Interview With Author Kavya Janani. U

Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!

I am Kavya Janani. U from Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. I used to binge write, with some ginger tea and A.R.Rahman’s songs in the background. Now, I am so busy juggling work and motherhood that I barely have time to write. So, I write on the go, to save time and also to keep in touch with my writing. I wrote my first short story The Ghost Sticker, when I was just eight. I have published many short stories in online writing platforms. I have self-published 21 Pearls, a collection of 21 multi-genre short stories, and Somewhere In A Song, a psychological short story laced with science-fiction.

With Love, Forever is my first full-length novel. It is an old-fashioned love story between two diverse personalities, with a contemporary touch. I started writing it in 2011 and completed it in 2015. It took me another four years to publish it. So, yes, it was 8 years in the making. There are five definite things that can make your dream come true – determination, confidence, belief, right time, and right people.

What are the real-life stories behind your books?

In 21 Pearls, a few stories have been based on true incidents. For example, the story The Case of a Lucky Girl deals with a college-going girl who gives away her phone number to a random Japanese woman and almost gets into danger. I got this idea, when a Japanese woman borrowed a pen from me in a public transport bus. So, many daily-life experiences and incidents have inspired my stories.

The lead character, Bhavana, of With Love, Forever, is based on my character and personality. Bhavana is 90% Kavya. Also, the characters, Nimmi and Vikram, have been based on my childhood best friends. All my upcoming books will always have some part of me and my personal experiences in it. Even if I write a crime thriller, it will have some aspect of my personality in it.

What inspires your creativity?

This might sound strange. Music inspires my creativity. Sometimes, an entire soundtrack can inspire me to write a whole book. My novel has lots of song references, because I was influenced by those songs while I was penning the story. Also, the entire plot of my standalone short story Somewhere In A Song revolves around a fictional song.

How do you deal with creative block?

I write poems, even if they are crappy or overly mushy. It is my way of getting out of writer’s block. Another way I deal with it is I stuff my mind with more and more ideas, so that I can turn them into stories, when I find time.

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

An unedited book deserves a place in hell, according to me. There’s nothing annoying than reading a book replete with grammatical mistakes. So, if you want to become an author, you must have your book edited by a professional. Many writers publish their first book within a short span of time, because they don’t have the patience to revise and hire an editor to edit it professionally.

Another mistake is not following a proper structure in the book. The structure of the plot means a lot to readers. It must engage them and keep them hooked till the end. There are many unstructured books that have fallen flat and have received poor reviews.

Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?

I choose my titles based on my intuition. So, I’d say, just follow your heart when it comes to titling your books. Regarding the covers, I have an opinion that opposes a popular proverb. People do judge a book by its cover these days. So, you need to have a beautiful cover that fascinates your readers at first sight.

How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?

Bad reviews and negative feedback don’t affect me as such. Yes, I would feel hurt and sad for a few hours. But, then I would realize that it is all a part and parcel of a creator’s life. I would cheer myself by reading the good reviews and the heartfelt appreciation that has come in my way. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. So, you’d definitely have people who’d say horrible things about your book, if they didn’t find it interesting.

How has your creation process improved over time?

I started out as an amateur. Over the years, I have learnt a lot by reading books written by others, taking lessons from their writing techniques, and implementing them in my stories. For example, the first draft of my book With Love, Forever is so amateurish that I wouldn’t ever have read the book if it was written by another author. The published version is totally different from the first draft. It’s edited, refined, error-free, and well-structured.

Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?

I write to achieve personal satisfaction, first and foremost. Serving my readers comes next. I can write an autobiographical fiction novel, but still it wouldn’t attract readers, because it might be too boring to read. So, personal satisfaction does not always mean that they’d serve readers as well. While you achieve satisfaction, keep your readers in mind, too.

What role do emotions play in creativity?

I am an emotional person. I feel strongly and impart the same to the characters in my stories. So, yes, emotions play a huge part in my creativity process.

What are your plans for future books?

I have planned a series of five books with time-travel as its central theme. I have decided to name it as Timestruck series. Also, I’ll be releasing short stories under the Time Maidens series. My short story Somewhere In A Song is now the first book in the series. I’ll be releasing the second story this month.

Tell us some quirky facts about yourself

1. I hate onions. I cringe at the sight of them.

2. I am obsessed with time-travel. I always love the thought of ‘what if’ and I’d like to achieve happy endings through my time-travel stories.

3. I always have dreams about falling airplanes, tsunamis, and broken teeth.

4. Someday, I wish to work in a bookshop, in some remote town in Scotland.


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