Here it is #Bangalore. Have been roped in to give comic fundas to kids (9-13 yrs) in the upcoming Bookalore event by the amazingly sweet children books author Asha Nehemiah (whose sheer number of books can shame Jack and his tall beanstalks!). The workshop is all ready with a spine-tingling scene from The Ghost Hunters of Kurseong. I will also talk about my experiences in creating comics, taking examples from Krishna Defender of Dharma and The Skull Rosary. Will be doing it with illustrator and artist, Ojoswi Sur (who was kind enough to say yes in such a tight schedule!)
Spread the word or come by if you have kids in the age groups of 9-13. Open to all.
Ahh that time of the year again when one feels that she has just been churned out in a mixie and then put into a washing machine without washing powder. The only thing that was keeping me sane was that I was in the mountains. When I got down into the plains, these lovely reviews awaited me. The grins are on! Happy Diwali dear readers!
“Packed with equal amounts of humour and adventure, Shweta Taneja’s debut children’s novel makes for an entertaining read.” – Time Out Bengaluru
“While the adults in this story play crucial roles, it’s the kids who carry the plot forward and that should appeal to the young readers.” – literarygrandrounds.com
“It was an entertaining and well paced book, keeping the reader engaged as the plot thickens and the mystery slowly unravels.” – thereaddicts.blogspot.in
I had been waiting for it to happen since almost a year. Ten years if you count it to the year I might have started to think on this dream: to get a book published. When it did happen, it happened on a rather unremarkable day. (Though the weather was beautiful, which is not surprising if you consider that Bangalore’s weather is always gorgeous.) Rather than read my address, as Bangalore courier guys are, a courier guy called me up to say he had a packet to deliver. I directed him to my house and reached barely 30 minutes after he must’ve given the courier.
I opened the courier and this is what I discovered:
Ten copies of The Ghost Hunters of Kurseong, my first novel for children, published beautifully by Hachette India. Sent without informing me. The surprise was complete. Wow. I felt a shiver, but nothing else. It took a few days of celebration, spread the word, congrats on Facebook and Twitter, phone calls to make it feel real. My dream to publish a novel in my name had come true. It’s been a weekend and a busy week and I learnt a few things after I saw the book in my hand and wanted to share it with all of you.
- I could not feel happiness till I called people who I knew would feel happy for me. My husband, my parents, my friends who have stood by me with tea, coffee and conversations. My editor Diya who worked equally hard on the book as me and Jayesh, the amazing illustrator for the book.
When a dream comes true, the moment itself is pretty unremarkable. Either it’s not sunk in, or you remember the crazinesses you went through to make it come true. The realisation comes slowly and wine helps.
Even before you enjoy it, another dream replaces the one that has just come true (in my case, I would like to find more readers for my books) and whoosh, the feeling of achieving the dream is lost. So basically, you never stop carrying the slightly worried-panicked expression that you have seen on writers’ faces.
New authors message you on social networks wanting to know how they can write books and demand to know how you made it to a publisher’s table. (I did it to another debut author as well) ‘Just send the proposal and wait’ just doesn’t seem to cut it. Some of them are slightly suspicious and keep prodding till you log out of the said social network.
You still have a truckload of work to do which will not happen if you keep being in the moment. 😉
It’s a rather pretty day today, have you noticed? I did, after a long, long time!
If any of you avid readers of my blog wondered what I have been up for almost a month of my absence from the online world, it’s editing. Two of my biggest projects which I had set out to do in the last eight months, have finally come to an end. I suddenly feel kind of empty. Nice empty
The first mammoth one was the Digital Natives project. I edited two books for the NGO Centre for Internet and Society which were a culmination of three years of research. The books are out now in the world and fending for themselves now. I send them hugs. You can view the research book for free online or order one for yourself. Hear more about them on the dedicated page.
My second project was much tougher. I had decided to write a complete book while editing the Digital Natives books. Madness, now that I look back at it, but somehow the decision helped me bring out my first book and overcome my lack of confidence. It worked! Yes dear readers and the online universe, the first draft of my book is over!
It’s tentatively called Mystery of the Iyer Bungalow and is a children detective fiction. I thought writing it would be the biggest challenge for me, it wasn’t. It was editing that proved to be the main hurdle. It took much longer in time and was an emotional, depressing experience. Questions I didn’t have answer to hit me. Does the book work? asked the Editor in me. The Writer cringed and said she didn’t know. I had to take decisions of chopping down characters I had created with a lot of love and enjoyment. They didn’t fit into the narrative
Finally, the first level of editing is finished. I feel a strange calm sadness. I have sent the book out (it’s going for the first time!) to some of my industry friends to read and for feedback. My heart beats fast and wonders how it will feel about it. I still don’t know if anyone would like to read this book. I don’t know how she will be treated (yes my book has feelings!) and if she will ever be published. I have lost every sense of objectivity for her. I am her mother and she’s my baby. I can’t be objective about her. As an decently good Editor, it’s a scary experience! And since it’s just a first draft and I don’t even have a publisher, I bet this is just a start to a long, long journey of my book. I wish Mystery of the Iyer Bungalow best of luck and hope that someday, a kid would read you and it would make her smile, just as it did me.
And that is the challenge that creative writing poses for me. It makes me experience the best and the worse of my talent and creative self. The highest and the lowest, both come one and again, in cycles. I had always wondered why suddenly one day, I decided to quit my journalism career and walk the thorny and painful path of fiction and fantasy writing. Now I know.