Preeti Shenoy is the author of not one novel, but two – titled ‘34 Bubblegums and Candies‘ (published in 2008) and ‘Life is what you make it‘ (February 2011), respectively, in chronological order of their appearance in the literary scenario.

About the author:
As is put up in her Facebook bio, Preeti is an
“Author,Artist, Mom!
Fun loving,Cheerful, lively.
Abhor insensitivity, Detest rudeness.
Hate pretence.
Love life.”

Interacting with Preeti Shenoy was a treat, as someone mentioned, ‘you seldom get to know a lady with both brain and beauty’. Anyways, that’s a different context altogether, but I think it pretty much sums up a lot of inquisitiveness about the author.

1. You are a mother and a wife, apart from being a successful writer. How tough is it to balance your personal life and writing all at once?

It is indeed difficult and a lot of hard work and late hours. But fortunately I have a very supportive spouse who gives me my time and space. And I am blessed with two wonderful children. They are 13 and 10, so it’s not an age where they need me all the time (like when a child is a toddler or infant). They are very independent and very proud of my work. It is tough – yes. But then, I enjoy both aspects and without them guess life would not be complete.

2. You’re organizing a flash-fiction contest in your blog. It’s pretty innovative. Where from did the idea come to you?

I wanted to do a book giveaway and wanted to make it fun. The last contest was a 6 word story contest. This got a terrific response. Before that there was a ‘fun discussion’. People wanted more such stuff as they liked it a lot. So the natural progression was a flash fiction contest.

3. You recently got a cover page story in The Sunday Herald. How do you balance your time to write fictions as well as to do your part as a journalist?

I am not a journalist at all, even though I have written for Times of India, Readers Digest and many other publications. The issues I write about are things which I am deeply interested in and when I have a bit of free time (if that is actually possible!) from my books, my family and friends. Deccan Herald piece was done on the request of the Editor. Currently I am into writing books full time, and also into my Art.

4. Author’s works are their babies. To you, how are your two novels different from each other? What were their individual inspirations?

You are very right in saying that Author’s works are like babies. The first baby just happened :-) The second was planned and worked on. It took me more than 2 years and a lot of research to write the second. The first was definitely easier to write as they were adapted from my blog posts. The first is a much lighter book and is a collection of 34 real life incidents whereas the second is more serious fiction based on a true story.

5. As a writer, do you prefer the keyboard or the good old pen and paper? Why?

When I write my books, I prefer to use the keyboard. However I do carry a writer’s book with me all the time where I jot down ideas, thoughts or lines pertaining to the book, which I use in the book later. I also write journals and diaries which I do so the good old fashioned way with pen, ink and paper.

6. Are you satisfied with the outcome of the sales volume of your book? If not, are there any marketing aspects you would have liked to work on if given a chance?

Extremely satisfied. The first book went on to be a National best-seller and is in its 6th reprint as I write this. Second is just out and it had debuted at No.2 on Flip-kart. Many of the people who have read the book have written to me about how moved they have been on reading the book and have told their friends about the book. Word of mouth is currently the best medium. My books are also available in all big stores and even in railway stations in the North. The feedback I have been receiving till now does indicate that the book has been received very positively and the immense effort I put in is paying off.

7. What all obstructions did you face to get a publishing house for your book? (If at all)

Fortunately I was lucky. The concept I had was unique and new. My genre (creative non fiction) for my first book was a really unique genre and my publishers loved it. For the second book too, my publishers were very keen that I continue with them and since I had a good working relationship with the publisher decided to go with them again. So overall, things have worked well for both.

8. It’s common for writers to experience ‘writer’s block’. What’s your take on it? How do you overcome a writer’s block?

I am a writer and an artist. When I don’t feel like writing I paint or make portraits. I write only when I truly feel the need to. So upto now I have not experienced a writer’s block simply because there are just too many things to keep me busy.

9. Do you believe that the success of a book depends much on the publicity that goes behind it? How have you chosen to publicize your book in these days of social media networking?

The initial momentum might be gained with publicity. But if the content is not up to the mark no amount of publicity can help sales. Beyond a point it is all word of mouth. I haven’t done much really. I have a few good friends, who on their own are doing the promotion bit for me.

10. What all efforts have you personally made to market your book? Organized events, contests, give-aways?

It is the book stores who organize events. Landmark wants me to have a panel discussion on my book and it will be happening in June and July in 4 Indian cities namely,Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Delhi. I have organized three book giveaways on my facebook page. Radio Indigo interviewed me recently about my book. My friends help a lot to spread the word. So you see, it is really not my individual effort at all.That to a certain extent is there, but a lot depends on the content of your book, friends and how the book appeals to your target audience.

Thanks a lot to Preeti for taking out time from her busy schedule for this interview. We all wish tremendous success for her latest novel!

Few details:
The author on Facebook: Preeti Shenoy
The author on Twitter: @preetishenoy
Fan page of ‘Life is what you make it’ on Facebook: Life is what you make it
The author blogs here: Just a Mother of Two
The author’s website: Preeti Shenoy

Follow these links if you want to buy
34 Bubblegums And Candies‘:
Life is what you make it‘: