An Interview With Swarupa Chavan
Born and brought-up in Mumbai, She is a Science graduate with a specialization in Physics,Packaging Technology followed by an MBA in Materials.
In her own words, I love travelling and exploring new places. A nature lover by heart I enjoy spending time amidst Mother Nature. I am a huge movie buff and love watching Bollywood movies. I am an avid reader and love reading Robin Sharma, Richard Bach, P.G Wodehouse, Ken Follet, Paulo Coelho and Nicholas Sparks, to name a few.
I pursued my passion for writing and penned my debut novel ‘To Err is Human’ which was published in Dec 2011.
Once a part of the literary field I could not turn back. I continued writing and authored my next novel. ‘A Journey to Remember’ is my second novel.
Thousand Miles Team had a nice conversation regarding her debut novel along with her new novel, her hobbies, interests and other passions.
TM: What was the inspiration behind writing your debut novel ‘To Err Is Human’?
Swarupa: I have always been a voracious reader and an ardent writer. Writing has been my hobby and I used to write articles for my school and college magazines. Eventually the idea of trying my writing skills on a novel came to my mind. I started off writing To Err is Human just as a hobby but when I completed writing it and shared it with few close friends they felt it was professional stuff worth getting published. And that led to me becoming a published author.
TM: Tell us briefly about your debut novel. Is this a complete fiction?
Swarupa: My debut novel “To Err is Human” is a work of fiction. But the characters and the storyline is close to real life where you find yourself relating to them. It is a romantic comedy novel which revolves around the life of Malini as she tries to achieve her dreams while facing all the disasters in her way. The story enfolds one funny incident after another and there comes a time when it is no longer funny but turns dangerous.
TM: Did you ever get any rejections for your novel? If yes how didyou react to them?
Swarupa: If you thought writing a novel is a difficult task then finding a good publisher and getting it published is also equally difficult, especially if you are new to the field and have to start from scratch. So it was quiet challenging for me in the beginning to understand how this field worked. Authors have to be patient and persistent after submitting their synopsis to the publishers. Searching the right publisher for my debut novel was a herculean task.
TM: How did you come up with the title?
Swarupa: It was a spontaneous thought. While I was building the character of Malini I had it in my mind to portray her as the confused, hassled, emotional girl who lives her life led by her heart and finds herself in problems due to this. Being emotional is a characteristic trait of a human being and thus the title To Err is Human came to my mind.The title was apt for the character and storyline.
TM: How do you usually find your ideas?
Swarupa: While I am working on any project my mind is continuously creating scenes and characters for the book. Creativity I think is a continuous and natural process. One cannot decide and write stuff at a particular time. There are occasions when I fail to jot down a single word when I sit to write and other times the words just flow out effortlessly. My stories have always been close to real life and I build the characters and the scenes based on the storyline which weaves and flows smoothly.
TM: What are the major challenges that you have faced in writing this book?
Swarupa: While writing the novel there were times when I faced the writer’s block. I would stick to the same page for days to come and found this extremely challenging. And there were times when my mind was brimming with new plots but I would not get the time to sit and jot them down. I suppose the most challenging task I felt with my first novel was to get it published. It was a learning process throughout, right from finding a good publisher, designing the cover page etc. I found it extremely exciting and the joy after finally creating a complete novel and delivering it to the reader was beyond words. It made all the hard work worth it.
TM: How has been the response and does it fulfill your expectations as a writer?
Swarupa: The response for both my novels To ERR IS HUMAN and A JOURNEY TO REMEMBER so far has been very promising. Considering me to be a relatively new author I find readers appreciating my style of writing and relating to the storyline and characters in my novels. They loved the confused and clumsy Malini as against the stereo typed perfect heroine. That I think is a strength of my novels. But honestly I have a long way to go. I have not been able to promote my novels and make them visible to a greater mass of readers. I have to put in more efforts to reach out to more readers and make them know about me and my novels.
TM: Do you see writing as a career?
Swarupa: My career as of now is a technical field. I started off writing novels purely as a hobby. But over the time I have evolved and find myself connecting with the readers mind. I definitely see myself writing more novels.
TM:Is there any message in your novel that you want your readers to grasp?
Swarupa: My novels have a simple storyline with entertainment and humour as a major element but they do deliver a message to the readers. Both the novels have woman protagonists who project today’s woman on the go. Malini and Ananya are girls next door who have dreams just like any other girl.They have a challenging career, live under family and society pressures and yet struggle to achieve their dreams, They go out of their way for the sake of friendship and are true to their heart.
‘Believe in yourself. Radiate your true persona, no need to change yourself for others. And just live life to the fullest.’ A simple message which I have tried to give through both my books.
TM: What are your hobbies besides writing? Yours other interests and passions.
Swarupa: Besides writing I love travelling and exploring new places. I love to experience the cultures of different places and enjoy the magical beauty of nature. India is such a beautiful country that for exploring the entire nation one lifetime would not be sufficient. It is one of my dreams to tour the world and visit all the beautiful places.
TM: Any particular genre you would like to write about more?
