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Travel the Day in Books Readathon, Day 8 – Interview with Author Renita D’Silva

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General Event Info

What our readathon is all about:

Explore countries other than the one you live in. Read as much as you can of books set in a different country or by an author from a different country. Read for your own pleasure or learning, read with your kids or both. Travel the world from the comfort of your own home and learn about different cultures. Expand your horizons and show publishers that #WeNeedDiverseBooks to promote cultural understanding and diversity in our reading. Support diverse authors and books. #TraveltheWorldinBooksRAT

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Full Readathon Schedule
Book Giveaways and Prize Form page – please remember to fill out prize form so we know what you would like if you win!
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Interview with Author Renita D’Silva

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Today, I am ecstatic to have one of my favorite Indian authors on the blog today for our featured author interview. Renita D’Silva wrote Monsoon Memories and The Forgotten Daughter. Both novels are set in India and the UK, are told by alternating viewpoints of the female characters and feature mouth-watering Indian food descriptions and even recipes. I thought Monsoon Memories was a wonderfully dramatic and poignant debut novel. I was captivated by the characters and their plight and intrigued by what deep secret could have torn the family apart. The Forgotten Daughter is an emotional journey and story about self-discovery, forgiveness and testing the limits of mothers’ love. I loved this book both for how it made me feel and what it made me remember about my childhood and trip to India.

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Renita has a new book called The Stolen Girl that is being released on September 12, 2014. Thirteen year old Diya’s fragile world is shattered. Her mother is arrested, accused of abducting Diya when she was a baby. Stop by our Giveaway page to enter to win one of 2 e-books from Bookouture. Thanks Renita for completing our interview and giving us a glimpse into your writing career and your journey around the world in person and in books.

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1. Introduce yourself and your book to us.

Thank you for hosting me on your wonderful site as part of the Travel the World in Books Readathon, Tanya. It is a real pleasure to be featured here alongside such wonderful authors.

About me: I love reading, writing, cooking and spending time with my family. I like to read books set in different parts of the world, books where the setting is as much a character in the novel as the people populating the story. Hence it is no surprise that in my books too, setting and culture play a crucial role in the tale and define my characters’ actions and decisions.

My third book, ‘The Stolen Girl’ asks the question, ‘What would you do for the love of your only child?’ It is the story of thirteen year old Diya, whose life is turned upside down one dreary February evening when her mother is arrested for kidnapping her from India when she was just a baby. It is also the story of Vani, who has spent the last decade and a half looking over her shoulder, afraid of her own shadow, worrying that one day, the child she has tried so hard and for so long to own, will be taken away from her. It is the story of Aarti, battling demons from her past, who waits to meet with the daughter she knew for only a very brief while. It is the story of two very different women who make choices that will define and devastate the future of the child they both love and claim for their own.

2. Describe your path to becoming a writer. Give our aspiring writers one tip to achieving their writing dreams.

I have always wanted to write. But I only started to write in earnest when my youngest child started nursery and I finally decided to do something about my passion, enrolling in an Adult Education Creative Writing Course and sharing my stories, which had, until then, bloomed only in the privacy of my head. My stories were liked by the other members and a few were published in magazines and anthologies. Then I got an idea for a tale which kept on growing, refusing to stick to the boundaries of a few thousand words. It eventually became ‘Monsoon Memories’, my debut. Scores of rejections and many versions later, Bookouture agreed to publish my book and here I am.

Here’s my tip for aspiring writers: Don’t give up. However hard and pointless it seems at times, persevere. Remember, you only need one person to say yes.

3. How and why did you pick the location(s) of your book?

I grew up in a small village in India that was a hotbed for gossip and secrets, explosive relationships and festering wounds, shaped by a culture that was as primitive as it was heartfelt, as narrow minded as it was generous. I chafed at the restrictions imposed on girls by a culture that seemed to bind me in (loving) chains. All these things made their way into my books.

Did you spend time in the countries your book is set in? Give us examples of customs or something you found interesting about the culture you experienced.

I write about the India I grew up in, a land of disparities, of breath-taking beauty and toxic pollution, of chaos and noise contrasting with the agonised silence of women who are not heard, of people who are as kind as they are bigoted, of spicy food and spicier gossip, of paan-chewing matrons and arranged marriages, of girls who yearn to grow into the women they want to be but are restrained by a culture that levies boundaries on them.

4. What is your favorite place that you visited, either personally or professionally?

I love living in the UK. I love the weather and the food. I love the rainy summers and the rainier winters. I love Christmas and the drawing in of days. I love the freedom this country affords, the generosity it shows to its people and to everybody else. I love its sense of humour and its history. I love its cities and its beaches, its quaint villages, its greenery and even its stark, endless mid-winter evenings. I love its people. I love where I live.

5. Where are your bucket list travel destinations?

I would like to see more of the world, as much of the world as I possibly can.

6. Where would you most like to write about?

Any place that takes my imagination hostage, really. For the immediate future, it is still India – I haven’t exhausted my spate of stories set there.

7. What book are you working on now and where does it take place?

I am currently in the very beginning stages of Book 4, which also takes place partly in India and partly in the UK.

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Follow Renita D’Silva

Follow Renita on her blog / on Goodreads / on Facebook / on Twitter

Giveaway!

Enter to win one of 2 e-books of The Stolen Girl on our Giveaways page.

Linkup your Pinterest Account

Linkup your Pinterest account and follow the other Readathon participants. Be sure to add your links to our weekly linkup so your Readathon posts can be pinned to our Readathon Pinterest Board.


What books have you enjoyed by Indian authors or set in India? Share your recommendations with us and enter to win Renita’s newest book!

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6 Comments

  1. Thank you for this lovely interview with Renita d’Silva. I especially enjoyed the way she described her birth country, India, and her current home country, England–two loves of her life evoked with such tenderness.

    I read and reread the traditional epics of India, Mahabharata and Ramayana, whether in scholarly editions or in the many wonderful retellings available by R. K. Narayan, William Buck, Chakravarthi V. Narasimhan,or novelist Ramesh Menon. Ashok Banker’s complete Ramayana series that began with “Prince of Ayodha” is available on kindle now.

    Among modern novels, I mention Anita Desai’s “Clear Light of Day,” Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s “Heat and Dust,” Manil Suri’s “The Death of Visnu”–just a few out of the wealth of so many!

    1. p.s. I am also excited to learn about Renita’s books! They sound very moving (and delicious too), and I appreciated Tanya’s recommendation of them. On the TBR list! (and I’ll visit the giveaway page too)

      1. Thank you for your lovely words and wonderful recommendations, Lucy. I am so glad you enjoyed the interview and hope you like my books too. I am honored to be featured here alongside such wonderful and diverse authors. Thank you for your recommendations. You know, I read a lot of Indian fiction, but haven’t read Anita Desai, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala or Manil Suri, although they have been on my To Read list. They will definitely move up my list now 🙂 I recently read ‘Of Marriageable Age’ by Sharon Maas, an epic tale set in Guyana, India and the UK and it has stayed with me. Would highly recommend it.

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