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Friday, November 27, 2015

Author Interview : Malavika Nataraj, author of 'Suraya's Gift' (Part 2)

Read up, ‘Suraya’s Gift’ author, Malavika Nataraj’s Interview, (Part 2). The response for this blog post was outstanding. Incidentally, this would also mark 100 posts on Sruti's BookBlog for this year. Yaay!!

That is why I thought I would put in the second part, right now. So, let’s not waste time and keep on reading, Folks…

What was the most challenging part about writing this book?

For me the most challenging part was trying to put some distance between me and the manuscript, to try and see it objectively, if anyone reading, it would enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

Who was it that told you that you could become the author, you are today?
Malavika Nataraj

My family. They have been reading my stories, since I was a child. 

They always told me that I could be anything I wanted, to be and I think that gave me the freedom to explore what I really enjoyed doing.

When will you next book be out?

Margaret Atwood
That’s still undecided at this point in time.

Which book are you currently reading?

Who are your favourite authors and why?

I read a lot of Japanese authors, the Japanese language being a deep passion of mine. 

Haruki Murakami
So I’d have to list, Haruki Murakami, Junichiro Tanizaki as some of my favourites. 
Another classic for me is Pearl Buck’s 'The Good Earth', which I have read more than 25 times! And each time I read it, I find a new line that really resonates with me.

What else do you do on a daily basis?

I’m currently qualifying to be a Japanese-English translator so my studies and translation assignments keep me quite busy.

You can check out the Malavika Nataraj Interview (Part 1), here
You can Read my Review here
You can Buy the Book, here

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Author Interview : Malavika Nataraj, author of 'Suraya's Gift' (Part 1)

Malavika Nataraj

Read up, ‘Suraya’s Gift’ author, Malavika Nataraj’s Interview. From the time, I read the book, I usually expect to imagine and dream, because that is what this story represents. 

A childlike imagination and stories, which just might come true, and an author to help the kids try it, Folks…

How did 'Suraya's Gift' happen? Could you describe the journey?

Working as a freelance writer means that there is little room for creativity. But since creative writing has always been a passion, I decided one day to finally send out a manuscript and see where it could go. 

The team at Penguin liked it and the rest is history, as they say!

How did the story, especially Suraya's and the story catcher's, come about?

I was a child, who loved to write and who always had a big imagination – very much like Suraya. So, I think that’s where my inspiration for the story came from. 

I started writing a story that I could read to my daughters, and that just evolved into 'Suraya’s Gift'.

What according to you is different about your book?

I think my book  - and the whole series, I am planning, called The Story Catcher Children – is about kids who love to write. And I want to get kids interested in creative writing again. Not on devices, not on a keypad but just simply with a pencil, a sheet of paper and their imagination. 

I believe this message comes through in the book and for me, that’s what makes this book different. The story can also be understood and absorbed on many different levels.

Adults reading it have told me that they loved the depth of the book. So I’d say that it is a book for both kids and adults.

How would you relate the lives of characters to the lives today? Any similarities?

I think any child of any nationality would relate to Suraya. She could be the average girl next door. 

The story is not set within a particular time frame nor in a specific geographical location, so I think this also makes it relatable to people anywhere the world.

You can Read my Review here
 You can Buy the Book, here 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review : '1000 Kilograms of Goa' by Rohan Govenkar

1,000 Kilograms of Goa’ by Rohan Govenkar is probably just what I needed.  And no, unlike what the book sounds like, am not talking of drugs, at all. It is not only a good suspense and a police-robber story, but it also has some love and friendship, involved as well. 

The first part is kind of bad start to the story, and I would ask the reader not to judge the book by its prologue. Probably, because you don’t hear of it again. 

So, I am starting off from the first chapter, which began on 13th December 2010 with a broken hearted hero, Ashwin. He does not want too much to do with his ex-Russian girlfriend, Ekaterina because she did con him. And with a drug deal, which needs to be left suspenseful, for now.

