To complement my daily blog interviews I recently started a series of Author Spotlights and today’s, the tenth, is of Priya Vasudevan who describes her journey into the unknown: one woman’s struggle to get her book on a bookshelf! If you like what you read, please do go and investigate her writing further. You can read the other Author spotlights here.
Priya is a lawyer, writer and trainer. As a lawyer, she has written training manuals and trained teachers, lawyers and judges in human rights law. Priya also serves as an Arbitrator and is a member of regional organizations such as Asia Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development. She has written ‘Contempt of Court’ in Halsbury’s Laws of India for Butterworths India Limited (now Lexis Nexis). Priya’s articles have been published in magazines such as Femina. She has also published several short stories for children, including Nasreen’s Park (Orient Longman Ltd) and short stories for children in Children’s World and Target. Priya lives with her husband and two daughters in Chennai, India.
And now from the author herself:
My first published book, a children’s book, was ‘Nasreen’s Park’ by Orient Longman Ltd. ‘Middle Time’ is my debut adult novel.
I was excited, when I completed ‘Nasreen’s Park’ and I happily sent it off to all the major publishers. It was 1995 and I had no computer, so I paid to get it typed up, bound, etc. I did not have to wait long for a response and they were all sent back. I was disappointed, but believed that I would just go back to short stories, which had all been published, without any rejection. I thought the world was not ready for the story of a little girl, reclaiming a park with a magic cat and a group of underprivileged children. Then my niece saw it and got in touch with a friend, who just happened to be with a publisher and it got published. Orient Longman was a fairly big player in the field of children’s books, then. However, while it’s still selling on the internet, I haven’t seen it in a store… yet.
With Middle Time, I took a different route. By 2008, the world of publishing in India had changed and competition was much stiffer. I needed an agent. I sent it off to several foreign agents, without success. They all said the book was interesting and well-written but too’ Indian’ for their market. I looked around for Indian agents but there were only two. As luck would have it, I emailed Mita Kapur of Siyahi, before I’d even finished the book and she loved the synopsis and wanted the manuscript. I had to admit that I was only half-way through! However, she did not give up and held my hand through to the end. We faced some rejections but she sold the idea to Niyogi Books and here I am. Middle Time was launched on July 8th by Niyogi Books, Delhi. It’s a historical mystery.
While going through the papers of her client Tulsi, who died under mysterious circumstances, Maya, a lawyer in Chennai, discovers a moth-eaten paperback which transports her back in time. Hampi, 1536: the glorious reign of Krishna Deva Raya has ended.
The times are turbulent, riddled with fratricidal conflicts, secret plots and territorial battles. At the centre of the storm is Achale, a beautiful temple dancer who is on a quest to uncover the truth behind the murder of Thulasi, a Brahmin widow. Ostracized by the village for bearing an illegitimate child, Thulasi is catapulted to respectability when Manjunatha, her son, is declared a saint after experiencing a miracle. Soon after, her dead body is discovered under suspicious circumstances.
Why was Thulasi murdered? And why do her secrets have a bearing on the untimely death of Tulsi in modern day Chennai? Maya has to ask herself these questions as she races against time to catch a dangerous enemy and unlock the mystery of murders spanning the centuries…
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow morning (UK time) with novelist Judith Marshall – the one hundred and thirty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read / download my eBooks here.