Rasana Atreya completed her Engineering in Instrumentation Engineering, M.S. in Computer Engineering. Let us know more about Rasana in her own words: I’m a full time novelist with two novels (Tell A Thousand Lies, 28 Years A Bachelor) and a novella (The Temple Is Not My Father) under my belt. I’m writing two more novellas now. I also speak a lot of self-publishing in India, particularly the scams. I’ve been a panelist at The Jaipur Literary Fest, The Hyderabad Literary Fest, IIM Kashipur Literary Fest and so on. My upcoming events:
** Panelist with officials from Amazon at The Times Literary Festival, Mumbai (Dec 2015)
** Conducting Workshop on self-publishing at the Jaipur Literary Festival (Jan 2016)
I’m also the India ambassador of the UK-based Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi)
The manuscript of novel, Tell A Thousand Lies, was shortlisted for the 2012 Tibor Jones South Asia prize.
I’ve got unexpected endorsements from places like the UK’s Glam magazine, which called Tell A Thousand Lies one of their ‘five favourite tales out of India.’
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always liked to write. I remember writing stories even when I was 5 years old. But life came in the way. I studied to be an engineer and worked as one for a few years. My job required be to be onsite at odd-hours. I wasn’t able to do that with young children. So I decided to freelance. I used to write for The Times of India, Pune edition. But that wasn’t enough. Someone challenged me to write a story, and I was hooked. I completely switched over to fiction.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
I was an obsessive reader (I still am). I read everything from Champaks to Amar Chitra Kathas, then Enid Blytons, Nancy Drews and so on.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
Sustaining interest. Sometimes I lose confidence and think, who’s going to read that. To combat that, I’ve learned that if what I’m writing doesn’t hold my interest, it won’t hold the reader’s interest either. I’ve learned to discard those parts and keep writing.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
Not that much for Tell A Thousand Lies and 28 Years A Bachelor. I researched a bit into local traditions in Andhra Pradesh but that was it. The Temple Is Not My Father was more intense. I had to read up a lot about devdasis, watch lot of youtube videos on news channels to understand what it was about.
Currently I’m writing crime fiction set in Hawaii. Though I’ve lived in America, I’ve never been to Hawaii. My characters are Hawaiian, Portugese and Japanese. The reason for this is I’ve been invited by a best selling American author to write for her series as part of Amazon’s Kindle Worlds, so I have to be especially careful with my research.
What motivated you to write the book “28 Years A Bachelor: A Novel Set in India”?
When I was 13 years old, I heard the story of an elderly woman (in her 90s) who was widowed when she was five years old. Her story completely appalled me, so I wrote that up as an episode. But I wanted to also tackle comedy, so I made my protagonist, Madhav, the main character. He has whacky grandparents who get into a lot of mischief.
Believe it or not, my cover was ready to go, and the title was ready. My book was to be called ‘Half A Girlfriend.’ Then Chetan Bhagat announced his book. So I had to scramble and ask my cover designer to redo the cover because to add to the coincidence, the name of Bhagat’s hero was also Madhav. What are the odds of that?
Can you tell us more about your latest book “28 Years A Bachelor: A Novel Set in India”?
Madhav is a 28-year old engineer working in IT but unhappy with his life. His slightly crazy, but very loving, grandparents live in the village. They really want him to move there. Madhav’s mother is, meanwhile, looking for a wedding alliance for him. Things get tricky when Madhav falls for a girl in the village. His grandparents also come up with all kinds of whacky plans to get him to move there. His mother, however, isn’t interested, so all of this creates a lot of pressure on Madhav.
For some reason my books really resonate with American and British readers, especially the humor. I get a lot of fan mail from them.
How did you come up with the idea of writing fiction genre book?
Like I mentioned previously, I did freelance for Times of India but somehow fiction seemed more satisfying. Then I came across a worldwide phenomenon called NaNoWriMo. Each November writers are challenged to write a complete novel in November. I tried my hand at it eight years ago. It was so much fun that I just continued.
Who are your favourite authors?
I read so much that my list keeps changing. My current favorites are D.M. Mitchell and Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Series.
How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis?
Two or three hours. Self-publishing related administrative work, and marketing related issues take up the rest of the time.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Follow your passion. If you’re called to writing, do it. If you’re self-publishing, don’t fall for scams.
You can buy her book now: