Rejection is not the end of the journey
Gurgaon-based author Kanchana Banerjee speaks about her new book 'Nobody’s Child' and says she writes stories that she enjoys reading...
Kanchana Banerjee is a freelance features writer whose articles have appeared in major publications across the country. Her first book, 'A Forgotten Affair' was a domestic drama about a woman, who wakes from a coma after an accident and has no memory of her life. Banerjee's new novel 'Nobody's Child' is a masterfully written crime thriller that brings forth the dark side of lights, glitter and glamour.
Excerpts from an interview:
Tell us about your stint as an author?
I have never wanted to do anything else other than write. I knew this from very early on in my life. I spent years writing and working for publications and companies as a freelance writer; hoping and dreaming of becoming an author someday. It finally happened in 2016 when I published my first book 'A Forgotten Affair'.
What's the idea behind the central character in 'Nobody's Child'?
To tell the story of a simple and ordinary young girl who faces untold and unimagined miseries and misfortunes but finds the strength inside her to come through. I think in every human there's immense power to persist, to fight and come out of any situation. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Asavri meets with humiliation, desertion, pain, assault of the worst kind but she finds strength inside to fight through.
What made you write this book?
To be totally honest, I write stories that I enjoy reading. As the risk of sounding callous and I hope my reply isn't seen that way but I'm not trying to make a social message through my writing. If you find one, that's good. But I write stories that make for good reading.
What kind of research went into it?
Parts of the story involve the protagonist being held a captive by a ruthless gang and there she witnesses horrible things and is also severely assaulted by the men. So, I had to a lot of research on what happens to victims of repeated and prolonged torture. what goes on in their minds and how they find the will to survive? The protagonist also goes through Stockholm Syndrome wherein she falls in love with her captor. I did a lot of research on how and why that happens. Writing these pages wasn't easy. To recreate a house where the gang lives, the surrounding slums, their lives; it wasn't easy at all.
Did you write any characters based on people in your life?
Not in 'Nobody's Child'. All the characters are so twisted that I'm very thankful I don't know anyone like them. But in my first book 'A Forgotten Affair', many characters are based on people I know.
While the genre is a thriller, you have chosen to explore politics, society and relations? Was it intentional to make commentary on real-life and situations a part of the light read genre?
I write about what I see around me, read in the newspapers, hear and see on TV. So, what I write can never be divorced from the world and society I live in. Reality TV contests, political games... these are commonplace occurrences and it is only natural that they become a part of the stories I write.
What is your takeaway as an individual from writing your books?
That if you really want to do something and work hard towards it; the Universe indeed conspires to make it happen. The earlier version of 'Nobody's Child' was rejected by Harper Collins. I rewrote the story completely and resubmitted it. Not only did the entire edit team fall in love with it, but NC is one of the lead releases this year. Rejection is not the end of the journey. It's the start of a new one. This is the biggest take away for me.
How different it is writing a thriller vis a vis romance?
I haven't written a romance. 'A Forgotten Affair' is a relationship drama, not a love story at all.
But I would believe writing a particular genre requires understanding the genre and its aspects. But truthfully, the most important rule about writing is that there's no rule. Write the way you want. Write the story you want to read.
What is your writing process like?
Very organised and disciplined. I plot, plan in details. I do character sketches in details, write out at least 10-15 chapter outlines before starting. I also always write the last chapter soon after writing the first few. I know the beginning and the end. It's all about reaching the destination.
What is your next book going to be?
A thriller inspired by a terrible and traumatic incident that happened in the US in the 1970s.