I have been in touch with Rakhi Jayashankar since a few months now, and it has been a pleasure interacting with her. Since her new book “Waves in the Sky” (Book Review) got published last month, we got a great opportunity to interact with her. Thanks for the editing opportunity as well as congratulations in advance for the new addition to your family!
So, tell us something about your background
Hey Dhwani, Thanks for the opportunity. This is my first interview as an author.
If you ask my background now, I would say a mother of 4 (one being my husband), who tries to revive her literary skills. I was also a part of the rat race of science, biology and went for zoology and biotechnology for graduation and post graduation respectively. As I had least interest in the subject, I never bothered to look back after graduation and took up a job in HR recruiting. Thinking that it would be my field, I joined MBA-HR. It took 28 years for me to realize what I actually need to do with my life. Once I got the focus I had my first blog post in rakhijayashankar.blogspot.in . All thanks to my better half.
Sometime later, the blog which was supposed to be a collection of short stories, took focus as a book review blog.
How did the idea of writing waves in the sky come to you?
As I said, I had no intention of writing a full length novel. Waves in the sky started as a blogpost. The epilogue was on one of my initial blogposts. Later I thought of developing a short story from it. But as mentioned in the author’s note, someone held my hands and forced me to to write more and more.
What was the time frame for writing this book?
With two hellion toddlers running around, I could not fix a time frame for writing the book. In fact I used to sit in the middle of the fuss created by them and write the stories. By the time I completed the book, my kids were in a high degree enmity with my laptop. From the experience of many renowned writers, I expected to complete the book in a year or two but surprisingly, I was done with the book in about four months.
What were your biggest learning experiences/surprises in the entire process from writing to publishing the book?
There were a lot of learning experiences/surprises. The first one is the name “CANARY”. When I started writing the book, I coined the term just like that. The names of the girls were different. They were named Aditi, Swathy, Sruthy, Kamya, Neha and Shafna. After I was half way through the book, I noticed that CANARY is a six letter word and the two A’s corresponds to the two twins. I was surprised as to how such a coincidence occurred.
Then I renamed them as Charu, Avantika, Ananya, Yami, Neha and Raihana. The book had nothing to do with a murder initially. Later it transformed into a murder mystery.
While publishing the book, I was surprised by the fact that there are a lot of predators in writing industry. I was so naïve to send my proposal to each and every publisher. Next day on, I started getting calls asking for thousands to lakhs of rupees to get published.
Looking back, is there anything that you would have done differently?
A major criticism that I faced is that there were too much happening in the book and the vernacular language. I had targeted the common audience who can easily read the book but the writing style didn’t go well with the dark story. If I could do anything differently, I would bring a balance between both.
I started sending proposals, even before completing the book. By the time I was done with the book, the first two chapters in the proposals and the first two chapters in the final manuscript had no connection at all. If given a chance I would have changed that as well.
Many authors come across lot of rejections while finding a publisher for their first book. Was this the case with you too?
Of course. As I mentioned before, I sent my proposal to every publishers even before completing the book. But in retrospect, I realize that the proposals were sent in a format that I myself would not approve. Hence, I started getting rejections, one after the other.
Do you like reading? If yes, do share some books that have truly inspired you.
I am addicted to books. I had always been a fan of thrillers and historical fictions. As a writer, the book that inspired me the most is ‘Gone with the wind’ by Margarette Mitchelle. She has written only one book and that was a tornado in the literary world. Scarlette-O-Hara is the most head strong character I have come across.
What are you reading now?
As a reviewer, I am reading ‘The Claim’ by Sanjay Bordia. For myself I had taken ‘Mightier than the sword’ by Jeffrey Archer long back but could not get to read it due to the pending reviews.
Any advice for the people who are aspiring writers?
Start writing only when you really want to instead of forcing yourself to writing anything. And yes, wait till you complete a satisfactory manuscript before sending the proposal.
What next? Are you working/ thinking to work on the next book?
I am contemplating on the sequel of Waves in the sky. But before that I am expecting the release of my next baby 🙂
So, the book will take time.
Thanks again Dhwani, for this interview, review and above all a wonderful job of editing my book as well.