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Friday, September 30, 2016

Author Interview : Kavita Mandana, author of 'Trapped'

Kavitha Mandana
Read up, Interview with Kavitha Mandana, Author of ‘Trapped’. This is a winner, only because it mentions Pink Floyd, with a blend of ghosts, rock music and mystery. We explore Amit's 'ghostdom', get to explore the twins' characteristics, along with Lingamma’s histrionics.We also have the father of the triplets giving us a few more details. In this, Mandana tells us, how the journey began, how she blended Pink Floyd lyrics into the book, how she relates the lives of her characters to lives today, the next book she has planned and also who her favourite authors are, and much more, Folks...

How did ‘Trapped’ happen? Could you describe the journey?

The idea of these triplets has been floating around in my head for years. In an early draft of the story, they were much younger. It was my editor at Puffin who suggested that the concept would work better for older kids. 

So interestingly, while rewriting the book, almost everything changed. Apart from the music, the mother’s fretting and the father’s job – turning the triplets into 16-yr-olds meant a whole new plot! 

What about the ghostly/scientific element? What kind of research did you put in?

There was no research involved. The nice part about writing a book is that momentarily, you’re playing God. So, you get to set the rules for what this ghost can or cannot do!

What about the children’s band? Pink Floyd is a favourite, how did you manage to blend their lyrics into the book?

Over the years, I’ve found it interesting that so many teens enjoy the music of their parents’ generation. Pink Floyd, in particular, has really been timeless.

So, one of their ‘anti-establishment’ songs seemed a good choice for the three siblings to rewrite the words for.

What according to you is different about your book?

Amit, the ghost sibling and his totally hopeless situation vis a vis his parents.

Are you considering a second part for this book?

Not at the moment. My mind has wandered off to other untold stories. But maybe later…

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

Apart from the ‘ghost brother’ that you probably won’t find in any home, the twins Arjun and Anandita are pretty much like today’s teens.

Stressed out with all their parents’ expectations – yet escaping into music, masti and a whole lot else.

What was the most challenging part about writing ‘Trapped’?

The paranormal aspect.

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

That would have to be Lingamma. She is really an amalgam of many warm-hearted women who worked at either my parents’, my own or my grandparents’ homes – interesting women who were part of the family, yet not quite.

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

Nobody did! It wasn’t an ambition or even a vague idea when I was younger. My dreams were related to joining an art college. Writing happened quite by accident.

When will you next book be out?
Harper Lee

I’m still in the process of writing that ‘next book’!

Which book are you currently reading?

I’ve just finished a book of Alice Munro’s short stories and Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’.

Arundathi Roy from Wikipedia
Who are your favourite authors and why?

Roddy Doyle from Wikipedia
There are just zillions of writers that I love… for entirely different reasons – Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth, Arundathi Roy and Mohammed Hanif from the sub-continent. Otherwise Anne Tyler, Roddy Doyle, Zadie Smith, Toni Morrison… I could go on!

What else do you do on a daily basis?

I have a full time job, editing tech magazines. I also illustrate other writer’s stories – for the Deccan Herald school edition.

What advice do you have for the young writers of today?

At some of the school visits I did for ‘Trapped’ I realised that they don’t need my advice. A lot of them are passionate readers – the first requisite for any budding writer.

Some of these 12, 13 or 14-year-olds discussed the books they were writing, and where exactly they were stuck…all seriously adult conversations! I could use their advice!

You can  Read the Review, right here and Buy the Book, here too.
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