Writing Can Be A Bolt From The Blue, Proves Sundari Venkatraman

Sundari Venkatraman felt the happiness of being a published author when Indireads decided to publish her short novella Double Jeopardy. When I got this book for review I was ready for a quick read without much expectations. This small package made me sit up, bite my nails and hold my breath  and above all the oomph factor was something I would not have guessed in my wildest dream.

Two guys and one girl. Simple story, right? How would you eliminate the second hero? Kill him? Sacrifice his love? Well Sundari chose another path. Quite a bold path for such a sweet love story.

SUNDARIV2Sundari Venkatraman was  born in Kumbakonam, a town in Tamil Nadu. She grew up in Chennai in a joint family consisting of her parents, four sisters, grandparents, her uncle, aunt and their three children. Life was irresponsible and wonderful in those days. She learned the Queen’s language at her Grandpa’s knee along with her sister Sujatha. After her arranged  marriage to Mr.Venkatraman, she moved to Mumbai. She was a housewife till her kids had not entered the middle school. That’s when she officially went to work outside the kitchen. Writing happened to her out of the blue and she was so glad about it. First came the novels, then short stories and later the blogs. She was so thrilled to be able to blog. The number of hits on her page and comments from readers intoxicates her like rare wine.

I got InKonversation with Sundari Venkatraman about Arth, Sanya and Ansh. Meet Sundari Venkatraman:

Hi Sundari. Thanks for agreeing to this interview. I have read your book, Double Jeopardy and must say it has been quite a shock. Nice way to eliminate the competition. Can you tell us something about your book?
Hi Rubina, I should thank you for this interview. While my intention was not to shock, I am glad that my book ‘Double Jeopardy’ made a strong impact on you. If that will eliminate competition, then I must say I am glad.

Double Jeopardy is about Sanya’s journey into womanhood. She travels all the way from London to Mumbai to meet Arth Sharma, her childhood sweetheart. She is repeatedly thrown in the company of Ansh, Arth’s twin brother. Sparks fly as she is physically attracted to him. While Sanya refuses to let go of her childhood dreams, she is forcibily drawn to Ansh. Read the full story to find out who she lands up with.

While etching the characters of Ansh and Arth did you purposely make one livelier than the other to attract Sanya?
I have some experience with twins from some books I have read. Then there was the time I worked in the admin department of a school. There also, I was exposed to twins. Many of them, in fact. What I have noticed was that one usually is a leader, while the other a follower or at least somewhat subdued. That observation is what that gave birth to Ansh and Arth’s characteristics.

Sanya was portrayed in different shades. From a happy go lucky girl to a responsible girl. How do you relate to her?
I would say that it could be anyone’s journey, even a guy. Sanya is an ordinary, confused young lady who is caught up in the partying circuit of London. This can happen to any person who is leading a wealthy life. But she is obviously not happy in doing that. There is a need for transformation and it happens, that’s all. It’s a natural journey of growing up, I feel. If she did not grow up to be a purposeful, responsible woman, then she could not have been my heroine, that’s for sure.

I am by nature quite aggressive. I can be quite easygoing, but when I set my mind on something, I am quite determined. My heroine was probably born that way.

Your book cover is very beautiful. Who is the designer behind that?
Shehna Khan is the artist who did the cover. I can’t claim responsibility for the idea. I have Indireads to thank for it. I loved the cover too.

You are part of Indireads. Their noble ventures are making quite a headlines nowadays in the literary world. How does it feel to be part of this publication house?
I am extremely proud to be a part of Indireads. In fact, my writing has improved a lot since I came on board. Naheed Hassan is a powerhouse of energy and I am glad to be a part of her team of authors. It has been a mindblowing experience. I expect it to only get better and better.

Any other new project in the pipeline?
Talks are on. Will inform you when things take shape.

18137886Your story has a gay character. Though I am itching to tell who I won’t spoil it for the readers. What made you create such a character? Do you think our society is now more open to the term gay ?
I tend to take up some kind of a social issue head on in my novels. Yeah, in the plural. I have written a few others in my blog. I have written about child marriage, widow remarriage and the like. I avoid taking sides. I believe ‘each man to his view’. But I touch these subjects as they affect me greatly.

I believe our so-called modern society should be more open to accepting homosexuals. As I had mentioned in the story, a heterosexual is probably as strange to a gay as vice versa. Who are we to judge? Isn’t homosexual a creation of God too? If someone was born that way, how can he help it?

How did your journey as a writer start?
It was truly a bolt out of the blue. I never could string two sentences together to make any sense. I was always good at spoken English and of course, I did well in studies. But I never could weave a tale. Suddenly all that changed one evening when I sat down to write the first 14 Foolscap pages of my first novel. That was 13 years ago. The rest, as they say, is history.

If Sundari Venkatraman would not have been a writer what would she have been?
I don’t really know. I always have tried a number of things. Luckily for me, writing clicked. Maybe a professional cook. I love to cook and innovate. Not definitely an accountant even though I graduated in Commerce.

Your words of wisdom for newbie writers.
Keep writing! Look for the motivation from within. Publishing will happen. It did for me.

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Double Jeopardy: Indireads | Goodreads