Here’s our Q & A session with Preeti Shenoy, Author of ’34 Bubblegums & Candies.’ Preeti also blogs here and has a huge following of readers including yours truly.
JustBooks: Are we right in surmising that your book ‘ 34 bubblegums & candies’ is more of a memoir? How popular are such books?
Preeti Shenoy: Absolutely not. ‘34 Bubblegums and Candies’ is not a memoir at all. It is a collection of 34 ordinary incidents that happened to me and which could have happened to anybody, as they are all daily life incidents. Almost anyone who reads it is able to relate to it. Going by the feedback I have got from the readers, as well as amazing reviews from the Media, I’d say it has been very well received. In fact it has now gone into the 5th impression and subsequent copies would be coming out with a ‘National Bestseller’ tag.
JB: You mention that your book has created remarkable empathy among your readers. Could you elaborate more on this aspect?
PS: Most people who read the book connect with me as a friend. They write to me about deep issues that have affected them. They share their lives with me. They feel a remarkable connection with me and they say that they feel they have known me for ages. I have many, many such mails. I feel humbled and honoured that my book is able to strike a chord.
JB: Your first story in the book is dedicated to your father. He was obviously very special. Could you elaborate?
PS: To me, my dad was a remarkable person. I was fortunate to have been his daughter and am fortunate to have imbibed at least some of his qualities. For every great father-daughter relation, there are many not-so-great and many shocking and deplorable ones. I am thankful that my father was my mentor, guide, philosopher and friend. Many people write to me saying that I was lucky to have a person like him and how different their fathers were.
JB: How do you balance your life what with all your myraid activities of writing, blogging, painting, pursuing fitness & running a family?
PS: I am fortunate to have a very supportive husband who helps me a lot. My children too are very understanding and they give me my time to work. A few close friends support and keep pushing me to write. Also I have this tendency to be deeply involved with what I am doing at the moment. So I guess all that helps.
JB: Is there another book in the offing? Is it getting easier / more difficult to write?
PS: Yes, I am working on my second book which is about 80% done. A lot of effort goes into writing a book. It involves sleepless nights, sitting for long hours in isolation, getting a creative mood and hours and hours of writing, re-writing and tap tapping away on the computer. It is such a solitary exercise and one has to travel to those hateful places inside one’s own head. It isn’t a cakewalk. But I really enjoy writing. When you enjoy something so much one does not think about whether it is easier or harder—one just keeps doing it. I’d be happy if readers enjoy it as much as the first one.
JB: Looking ahead, what’s your view on e-readers & books being digitized for downloadable versions?
PS: To me a book needs pages that one can hold in one’s hands and flip through. Like any true book lover, I simply love the smell of books. I love the thought of curling up with a good book, with a cup of tea perhaps. Somehow the e-readers and digitized versions rob that simple pleasure.
JB: Among the Indian authors – fiction & non-fiction – who are your favorites?
PS: I love Anita Nair. Undoubtedly she is my favourite for fiction. For non-fiction I actually do not have any favourites as such but I love the spiritual columns by Mukul Sharma and am also deeply moved by the words of Swami Vivekananda.
JB: How important is the reading habit for children?
PS: Very, very, very, very, very important. Even if I write ‘very’ a hundred times it will not be enough.
JB: What’s your experience with a book library?
PS: Ever since I can remember I have always been a member of a book library. Every place I have moved to, the first thing I locate, after a house and school for the children, is a library. Here I am fortunate to have access to a really good library which has an excellent collection.
JB: You are back in the UK. Miss India already?
PS: My home and my heart are in India as are my closest friends. I do miss India, especially Bangalore which I consider ‘home’. People in India do not realize how lucky they are! One is able to appreciate it more, when one lives abroad.