Swarupa: So far, like I mentioned before I have written humour and romance. I want to write on all other genres and touch the human heart. Be it thriller, suspense, emotional or intriguing novels. The next novel which I write would be of a different genre.
TM: Any new book you are preparing to launch or writing for your fans?
Swarupa: Yes I have started the preparations for my third novel although I haven’t been able to start writing yet. But I have initiated the research work and plotting the storyline. It would be a sci-fi with a bit of thrill element in it. Hope the readers like this book as well. I have also started writing short stories for Anthologies and one of my short story THE UNSAID WORDS has been selected for an upcoming Anthology – FUSION.
TM: Do you have to travel much concerning your book? If yes, how wasthe travel from place to place?
Swarupa: I do take inspirations from the places I have visited. This helps me in creating a more realistic feel to the scene at a particular location which further helps the reader to connect with the scene and the story. When I had visited Shimla few years back its beauty had made a very strong impact on me and hence my second novel is based in Shimla where I have tried capturing the breath taking beauty of the place.
TM: Who designed the covers and helped you in publishing the book?
Swarupa: The cover of my novel To Err is Human has been designed by Mishta Roy. She belongs to the team of my publisher Leadstart Publishers. I shared with herthe concept of my novel and what I wished to project through the cover page to the readers. She then provided me with various options. We jointly worked in creating the cover page where I wanted to depict the confused Malini which I think we have been able to do so quiet successfully.
The cover of my second novel A Journey to Remember has been designed by my friend Rupali Shirke. The cover page speaks about the talent she possesses.
TM: Which is your favourite book and favourite author of all times?
Swarupa: I love books and works of several authors. It would be unfair and very difficult to name a single author or a single novel as my favourite. Richard Bach’s Illusion, Ayn Rand’s Fountain head, Robin Sharma’s The Monk who Sold his Ferrari , Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist, Ken Follett’s Eye of Needle, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird… I can go on and on. These books have made an enormous impact on me and have always guided me and helped me evolve into the person I am today.
TM: Any message you want to deliver to your fans and modern Indian writing trend?
Swarupa: I believe today’s literature and novels have evolved into its own style and genre. More and more readers of various age groups are now reading novels. One of the reasons could the easy availability of books not only in the book stores but also online where the books are now delivered at your doorstep. This is a very good sign not just for the Novel industry but also for the new generation reader. Reading is a very good habit and needs to be inculcated in the younger generation. Reading novels on various topics not only entertains you but also educates you and gives you a message in some form or the other.It is said that the pen is mightier than the sword and therefore power to influence the reader lies with the author. It then becomes a moral responsibility of the author to present his work of fiction in such a way that it has a positive impact on the society.
TM: The title of the novel is itself a saying from ancient days. The protagonist ‘ Malini’ seems to enjoy her fight with difficulties and overcome her barriers through-out the story. Could you please tell a summary of Malini’s tale.
Swarupa: Indeed … To Err is Human… To forgive Divine.
It is a story about Malini, a girl with big dreams who comes to Mumbai to fulfil them. Malini is compassionate, hilarious, sensitive, emotional and not to forget she is a magnet for errors, attracting disasters all along.
Dealing with her mother who is obsessed to get her married is not her only worry. She merely arrives in Mumbai and finds herself surrounded by eccentric bosses and weird clients. And if that was not enough she lands up getting herself abducted by gangsters. You find yourself relating to her woes and everyday incidents as she unfolds one adventure after another sinking herself in trouble more deep than she can manage to get out of. Yet it allows us to catch a glimpse of her true self and realize that it is a normal human tendency to commit such errors.
Her dream is endangered when one day she commits a vast mistake. A die hard romantic she haste’s to fall in love & trusts Anuj with her dream. This single error turns her life upside down. Working at her dream job, Malini realizes that her co-workers are not her friends. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and everyone wants to climb the ladder of success—even if they step on theirco-workers like rungs on this ladder.
She learns one can’t always judge a book by its cover. At first, Manoj is annoying with his constant chatter and unkempt style, but soon he proves there’s more to him than meets the eye. But is it too late for Malini to make amendments? Would Malini achieve her dreams? Would life be divine enough to forgive her?
Find out in this rib cracking funny escapade. Malini’s witty charm will keep the pages turning.
TM: How do you enjoy ‘Holi’ with your friends and family. Any special thing you want to share.
Swarupa: I look forward to getting together with my family and friends. And what better occasions than the various Indian festivals. Holi being one of the festival favoured more by the youngsters who love playing with the colours and getting each other drenched with water. I would suggest them to use herbal skin friendly colours which would ensure that they enjoy a safe Holi. I lpersonally love the festive spirit of Holi where my neighbours and friends also participate in the celebrations like one big family. The sweets made on this day adds the zing to the celebrations.
TM: Your thoughts on being featured in the ‘Holi- The Colours of Life’Issue of ourmagazine Thousand Miles.
Swarupa: Thousand Miles is a great initiative and I congratulate the entire team for this innovative idea to provide a platform to budding authors to showcase their work and reach the readers.
Thank you for featuring my work in this special issue of Holi where I get the opportunity to wish all the readers a very happy and safe Holi.