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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Author Interview: Rohini Lall, author of 'The Sour Faced Moon'

When I first read this book, I was struck by the characters and the interest that was shown in developing them. ‘The Sour Faced Moon’ is a story of interesting characters, so I thought that this interview must also talk of a character, Rohini Lall, talking about her bookish characters. 

So, whether it was her school principal, or the authors, or the people who took the form of her ‘bookish characters’, she got them together ‘by picking and clubbing together the details and intricacies from the lives of people around'. Catch the review here. This author sure will go a long way and I try to find out more…

How did the idea for ‘The Sour Faced Moon’ happen?

The Sour Faced Moon is an accidental short story that turned out to be a little too long.

Though originally conceived as a short story, it went on getting longer and longer and I began enjoying developing the characters and before I knew it, I was too emotionally invested in it! 

How did you come up with the name?

The name is derived from a folk story that I was told as child about an old woman who weaves on the moon and trapped there, looks down upon the earth in despair. Hence, 'The Sour Faced Moon'.

How did you put it all together? Could you describe the journey? 

I spent six years on the book. Five years for writing, re writing and rewriting till I felt I could do no more with it and then, I began my hunt for a publisher.

What according to you is different about your book?

I write about what feels right to me, about the things that challenge an inspire me; that make me question myself and the society along with the rules and norms that govern us and I feel this approach that seeps into my book and writing that makes it different.

Which particular character did you feel most close to? Why?

Unlike most authors, I will come right out and say that, yes, I do pick favourites. The character I felt the closest to was Joshua Anderson. 

He was as unfettered and unaffected by boundaries as anyone can be — his disability, the controlled atmosphere of the rehab, the society, nothing can hold him back. He, in true sense, is his own master.

How would you relate the life of your characters to the lives around you? Any similarities?

I have developed my characters by picking and clubbing together the details and intricacies from the lives of people around me. There are a lot of people very close to me, in whom I still see a glimpse of characters and vice versa. 

Who was it that told you that you could become the storyteller, you have become?

When I was very young, my school principal, Rev. Fr. Varghese Panangatt, told me that that one day, people will believe in the stories that I have to tell and my voice will be heard and cherished.

Who is your inspiration? Also, is there an author you take inspiration from?

My inspiration are the people around me, people who think that they lead lives that are too ordinary to be documented, but that’s what is real; the good stuff that makes it worth our while to be thankful for all the little miracles.

The authors who inspire me are Gabriel García Màrquez, Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, Ruskin Bond, Orhan Pamuk and well, the list can go on and on…

What is the best and the worst part of being an author?

The best thing about being an author is that you can lead multiple lives all at once, also, don’t like something? Erase it!

The bad part- the agony, the waiting, the ominous brick wall!

Any advice to writers that would like to be published today?

Get an agent.

How tough is it to be published in India?
If you have a good agent- not very.

Which book are you currently reading?

Collected Stories - Gabriel García Màrquez.

Which book is coming next from you? When do you see it released?
I haven’t named it yet. Will keep you updated!

What do you like to do daily basis?

I like to walk- for hours at a stretch, read, watch movies and well, just the usual stuff!

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