Ashwin is looking forward to a reunion with a few friends and they arrive in Goa, with a fiancée and sister in tow. Iftikar and his fiancée Maya, who unfortunately is from Kazakhastan (whom Ashwin currently dislikes, because of its close proximity to Russia) Bhavesh, Pratik and his sister, Priya are the guests in Goa.

Pratik and Priya have a mystery up their sleeve, which they do not want to reveal in front of Maya. The mystery involves the gang, who has to go treasure hunting in Goa. The story that goes back a few generations up to a time, in Goa when the ancestors of Pratik and Priya, left behind a treasure and the mystery remained unsolved and the treasure unfound. This story is told and revealed to Maya, as well, thanks to a love-struck Ifti.

All the treasure hunters have been promised a share by Pratik and Priya, provided they find it and keep it. So, the mystery hunt begins.

They manage to find the treasure, lose it, and again find out a few traces about it, get themselves involved with drug dealers and cops. There is also Ashwin and Priya, who find themselves in love, and the group gets conned by Maya, much to Ifti’s heartbreak.

Finally, do they find the treasure and keep it? Also, how will the lovers cope? Will they have the drug dealers off their backs or will they get involved with the cops? All this in 10 days!

And how does the reunion give the readers something else to look forward to the next time they are in Goa? In this entire brilliant rigmarole, there are times when a reader can get confused, and there are a few grammatical errors too. But, not for long and not too many mistakes.
The mysterious history of Goa, the history books involved, all add to the twists and turns of this story. Rohan Govenkar has debuted, with a bang and we now, officially have another adventure writer, in our midst. 

You can Read the book '1000 Kilograms of Goa', right here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

C'mon Tom, Whitewash my Fence!

Mark Twain, detail of photo by Mathew Brady,
 from Wikipedia

Its Mark Twain time. One of my favourite adventures was in ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and it was known as ‘Tom Sawyer Whitewashing the Fence’. 

Incidentally, Tom Sawyer was pretty much his own life story. It was based on his and his friends’ childhoods. I enjoyed reading this when I was 5 or 6, but I loved it and basically re-read it only recently, when I was writing another blog post. 

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who was born on November 30th 1835, was
Huckleberry Finn- From Wikipedia
better known as Mark Twain. He wrote ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ and ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘The Prince and the Pauper’. He was an American author and humourist. His stories were brilliant, as they had awesome humour, social commentary and a few lessons too.

Tom Sawyer lived with his Aunt Polly, and she had put him to work as a punishment. So, on a fine summer Saturday, Tom made his way to a 30 yard fence with a long brush and a bucket of whitewash. He seemed really despondent, when he reached the fence. He dejectedly began the work. But it was only minutes when his friend, Jim came by. 

Jim, who also had his own work to do, that of fetching water refused to whitewash in place of fetching water, which Tom said he was glad to do. Jim finally gave in, when Tom offered to show off his sore toe.  So, whitewash it was, until Aunt Polly caught Jim doing Tom’s work.

Tom began the work again, but it did not last very long. At this point, he had an idea. It was now, that the first of his friends came along. Ben Rogers, who was eating an apple and singing a song, came upon Tom, who seemed to be busy at work. When Ben was sympathising with Tom saying that he had enough work to do, did Tom unleash his plan.

Tom said that he wasn’t working at all, and only loved painting the fence and he made such a jingle about it, that Ben was totally awestruck. He began whitewashing it and seemed to enjoy it as much as Tom was! Not just him, but Billy and Johnny too, and Tom made a big deal of giving it up, for a little something on the side.

So, it was twelve marbles, a piece of blue bottle-glass, a spool cannon, a key that wouldn’t unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, a tin soldier, two tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kitten with only one eye, a dog-collar – but no dog, and a dilapidated old window sash, among the rest of the stuff that he got, just for giving all the kids a chance to paint his fence.

The best part was that he barely did any work, and he discovered a secret. That of human laws; that by making something crave worthy, you just have to make it a little tough to get.

This story had its fun bits. It spoke of green fields, a quaint looking village, a hill and wonderful flowers at every step. And kids all around. It really made it all worthwhile, not just at that age, but now too! I remembered loving it then and laughing my guts out.