I am back with an interview session. Today we have Vandana Shanker, who is the author of 1857 Dust of Ages.
When did writing happened to you?
It is difficult to put down a specific moment or a time period that writing happened to me. I wrote poems and short stories in schools but being a writer was never a serious goal. It was during the time I was pursuing my research in literature, that I became familiar with this very interesting and dynamic field of fan writing and I dabbled there. From there on, it became a part of leisure activities. But 1857 Dust of Ages was the first attempt at serious writing, and it took nearly a year and half of disciplined writing to complete the book. So serious writing is fairly recent.
What made you choose Historical topic?
As I was pursuing my research at IIT Delhi, a friend of mine was writing a thesis on 1857 novels. She had lots of British novelists in her list and not a single India. It was the first time we became aware this gap. Not many Indian fiction writers of have explored the 1857. As we read, I became more fascinated and wanted to write a story from an Indian perspective, especially an Indian warrior woman’s perspectives because the first stories I heard of 1857 were of women like Lakshmi Bai, Hazrat Mahal and it is very different from the Indian woman I found in British literature.
What type of genres you generally like and why?
Of course, the historical. A book well-grounded in history is the most fascinating read for me. Then come the spy thrillers, romances and mysteries. Some years ago, I was completely obsessed by fantasy fiction, but a PhD in the genre cured me of that.
How was your experience with your publishers?
That’s a trick question, isn’t it?J. The experience has been mixed. My earlier book which was a very formulaic romance found a publisher and was published in a jiffy. It was an interesting experience. But for Dust of Ages, I did not want to get into compromising on things that traditional publishing asks of you – the length, insertion and deletion of scenes and endless waiting etc. So I decided to keep it free of such demands and self-publishing gave me that freedom. So yes, the experience with the publishers has been a mixed. But I would say we are lucky that today we have the option of going indie.
When can we expect your other works?
Second and third instalments of Dust of Ages are already out on Amazon. Last two parts release in March. Once that is done, perhaps another historical next year.