'I've always enjoyed creative assignments and playing with words'
Tryst with writing
It was poetry, and not fictional prose, however, that a young Sudha first wrote as a child. “My first piece of writing was a get-well poem that I wrote to an aunt who was unwell. It felt wonderful to read it aloud to her and see her smile,” shares the best-selling author. Back in school, she used to love writing essays; especially, the creative writing exercises in her English class. “I’ve also been a voracious reader right from my childhood,” says Sudha. Enid Blyton was her favourite author.
Software engineering to self-publishing
Despite Sudha’s promising talent for creative writing, she was pushed towards a conventional career path with software engineering. It was when she quit her software job and decided to join a technical newspaper that her passion for words was rekindled. “I enjoyed creative assignments and playing with words. My writing was appreciated and one thing led to another,” shares the debut author. “I was fortunate to have found a passion that made me want to wake up and get to work every morning.” This was also the time when she became an active member of her local library, attending book discussions and readings regularly. It was one of those book reading sessions that inspired her to try writing fiction. “That's how my stories were born,” says Sudha.
Patience and perseverance
“One afternoon, on a whim, I sat down and wrote an entire short story in one sitting. The experience was exhilarating to say the least. I liked it so much that I sent it to an online magazine. Although rejected, the piece got me a very sweet mail from the editor, asking me to try again. That was all the encouragement I needed to keep plodding on,” Sudha says. It took her several tries to get accepted into that particular magazine, but finally one day she did get published in it. “I was hooked, and plunged into the world of writing fiction.”
When it came to novel writing, however, Sudha discovered it to be a different ball game altogether. Although she had been writing short stories for years, she lacked the self-confidence of penning down an entire novel. In addition, her father's unexpected passing away after a brief illness in 2016 hit her very hard. That was the tipping point in her life that finally pushed her over the edge.
Reaching out with Kindle
“KDP is a great platform for indie authors,” avers Sudha, “Self-publishing gave me complete control over the cover design, book pricing, release timing, etc. The KDP team was very responsive when I had questions. It was a great experience.” The day Sudha decided to publish, The Wedding Tamasha, was special because it was her mother's birthday. “I remember calling my mother that morning and being with her on the phone as I hit ‘Publish’. The book went live in a few hours. To have been able to dedicate my first book to my dad a year after his passing, and publish it on my mother’s birthday felt amazing and was a dream come true. When I won the contest for my debut novel, at least one of my parents was around to see it and feel proud of me.”
Sudha feels that winning the KDP contest has opened up the world for her. “To have been given a platform as ginormous as the Jaipur Literature Festival, to have stepped on a stage that only a privileged few could even dream of, to have been able to meet authors that I admire and idolise, was extraordinarily overwhelming. Getting on that stage and addressing a crowd of thousands after winning the prize was not only a great honour but also a truly unforgettable experience. I feel blessed to have had such an incredible experience after winning the contest.”
What lies ahead
Now she feels motivated to become a prolific author when readers tell her they're waiting for her next book. “I’m fortunate that my first novel was so widely appreciated by readers from all over the world. The encouraging messages have been overwhelming, to say the least, and have made all the hard work worthwhile.” Her second novel is on its way; and meanwhile, she is open to all forms of writing, including screenplays for movies, short films and plays. “I'd co-written a Hinglish play for a Bangalore-based theatre company, which was a lot of fun to write!”
We look forward to many more creative projects from her!