Prasad Bag is a novelist who made his debut with the publication of Maya, The…
Srinithya Srinivasan is an Indian novelist who has come up with her debut work, Marry Me, Ms. Stranger. She loves reading classics like Pride and Prejudice and that is why she has chosen marriage as a theme for her debut novel. Her vision as an author is to admire human emotions, offer details about human nature and exhibit the ordinary episodes of life in a way that readers can feel very much affiliated to those. Readers will find her debut novel like an episode that can happen in any one’s life very easily. Irony, wit, sarcasm, satire, romance, and a rising narrative that comes towards the readers rushing with an implicit force can be seen in her writing. In this interview, she discusses her debut work, her writing in general and many other things related to her general views on literature.
Enjoy the interview below! Don’t forget to add your comments, ask any question that you may have and we will do our best to get the answers from Srinithya.
Alok Mishra: How did the idea of writing a novel come into your mind, Srinithya? And then, why a work of fiction around marriage? Please take the readers through the initial thoughts.
Srinithya Srinivasan: Fiction has a power that no other form of communication does. The power to insert ourselves and completely in someone else’s mind. When we read fiction, we’re seeing the world through a character’s eyes. We can become someone we would never otherwise have the chance to become. Fiction makes us feel, and that feeling makes us richer. It improves our lives to fill with fiction. Once we set the book down, we walk away changed. We understand things that we didn’t understand before, and it changes the way we see the world.
Alok Mishra: Marry Me, Ms. Stranger – how do you describe this novel primarily? As a comedy or as a romantic fiction? What should the audience expect inside if they are beginning to read it?
Srinithya Srinivasan: Its romantic fiction and comedy is a bonus. The protagonist, Janani, uses sarcasm as a coping mechanism. She was getting into completely unchartered waters. She has no clue about rich, sophisticated people. Sarcasm offers her a level of protection.
This novel is out-and-out entertainment. Where readers can enjoy the journey of a woman who gets married to a stranger against her better judgment. Readers can witness her character evolve from hating her husband to falling in love with him. It will be fun to read Janani’s struggle to learn the truth. Her big 5 Why’s in the story. Why does a rich man want to marry her? Why is he forcing her? Why does he want the marriage to be a secret? Why wouldn’t he let her walk away? Why is this marriage important to him? Read to find out!
Alok Mishra: Aman’s character has been given various shades, rise-fall scenario and a depth as well. How did you think about a character like Aman?
Srinithya Srinivasan: Aman is reserved, but he loves in his way. Many people don’t know how to express their feelings and love. Aman takes that to next level. Aman is complex but yet simple.
I can’t say how I thought of Aman’s character but as I wrote more about Janani, I thought why not make her tear out her hair by making Aman more complex? It was fun writing Aman and Janani.
Alok Mishra: Is Janani your apparent mouthpiece? She is also the narrator of the novel other than being the protagonist. Does she represent the modern, independent, free-thinking women in India?
Srinithya Srinivasan: As a writer, you leave a piece of yourself in your story. Yes, Janani is independent and an old soul. She was forced to grow up sooner than she might have liked. She is a feminist who thinks men and women are equal, but in real life; she feels the word feminism doesn’t exist. Men always hide behind their work. But the daughter-in-law has to be perfect. For these reasons, she feels it’s unfair to bind in a marriage where women are held accountable for everything.
Alok Mishra: You have been writing on digital platforms before you wrote this novel. How do you see actually writing a novel? Did you find any difference?
Srinithya Srinivasan: In digital platforms, I can stretch the story and scenes as much as you like. People love details and long chapters as long as the story is interesting.
But in a novel, it has to be precise and crisp. To be honest, I struggled to chop the scenes to write my debut novel. Maybe, I will get better when I write the second one.
Alok: What is the best part of being a writer, Srinithya? Also, tell our readers about your personal life, as much as you can. How do you manage to satisfy your creative urge to write in between your usual tasks?
Srinithya Srinivasan: There is nothing like taking the story in your head, putting it on paper, and watching it unfold. You are creating something out of thin air. Something that has the potential to change someone’s life, to make someone cry, to inspire a dream. That’s about as close to real magic as you can get.
My husband and my mother are my pillars of support. My husband goes the extra mile to make sure I’m comfortable. He understands the struggle of a writer, and I often think he deserves an award for being patient. I’m a ‘pantser’ when it comes to writing and I don’t stick to a routine.
Alok: What are your thoughts on modern and contemporary fiction in English in India? Who are the authors you admire? And what have been your choices if we talk about your reading preferences globally?
Srinithya: I love Pride and Prejudice, The Notebook to mention a few. I’m an avid reader. The passion to write had started through reading another writer’s work.
Alok: After Marry Me, Ms. Stranger, do you have other themes in mind that you would like to translate into books in the near future?
Srinithya: Absolutely. A writer’s mind never rests. I’m planning the sequel to Marry Me, Ms. Stranger. Also, I have another story on my mind.
Alok: What are your general responses when you receive feedback from any reader? How do you deal with positive as well as negative feedback?
Srinithya: I believe in the quote, “The minute you’re not learning, I believe you’re dead. There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.” I always see negative feedback as an opportunity to improve. Every negative comment is a lesson learned. I don’t let negativity affect me, and in the same way, I don’t let the positive feedback get to my head. I stay neutral.
Alok: What is your one-line appeal to the readers who have not read your debut work yet? How would you persuade them to read Marry Me, Ms. Stranger?
Srinithya Srinivasan: In Marry Me, Ms. Stranger, Janani always speaks the truth, tackling the biggest, most challenging part of her life with warmth, sharp wit, and a touch of whimsy. It is a fun read and a refreshing perspective of life.
Alok Mishra, the founder, and the entire team at Author Interviews thank Srinithya Srinivasan for accepting the request to answer these questions. We also hope that you, the readers, have enjoyed this literary conversation.