Romance has always managed to kindle the creativity of both authors and readers alike..
And, the suit followed even Puneite, Priyanka Menon. Her calibre has made her author two romance novels. ( For the record, Priyanka Menon’s Bowled Over and The One That Got Away were hugely successful books ). She is now all set for her next but we won’t tell…!
We spoke to this dynamic lady, who incidentally wears the hat of a teacher, feature writer, copywriter and poetess…
What was your childhood dream?
For the longest time, I wanted to be a TV reporter. I’ve grown up in a family that loves the evening news programs. News channels have been the steadiest constant of my life. I think it was somewhere around 1999 when I decided I want to be like Barkha Dutt and report from war zones like her Kargil reportage.
What was the thought process while writing each of your books?
I don’t have a very elaborate process when it comes to writing stories. But I always start from the conclusion. I imagine the ending even before I sit down to write the first chapter!
In a way, this helps me make sure my characters grow on to reach the ending I envisaged.
My characters are inspired by ordinary people and their stories. I have often been told that my characters are relatable and easy to accept. This, I think is a great compliment for a writer who wants to write simple stories about simple folk.
However, I do a fair bit of research with respect to my characters, places, setting, and only then do I begin plotting. Research is paramount for me.
Are you a romantic in real life too?
People today define romantics as those who have their head in the clouds, or are very removed from reality and other such funny interpretations. But to be honest, I don’t believe a practical person can’t be romantic. So, I’d say I’m a practical romantic. Though, at times, perhaps it is hard to see that about me.
Did you ever have doubts about your skills as a writer?
EVERY DAY. EVERY SINGLE DAY. And these doubts become more pronounced when I read other writers. Fortunately, I have a great support and reading system and they manage to make me feel better.
Tell us about the first thing you ever wrote in your life?
I honestly don’t remember. I started writing when I was about 14, I think. If I’m not mistaken, my first poem was about a boy in my tuition class. I think I’d fought with him over something. So basically, the poem was nothing but lines of profanity! I wasn’t a very regular writer when I was a kid. But I used to write often enough to believe I was a writer. When I started working, I never could find enough time to devote to writing. Eventually, after I quit, I found the time and my voice.
Talking about the turning point in December 2013, Mills and Boon India announced a contest for aspiring writers. My two previous attempts at this contest were disastrous. So, decided that, this would be my last shot!
Thankfully, I won the contest and everything fell into place.
Has teaching helped you become a finer writer?
Yes, absolutely. Teaching has really helped me become a better person. It allows me to delve into the minds of some of the most wonderful people I have met. I have been teaching for almost five years now, and I can only be grateful for the profound impact the journey has had on me and my life. Some of my students are my critics now. And the feedback they give is staggering. Such insight at such a young age!
Does criticism affect you?
Of course! We are all affected by criticism. And if someone says they aren’t, trust me, they are lying.
What are your ultimate goals?
I want to attempt other genres eventually, but for now, I’m enjoying romance and poetry.