I got an opportunity to speak to Renita D’Silva, author of ‘Monsoon Memories’ over the phone. But before I tell you what we spoke about, let’s get to know her better.
Say Hi to Renita: Renita loves stories – both reading and creating them. Her stories have been published in ‘The View from Here’, ‘Bartleby Snopes’, ‘this’ zine, ‘Platinum Page’, ‘Paragraph Planet’ among others and have been nominated for the ‘Pushcart’ prize and the ‘Best of the Net’ anthology. She is the author of ‘Monsoon Memories’ and is currently working on her second novel also set in India. She was born in the picturesque coastal village of Kallianpur near Mangalore and now lives with her husband and children just outside of London.
A Little About Monsoon Memories: Exiled from her family in India for more than a decade, Shirin and her husband lead a comfortable but empty life in London. Memories of her childhood – exotic fragrances, stifling heat and tropical storms – fill Shirin with a familiar and growing ache for the land and the people that she loves. With the recollections though, come dark clouds of scandal and secrets. Secrets that forced her to flee her old life and keep her from ever returning. Thousands of miles away, in Bangalore, the daughter of Shirin’s brother discovers a lost, forgotten photograph. One that has escaped the flames. Determined to solve the mystery of an aunt she never knew, Reena’s efforts will set in place a chain of events that expose the painful trauma of the past and irrevocably change the path of the future.An unforgettable journey through a mesmerising passionate land of contrasts – and a family whose story will touch your heart. Monsoon Memories has been published by Harlequin India and you can visit their website here
And here we go
Why the name Monsoon Memories? Is it an integral part of your plot?
Monsoons are a metaphor for Shireen’s life; they are dramatic and are anticipated by all. But sometimes they can also cause destruction. Monsoons transform the landscape and in my book, Shireen’s life.
Does the plot resemble your life in anyway seeing you and Shireen, both were born in India and are currently living in London?
They say that when you write your first book, you must write what you know. In my case, I was familiar with both India and London and that is why; I decided to place my story in these locations. The story is not inspired from my life. When I miss home, I can easily access memories of India and feel better. For Shireen, India’s memories are a traumatic experience.
In your book, Shireen is exiled from India? Could you tell us why?
You will have to read the book for that. If I tell you now, I will end up revealing the crux of the story J
Tell me a little about Shireen and her family?
Shireen is the eldest of three daughters and works in the IT sector in London. She has a supportive and loving family, yet she is unhappy. She is one of those people who tries to do everything right; but sadly, the outcomes are never good.
Tell me a little about your life? Do you work or are a stay at home mom?
I used to work as a part time tutor and would work from home. I was writing Monsoon Memories at that time. I needed money to get my book reviewed and edited so that I would know whether it was worth publishing. Currently, I am in India, promoting my book.
How often do you write?
I try to write when I can. Sometimes, it gets difficult especially when I am taking care of my children and working, but I do dedicate some time for it. Fortunately for me, I am the kind of person who can write in any amount of noise or disturbance. I often write when my children are running around the house, playing and being their usual boisterous selves.
What are you currently reading?
I am reading ‘Capital’ by John Lanchester. I also carry a backup book in my bag always.
And now it is time for a Rapid Fire Round with Renita!
Favourite season- Winter
Dinosaur eggs or Diamonds: Dinosaur eggs
Cats or dogs: Cats
Now, this made me ask her a question in between the rapid fire.
So do you have a pet cat?
We don’t but the kids are begging us to get one for them and eventually we will give in.
Back to rapid fire,
Life time supply of chocolates or Free shoes: I choose chocolates, maybe that is why; I am forever dieting!
Fish and chips or Pani puri: Pani puri any day.
And that’s all folks!