On the role of books and writing in her life and what led her to become an author:
Growing up in a small town in India in the 1950s and 60s, books were the only entertainment for my sisters and me. There was no television in those days and radio catered strictly to adults with serious news, music, and cricket commentaries for sports buffs. As a result, children had no other source of entertainment other than playing with friends and reading.
In our town we had a small library-cum-bookstore called Oliver’s that was a cramped room filled with books. Membership at the library cost a monthly fee for each member. My girlfriends, sisters, and I used to frequent Oliver’s all through our summer vacations. Copies of books were limited and everyone was scrambling around to read popular books while they were put on a waiting list.
My mother, who was married off at the age of 15 in an old-fashioned arranged marriage, was an avid reader and instilled the love of reading in every one of her five daughters. For that and for giving us a wonderful education in the English language I will always be grateful. Without that I could never have become an author.
I was a late bloomer – a 50-year old empty-nester, when I took up creative writing as an interesting hobby to ward off the loneliness of my weekday evenings while my husband worked on an out-of-state engineering project Monday through Friday. As my non-fiction articles and short stories began to gain attention, honours and awards, my ambitions started to grow. Why not write novels and become a published author, I asked myself. And thus began my quest for a literary agent and a publisher.
Finding a reputable agent and later a publisher was not an easy task, as every fiction author knows, but it was a challenge and therefore worth pursuing. After three published books, I have come to realize how much commitment in terms of time, money, effort, and perseverance it takes to become a published fiction author. But despite the tumultuous nature of the journey, it has its rewards. Every letter I receive from a reader who enjoys my books makes it a worthwhile adventure.
THE SARI SHOP WIDOW is available at all U.S. and Canadian bookstores and online booksellers.
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