Authors

People are able to find meaning in my writing: Preeti Shenoy

Her new book comes eight years after we first met Ankita Sharma

In Preeti Shenoy’s new book, Wake Up, Life Is Calling, the protagonist’s creative writing class is posed the question – what does writing mean to you? when asked the same, Preeti’s response is immediate. “Writing means everything to me; it comes as naturally as breathing. I was writing when nobody read me. Today thousands of people read my books and I’m still writing,” she laughs.

The author, among the top 5 highest selling authors in India, is on the Forbes longlist of the most influential celebrities in India.

Her new book, released online on April 17, continues the story of Ankita Sharma that began with the release of Life Is What You Make It in 2011 in which she is diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

“To be honest, I never expected to write the sequel because Life… , which was about mental health was a very difficult book [to write]. I thought I was done with the subject, but it looks like Ankita was not done with me!”

Life…ended with an epilogue stating what happened 15 years later. “The sequel takes readers through the first year of that journey. Ankita joins a creative writing course and everything is fine on the surface but there is trouble brewing deep within.”

On the question of whether she thinks people are more willing to have conversations on mental illness and mental health now, she does not mince her words. “Not really; the stigma is still there. Someone famous may talk about it and people may accept it but has it really come to the mainstream? Is the Indian middle class willing to talk about it? No. We have made progress but we have a long way to go.”

As for whether she would categorise her books as young adult, she says, “No. In fact, I haven’t even thought about which age group will read it. People as young as 13 have read [my books] and I was stunned when this woman who was 86 or 87 said ‘I love your books.’ I was really happy that my writing cuts across age barriers.”

“I do feel that in India there is this huge gap. Either you have really bad quality books like some campus romance or you have literary fiction. There is nothing in between. I think currently probably I’m the only one writing in that space. ”

On the question of the reason for her success. “I think it’s because I write well,” she laughs. “People are able to find meaning in my writing and so, they tell their friends. Because if I read a good book, I’m definitely telling everyone to read it. In fact, onInstagram I recommend the books that I love.”

Interestingly the chapter titles in Wake Up… are all song titles. Preeti says, “My editor said, ‘Listen, Life… had chapter titles so to maintain continuity please give chapter titles.’ So, the songs have something to do with the chapters; it’s connected. And obviously, they are songs I like.”

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 11:15:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/authors/people-are-able-to-find-meaning-in-my-writing-preeti-shenoy/article26922401.ece

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