’ ’Life can always change for better.’’ Irrespective of the result, life is a process in which we may strive to make each day better than the one before.
BNI: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions or similar events? Any plans in relation to this book? Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
CA: I am yet to take concrete steps towards the marketing of ‘’Beyond School.’’
BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part- time?
CA: I have been living with the writer within me since childhood. It took me longer than I would have liked to work for my publishing dreams. Now I try to spend most of my time, reading and writing.
BNI: Which writers inspire you? What draws you to this genre?
CA: J.M. Coetzee, Julian Barnes, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Somerset Maugham, Munshi Premchand, P.L. Deshpande, Mahadevi Varma are among my favourites.
I read them for the wholesome experience of living and life that they provide.
BNI: According to you, What is the hardest thing about writing?
CA: The hardest thing about writing is to effect the transition of energy from mind space to paper space. What seems ecstatic, unique and marvelous in the realm of thoughts, so often falls flat on paper. The toil is all about trying to match the exuberance of thought with the form of words.
BNI: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
CA: I am conscious about the fact that I have attended to my passion of writing and reading rather late. But, I do not regret the late -entry, as there were other compulsions of life that needed to be given priority. I hope to write regularly hereon.
BNI: Many thanks to you Ms. Chitra. I hope the readers find the interview enriching enough, check for more details about the book and enjoy your company through words.