‘Literary chic-lit’: You’ve never heard of it, right! Well, not so long ago, neither had you heard of baked rosogolla or doi and chocolate sandesh or Chinese(noodle) samosas. You can add mihidana tart to that too! Someone had to innovate and now it’s like your palates grew up on these tastes. 😋😄
This is, after having given you a glimpse of what went into the making of my 3 other books in the previous few posts.
Just about the time that my first novel Across Borders was in stores, I happened to be at a much regarded friends place for a dinner party. She had been my journalist husband’s senior colleague, when I moved to Chennai in 2006.
All the invitees at this party, in 2013, were either senior journalists – editors, columnists, critics, or reputed persons from various facets of the art world, like – theatre, dance, music and film. Husband, as he works late, was to join us in a while straight from work. I had arrived early, from home. Most of the other guests had arrived by then.
We were all seated in her living room, with our drinks in hand, when our host introduced everyone.
To my introduction, she enthusiastically added:“…Shree’s book has just been released…”
When interrupting her mid-sentence, a senior and noted theatre person, turned towards me, and blurted, “What have you written…A Chic-lit?” … even as I looked at him in surprise, then my stinging irritation turning into embarrassment, as I was aware of all eyes on me, he added, “has anyone here read it?’’
I looked at our host, who seemed more surprised and awkward than I was and signalling to her with my hand, I said, “She’s (I used her name) read it and even recommended it to other senior authors…”
When my husband arrived I narrated this situation, that was to bother me for the rest of the evening and long after, seeking some empathy, but he obviously didn’t think anything of it and proceeded to socialise with the others.
A few years back, in 2006, the year I had moved to Chennai, I had been at this same friends place for her new year eve’s party. The same theater person, who thought me capable of authoring nothing more than a chick lit, even though the first corporate team I had led of 15, when I was 25 years, had comprised of 14 men and 1 woman excluding me, who were a couple of years younger, to two being of my age, managed to rattle me even then.
I had just walked in to the same living room, when after exchanging pleasantries with my husband, he dramatically sized me, and blurted, “You certainly don’t look like ‘The Wife’ from BG’s columns.”
Yet it was to be this same man who interrupted my conversation with a group of journalists, on a theatre festival we’d all attended, to apprise them: ‘‘Don’t you know…She was not just in the audience at the Short and Sweet theatre festival! She was one of the jury, for the course of 70 plays.”
This was in 2017, at the launch of husband’s last book. Obviously, a lot had changed from 2006-2013-2017…when he was surprised to see me with the mark sheet in hand just like him, long after the audience and the theater artists left.
It was experiences such as these, and so many more, that prepared me – not to shy away from, or be intimidated by what people perceive from the way I look or dress.
Then, I decided to use it all, having gained strength from it, when I conceived the plot of my 2nd novel, “Entwined Lives” (cover photo attached) with the intention of truly writing a breezy chick-lit.
But just as Mr David Davidar (publisher) whom I had once asked – if I should pursue writing literary fiction as a new author, had warned me, I could not pull it off even though I tried.
I couldn’t keep from navigating deep down into my characters psyche, and lives, and not write from the well of my own wisdom and understanding of life, turning my ambitious chic-lit commercial plot into a work of literary fiction of 1.5 lac words.
Also during the 4 years that I took to write Entwined Lives, I read and reread all of Somerset Maughams books back to back and cover to cover. To ensure I was doing justice to the handling of my characters psyche.
And the book that my novel is most inspired by is ‘Mrs Craddock’ which was incidentally banned for long, during Maugham’s times, and then published only much later. The world was not ready to acknowledge or allow women to take their lives into their own hands. Has much changed yet? Read my novel to find out…
Now all these topics that I’ve written about in Entwined Lives, had recently all been much in the news over the Me too movement in India, washing over the media, especially.
Excerpts from the novel: https://shuvashreechowdhury.com/2020/05/19/entwined-lives-poetry-or-prose-few-excerpts/
You can order your copy of ENTWINED LIVES that’s available in several shops pan-India also on Amazon globally, directly – to save delivery charges…along with the other 3 books at:
#newbookrelease #novel #innovation #selfbelief #womensempowerment #womenempoweringwomen #selfconfidence #poetryinmotion #wisdom #chennai #indianfiction #inspiration #authorlife #perseverance
Click and enlarge cover photo to read blurb…