Minal Sarosh is an awarded Indian English poet and ‘Soil for My Roots’ is her first novel. She is a post graduate in English Literature. She has a collection of her poems Mitosis and Other Poems published by Writers Workshop, Kolkata in 1992.
She has won awards and commendations:
- All India Poetry Competition 2005 of The Poetry Society (India) Delhi
- Creative Writing Competition 2006 of Unisun Publications
- Unisun Publications and Reliance Timeout Book club Awards, 2008-09
- SMS Poetry Competition 2007 and 2008 at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai.
She has just finished her second novel, which is a mystery novel.
What inspired you to start writing?
I was already a published poet when I came to writing fiction, which I always wanted to, and it also seemed like the next logical step to take, only that I was jumping straight to writing a full length novel from writing poetry, without trying my hand at writing short stories first.
Besides, I was always aware of this theme and plot at the back of mind, since we live a multi cultural society, and I always pondered about my own cultural roots too. But it lay dormant for many years, until I had lots of time on my hands, when I left my job at a bank. And once I started writing, the book almost had a life of its own, and I finished the first draft in only three months. And I am so happy that LiFi Publications took it up for publication.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
As a kid it was always comics and Enid Blyton, and their adventures seemed so much fun, although their world was so different from ours. Later, as I grew, it was Millis and Boon, Barbara Cartland, Perry Mason and James Hadley Chase. I liked reading romances as much as the detective stories and thrillers.
Besides, books were an integral part of my childhood since my father was a voracious reader and bought books on almost any and every subject like science, chess, photography, food, astronomy and fiction, of course. And my first memory of reading fiction was ‘A Train to Pakistan’ and I also read books like ‘Freedom at Midnight’ while still at school.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Writing a book needs a lot of focus and discipline. And since the book becomes a part of you when you’re writing it, you are like one possessed; at least I am when working on a novel. Then after the first draft, comes the revision and editing part. This also needs a great deal of determination and patience. And once the final version is ready, again you need lots of patience till you find a publisher.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
For this book, by way of research I asked elders whatever they knew about the past. Besides, this is the life we are living, so I observed the good and the adverse circumstances people sometimes faced and the different ways in which they responded and reacted to this diversity in our collective culture.
What motivated you to write the book “Soil for My Roots”?
As I said, this theme and plot was always with me, but the society and the world at large keeps changing and evolving, so I just thought of documenting for posterity how we are affected by these diverse circumstances, with the fictitious story highlighting and bringing to fore few important issues and dilemmas.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Soil for My Roots”?
The novel gradually unveils the life of the main protagonist Angela, and the people around her as they come to grips with their confusing circumstances. Basically, it is a story of their journey towards self discovery of their own peculiar nature.
The story begins in the city of Nasik and moves to Ahmedabad, where Angela’s extended family lived and she finally settled down. And the characters go through some real events that took place here like the 2001 earthquake, the Godhra incident and the subsequent riots.
In this sense the novel is unique because it tries to expose the contemporary urban social turmoil in a city which is 600 hundred years old.
The book also documents how India has changed in the last fifty years or so, in all ways, and above all how we have evolved as individuals in such culturally diverse circumstances.
How did you come up with the idea of fiction genre book?
Fiction as a genre seemed best suited for the theme and the story.
Who are your favourite authors?
As far as fiction is concerned, I enjoy reading O Henry, Jhumpa Lahiri, Manu Joseph, Kushwant Singh and Arvind Adiga.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
As I am a polio survivor and have limited energy, I can manage only one to two hours of writing daily at a stretch.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
First you need to be sufficiently inspired to write a full length novel. Next believe in yourself, your inspiration, and your abilities. Then persist no matter what obstacles come in the way. And of course, you should read various authors and all kinds of genres.
You can buy her book now: