Friday, October 16, 2015

In conversation with Rajalakshmi Prithviraj- Author of Silence Under the Blue Sky



Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Rajalakshmi Prithviraj, the author of Silence Under the blue sky



Hi Lakshmi

Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Q.           Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
A.            Thank you so much for wanting to know about me. Brought up in Odisha into a Tamil Brahmin family, I am a 'Hand-On' mother of two kids. I am working as an Educationist with the Indian Air Force. Besides being a trained Psychologist, I am also an Odissi dancer and Vocalist in Hindustani Music. My other hobbies include cooking, craft work, travelling and meeting people.
Q.           What genre is your book?
A.            My first book, 'Silence under the Blue Sky' is a Contemporary Reality Fiction. It is based on a true story which has been fictionalized.
Q.           How do you describe your book?
A.            The story is set against the backdrop of the mid-air collision of two helicopters of the Indian Air Force. It attempts to bring out the pain that one of the victim's families undergoes as well as the cohesiveness that exists amongst the personnel of the Indian Air Force. It is about existence of Hope in Suffering. It is also about the fact that men and women in the Indian Air Force are no different when it comes to human emotions.
Q.           Why did you select the title?
A.            Silence has a language of its own. It can express love, support, anguish, anger, joy, hatred, disgust, pain; in fact, every emotion that exists under the sun.  Also, for us, the men and women in blue (the color of the uniform we don), this organization is like the Blue Sky under whom we belong together as a part of a big family. Since this book was about the pain of a family in the Indian Air Force, hence the title, 'Silence Under the Blue Sky'.
Q.           What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
A.            This book is based on one of the turning points in my life. After the death of my husband, Late Squadron Leader V Manoj, a Helicopter Pilot, I felt that I was getting into depression. Being a Psychologist, I decided that the best way to cope was to live through my trauma all over again. Hence, I took to writing. Besides, I always wanted to pay a befitting tribute to my soul mate, my husband. What better way than penning a book!!!
Q.           How much reality and how much fiction did the book portray?
A.            The story is 95% reality and 5% fiction. In fact, the story is about what I underwent. Every incident, every conversation is verbatim and stated exactly as they happened. However, the attributes of the narrator and few characters are fictional along with all the names so as to protect the real identity of serving personnel.
Q.           How did you manage to write the book while you are working and also you have to take care of two toddlers?
A.            You are so right!!! My professional and personal lives do keep me on my toes. However, the moment I understood the cause of my depression, I started writing. I would take 10 to 15 minutes break (not exceeding an hour) at workplace, when work got hectic or stressed me out. I would also spend 1 to 2 hours at home after putting my kids to sleep. It took me almost 8 to 9 months to complete my writing, but every minute was worth the effort.
Q.           Would you want your kids to be air force officers like mentioned in the book?
A.            I definitely would love to see then don the Air Force Blue uniform, and even the overalls of a Flying Pilot if possible. But then, my girls have to qualify and successfully pass the tough selection procedure and meet the required standards of the Indian Air Force.
Q.           What are your ambitions for your writing career?
A.            I see myself writing as long as I can. My endeavor will be to keep posting on my blogs (till the time I do not get posted to a place where there is no Internet!!!). I will also try and publish one book every year on the birth date of either of my kids.
Q.           That’s really interesting. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A.            Write if you love writing. Write straight from the heart, because it brings you closer to the readers. And as far as publishing is concerned, various Independent Publishing Platforms are available to make your dream come true. Simply put, just be yourself, let go of your inhibitions, and WRITE!!!
Q.           Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Thanks to the availability of various Independent Publishing Platforms with Print on Demand facility, Indie Publishing is here to stay. It gives lots of flexibility to writers and authors.
Q.           Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
A.            To share the truth, I had planned to do a book launch on Goodreads and my Facebook Page, but as luck would have it, I had clicked the 'Publish' button. There it was, my book, visible on all electronic platforms, as a published work. My publishing experience was like a perfect example of 'Man proposes, God disposes'.
Q.           Why did you decide to self publish?
A.            When I read the terms and condition of traditional publishers, I realized it was not my cup of tea. Besides the fact that I am a Government employee, I never wanted to part with my story. Independent Publishing gave me the flexibility as well as empowered me to share my story with people without giving away all rights over it.
Q.           Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
A.            Thank you so much Rakhi.
Q.           How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Author Blog: One stop Destination
Review Blog: Reading Writings
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.) The links are on Store Locator page at http://readingwritings.blogspot.in/p/store-locator.html?m=0



Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview. May your ambitions blossom. My deepest love and kisses to the two little flowers in your garden.