A Cafe For Authors and Avid Readers
Pratibha R DH has been writing since she was nine years old. Youngest in a family of six she loved to read voraciously and write quietly in her secret collection of diaries. She has published a few of her poems and articles in local magazines and newspapers during her school days. Her family never took her writing seriously, humoured her for a while and then actively encouraged her to pursue a post graduate degree in Economics.
With IT certifications like CCNA and MCSE she moved her way through an IT career of a network engineer/software consultant/content specialist when she re-embarked on her childhood passion for writing. She has released two volumes of "Magical Ventures of Loli and Lenny" and Redemption (A fantasy romance novelette).
What makes you proud to be a writer from India? Having my books read all across the globe and not only in my own country gives me a great sense of achievement as well as makes me proud as a writer.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? I feel people who have a love for books and reading get naturally nudged towards the writing stratosphere. Ever since I was five I have always been asking my parents to buy me this book or the other. I don’t remember shopping for anything else in my earliest years except for that occasional kitkat. From a young age I have been writing a lot of poetry, articles and scribbling in my diary about my daily encounters or any other interesting anecdotes. At sixteen I did prepare a rough draft of a YA novel which never got beyond four five chapters what with the demands of college and academics. On the whole, writing has been my passion ever since I can remember. Writers like Anne Frank, Carolyn Keene, Louisa May Alcot and especially Enid Blyton were my early inspirers. My most proud moment that stands out vividly as a child was when my fifth grade teacher, Ms. Kabita Das, read out my essay on ‘Pets’ to the whole class saying it was original and creative.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? From my childhood I have been writing a lot of poetry till my early twenties when I got sidetracked by my IT career. My writing ambitions during my early years were mostly to satisfy my own creativity. During my middle grade and high school years I did publish a few poems as well as articles in school magazines and local newspapers when they were lucky enough not to be rejected. But my first middle grade novel five years back motivated me to get published.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? Yes, because my mom and dad truly encouraged my habit of reading from a very early age. They always indulged my love for buying story books in a big way. My mom was an avid reader too while her siblings were poets although unpublished. My grandfather was passionate about writing and a well known scholar in his own community. He had written a book on mythology between the periods of 1940 – 44 and published it in the year 1950 by the local press here.
Do you come up with your title before or after you write the manuscript? It all depends. At times when I conceive an idea and I know where the story goes, the title retains its originality. At other times I start with a title and as the plot takes shape, I name it close to the main emotion or character of the story.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? I am writing in different genres that is mostly geared towards fantasy and paranormal. My first two books have been children/middle grade books. But my third book was a fantasy novelette with elements of romance. My fourth book again which is under publication is a middle grade fantasy. My fifth book which I am writing now is in the genre of urban fantasy for New Adult.
Once the image or the idea takes a hold I play around it for a while. I go on writing as the ideas flows in, sometimes almost as a torrent. I read and research a lot on the subjects close to that idea. Then I start brainstorming, making pointers and notes in my diary.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? To see the story unfold, take shape and finally have a full complete manuscript in my hands.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? Writing is an ongoing learning process for me. I will stumble, learn and get better as I walk this journey. But as it is something I love to do I don’t think there is anything negative about it. It is an adventure that I enjoy right from my home every day and I am not afraid to dare or plunge deep into it. And this traveller has an unquenchable adventure for this endless journey.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Readers asking for a sequel or getting a first-hand feedback on how much they enjoyed reading my books - especially children. The spark in the innocent eyes of children when they talk about my book is a review that is unadulterated and unbiased. And euphoric moments like this are truly rewarding and motivating.
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? I guess rejections from agents are the bitter pill to swallow for every author. And I don’t think it can be avoided as it is a part of the journey of most authors albeit a few.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Writing is pure meditation and a glory in itself. Dream, indulge and be passionate about it. When you have that creative piece in your hands that itself is the ultimate fulfilment. And read as much as you can and as widely as you can. It will make you a better writer as time goes by.
Who is your favorite author and why? Every writer that I have read have left their imprint on me in some way or the other. Their writings have been a gift and a fuel to my writing. Right from Enid Blyton, Anne Frank, Louisa May Alcot, Jane Austen, Carolyn Keene, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, George Eliot and others of my childhood to Barbara Taylor Bradford, Danielle Steel, JK Rowling, Meg Cabot, Sydney Sheldon, Paulo Coelho, Khaled Hosseini, Jean Sasson, John Grisham, Kelly Armstrong, Charlotte Lamb – the list is endless and they have all been my invaluable teachers.
How do you relax? I love going out for movies, listening to music, running, cycling, swimming, reading fiction, trekking and being outdoors with my two little boys.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? I’d like to share a great piece of advice from a renowned author Octavia E. Butler which goes like this – “First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won't. Habit is persistence in practice. Forget talent. If you have it, fine. Use it. If you don't have it, it doesn't matter. As habit is more dependable than inspiration, continued learning is more dependable than talent.”
Duke, a wizard, had recently initiated Loli and Lenny into the craft of magic aided by a small legacy left by a benevolent powerful witch. In their second adventure their magical skills are once again tested! The two young novices soon find themselves threatened by the sorcery of a haunted temple on one hand and angry ferocious primates on the other. A chance meeting with one of Malaysia’s richest industrialists unfolds the story of Havana. The tragic disappearance of this young Malaysian girl leads them on a perilous trail across the dense, colossal yet majestic rain forest of Borneo!
Genre: Children/Middle Grade Fantasy
Author Pratibha R DH Published Books
Magical Ventures of Loli and Lenny: Fury Of The Primates (Volume 2)
Magical Ventures of Loli and Lenny: Trumpets In The Wild (Volume 1)
Author Pratibha R DH Blogs