The third author spotting the light on her majestic aura is Mangala Nagarajan maam. Her latest present to her readers is a book titled- ‘Light Denied’ published by Gargi Publishers.
She has many laurels adorning her kitty. I am thankful to her for taking out time to answer to the questionnaire. Let us start our journey with her, this time.
BNI: Tell us something about yourself and your background.
MN: I live in Kalpakkam , a nuclear township on the shores of Bay of Bengal in Tamil Nadu. I am a homemaker. Reading books, blogging, spending time with the kids and watching nature is my life.
BNI: So, What all you have written / published till date?
MN: I blog for Sulekha on all topics. My first novel ‘Amidst the tides lies a beautiful island’ was published by Patridge India, then ‘Light Denied’ by Gargi. Another short story ‘Phenomenal Love’ is one in the Anthology ‘Drenched Souls’.
BNI: What inspired you to write your first book and or this book?
MN: Reading my blogs in Sulekha, my dad wanted me to compile the blogs and give it to him. I decided to give him a surprise on his 83rd birthday and my first Novella, ‘Amidst the tides lies a beautiful island’ was born.
In my hometown Madurai, I have seen female infanticide, the disabled being treated as cursed. I was too young to address this then. I wanted to write about this to create awareness that disability is not a liability and they too have the right to live.
BNI: A 30 word tagline for your book.
MN: I would prefer to give Gayatri Aptekar’s review as my story’s tagline .She made my day’. An inspiring story of hoping against hope and achieving what most people term impossible! Light Denied brightens and shines.
BNI: How did you come up with the title?
MN: I had first named it Viswathomukhi .But my publisher Pulkit Gupta said that the title wasn’t catchy. He suggested a few and I wasn’t completely satisfied. I remembered Milton and the words he used to express his blindness’, ‘Light denied’ .We both decided on it.
BNI: Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?
MN: It is written in simple language to appeal to the mass. Anyone can read it as it is sure to inspire and show the other side of life.
BNI: Who is your favourite and least favourite character? What makes them so?
MN: Haha! Can a mother dislike her creations? Everyone in my book is special to me in their own ways. They have their reasons to behave the way they did. I lived each one when I penned. I loved the teacher Titiksha who showed what it was to be a tutor, without whom my story wouldn’t have stepped forward.
BNI: Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
MN: Viswathomukhi- she struggles and strives to reach the goal. We can give support but there should be a flame to leave the barriers and get out. She did it .I believe too that her character can inspire and motivate many.
BNI: What was the hardest and easiest thing about your latest release?
MN: Easiest thing—Pulkit Gupta, was available anytime to answer any queries of mine.
Hardest part -Promotion.
Mr.Gupta did his part but I couldn’t really help him in this as my circle is limited.
BNI: Share some interesting story about the book writing/cover development.
MN: I was trying to bring the difficulties in the daily routine of the blind girl. I had written almost three pages when I realised that it had flaws .I stayed blind for an hour and imagined the situation. It was difficult and I came up with Chapter 6 where she enjoys the rain. Honestly I thanked God for making me perfect .
BNI: Is there a message in your book/novel that you want readers to grasp?
MN: We have to develop awareness on disability and support these special people for the world is created for them too and we have no right to deny it.
BNI: Do you meet your readers at book signings, conventions or similar events? Any plans in relation to this book?
MN: No, I have started late .This is not my profession. I am doing it out of passion.
BNI: Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
MN: I am getting feedbacks from the readers who have read the book. My dad was the first to call me and tell that he was touched and had tears when he read the book. I get feedbacks from my friends but the ones that make me elated are from the people unknown to me.
BNI: When and how did you decide to become a writer? Do you write full-time or part-time?
MN: Writing is my passion. I started late after my daughter went abroad to pursue her education and my husband was busy with his job. I would thank the ‘Empty nest syndrome’ that made me turn to my passion.
BNI: Which writers inspire you?
MN: I love Authur Hailey, Perry Mason’s and Agatha christie’s and R.K.Narayan’s works. I love the poems of Keats, Shelley, Gibran, Tagore, Ramanujam and in my language Tamil, I have list of favorite authors.
BNI: What draws you to this genre?
MN: I love all Genres except horror and sorcery. I hate them.
BNI: According to you, What is the hardest thing about writing?
MN: I don’t get time to type my words for an hour together as I have to answer the bell or a phone call. Then …..Editing. I always find it tough to edit my own work .Ila Garg helped me in weeding Light Denied.
BNI: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
MN: It is just my passion.
BNI: What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment to you, as an author?
MN: Criticism -My husband is my first critic. He tells me frankly where and what I err. The other one is Usha ,a Tamil author and Durgesh (Author of Twelve Strokes), they tell me frankly what they feel about my work, be it good or bad.
Compliment: When out of blue, people call me and tell that they enjoyed my work. I have heard it from many.
BNI: What will be your one favourite tip to get through the writer’s block?
MN: Hmmm..I need a tip myself. Just write, don’t wait for the best thoughts to come. Keep writing.
BNI: What are your thoughts on book series? Would you like to have one for your latest book?
MN: No .
BNI: Any advice for writers budding or established?
MN: If your passion is writing, write, whatever be your age, don’t wait for themes to come, don’t bother about the grammar for according to me the best book is the one which can converse, take you along with it and make you feel what the characters feel. Finally it should be written with those feeling which you want your characters to reflect.
BNI: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
MN: I can write a book on it.In a few words, I did not enjoy the ride.
BNI: What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
MN: When I write, I become the character. I could feel myself floating in air when I gave the last chapter of my book. I always wanted my heroine to be the best and she is till the end…
BNI: Did you learn anything from writing your book? What was it?
MN: Each blog or book gives me lessons .I learnt that everything that appeals to me need not appeal to others.
BNI: What do you think about – What does your protagonist think about you?
MN: Amol Karambe’s cover design shows my heroine’s head held high. I always want her to be confident and courageous. Protagonist think of me—I need to ask her, whether she enjoyed being with me.
BNI: How about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
MN: “The girl gave her the pen and placed her hand on the page. She signed. The dumb girl kissed her and her mom said, “You cannot see. My daughter cannot talk. She loves to dance. She loves music too. That is why, we never miss a single concert. I will give my best to my daughter Madam. Your little speech brought confidence in me.”
BNI: What are your expectations for the book?
MN: I hope many would read the book and understand the cause for what it is written.
BNI: Do you think book cover an important role in sales?
MN: Of course yes. I pick a book seeing the cover. It is the face that gives the first impression. For a book it is the cover. Everyone loved my book’s cover.
BNI: According to you, what is the top most advantage / disadvantage of self publishing?
MN: When you come in contact with a proper publisher, it is good. Otherwise it turns a nightmare. There are loads and loads of books being published after self publishing came into vogue but reaches a few readers. That is the disadvantage.
BNI: ebook, pdf, mobi, kindle or printed hardcover book, what’s your pick?
MN: I always go for a printed version.
BNI: Dear maam, thanks for sharing your insight with us and the blog readers. We eagerly wait for your next to be enlightened with your vision and precision!