“I have never claimed to create anything out of nothing; I have always needed an incident or a character as a starting point, but I have exercised imagination, invention and a sense of the dramatic to make it something of my own.”
— Somerset Maugham, in A Writer’s Notebook.
I wrote my 2nd novel ‘Entwined Lives’ to be a sequel to the issues I depicted in my first ‘Across Borders’ – on the socioeconomic position of women in undivided India since 1940-2005.
The second novel depicts the drastic change in the position of women in every way. I depicted this from 2006-2015, and as I happened to live in Chennai throughout this time, married to a senior journalist, working as a senior executive search consultant (headhunter) after a few lifestyle-retail stints, I located the novel in Chennai and also Mumbai, with the characters created out of my familiar work spaces.
The situations in both novels are relevant pan India and across/outside borders, however much we may try to deny or hide it out of fear and hypocrisy. Reading that we’re not the only ones facing turmoil is emotionally liberating, as I’ve been told by those who read my books, making me feel an immense sense of job satisfaction, which has always been my driving factor all my working life.
In the writing of my novel, Entwined Lives, I have meticulously read and reread almost all of Maugham’s novels back to back, and I read him only – and exclusively for the close to three to four years it took me to write this novel.
My characters, plots and subplots are all inspired by real people and incidents, but my detailed handling of their psyche, is inspired by Maugham’s. 🤓😊
The novels of his I was most inspired to base the mental workings of mine are — ‘Mrs Craddock’, ‘Liza of Lambeth’, and varied characters from ‘Razors Edge’, ‘Of Human Bondage’ and ‘Moon and Sixpence’
So though my novels plot, location and characters are contemporary, they have received historical and classical treatment, and thus my confidence. 😋
I have immensely enjoyed, though often to the point of exasperatedly frustrating insanity – from creeping around the minds and under the skin of my characters, living as them, thus acting high strung and highly emotional and volatile; I do hope you enjoy living the lives of my characters, in reading my novel “Entwined Lives.”
It truly has been an adventure of my soul.😍
— Shuvashree Chowdhury
“Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.” — W. Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up/
The above post is inspired and in response to the write up and comments below of Sharmila Dutta in the photo —on my facebook wall, on 25th July, 2019.
I just completed reading this novel Entwined Lives, it’s about two life sized attractive and independent women…They are so real and relatable, that was what infused interest in me, I, who can hardly concentrate these days on a complete book of 350 or more pages…I could relate more since I have walked a good distance on both characters’ paths..
I wasn’t able to get out a lot of uninterrupted time since I got the book, but managed to pinch out time from here and there from being a full time working woman, as I was totally engrossed in the characters – very involving, captivating and absolutely irresistible!
In my opinion – We (women) of today should read this novel, as the characters are not unknown or completely left to our imagination. Just that we shove these circumstances under the carpet…due to hypocrisy or unwarranted fears. But setting ourselves free from what people think of us is truly soul recovering.
I liked both the characters of Aparna and Sujata.
I recently reunited with my childhood friend Shuvashree (the author of this book) after almost 3 long decades, but after reading the book it left me wondering was it true that we weren’t in touch? ‘Cause my life was out there dramatized in someone’s imagination…without any connection over all the trying phases of my life when I could have used the strength of her friendship.
Good piece of work Shuvashree!! So so proud of you .. 😉
Thanks for thinking of writing facts of life which we often want to shove under the carpet. Realistically, its out there..it’s just a part of our journey and we all tell so many stories in our life. You can do wonders with your pen.. lots of love for getting into the skin of so many characters.. ❤💓💕 and keeping it real.
Your imagination touched many lives, some owned up and so many remained in denial. But I am feeling lighter, that I didn’t think twice to own up. Hypocrisy, is what we are taught to follow in almost every walk of life. Let it be personal, corporate, social or in union with the larger world. We love to be living in the belief “it’s not me”.
— Sharmila Dutta.
#womensupportingwomen #feminism #socioeconomic #womeninspiringwomen #novel #literaryfiction #poet #authorlife #loveyourself #inspirationalbooks #motivationalbooks #poetrybook #historicalfiction #womensempowerment #novelist #workingwomen #relationships #art #art-and-life #artists #imagination #soulful #somersetmaugham
All my books, paper copies and ebooks are available globally on all online sales platforms, and stores only in India – though now closed.