Tuesday, February 21, 2017

In conversation with Radhika Nathan



It's been a while since I did author interviews. But the break seemed worth since I am coming back with an excellent writer. In conversation with Radhika Nathan.



When did you decide to become a writer ?

It wasn’t a conscious decision for me and I feel like I have always believed in the power of the written word and have always enjoyed writing. I used to write short stories back in college until I discovered the carefree world of blogging. From there I graduated to writing full-length novels.

How was the publishing journey?

Mostly I share my blogs & other works only with my friends and family. My first short story got published only because one of my friends took the pains of sending it to a magazine. My husband sent the second one. When I finished writing my first novel I did bring myself to send it to a set of agents, all of whom politely declined.  I decided to try sending it directly to the publishers instead. Westland accepted submissions by email, so I sent it only to them. Folks at Westland were absolutely fantastic in supporting a first-time author.

How did you coin the title Time to Burnish?

It is inspired by Ecclesiastes 3:2 from the Holy Bible. The verse talks about how there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to kill, a time to heal and so on. The book is about a Chola bronze at one level but also about getting bronzed or burnished at another level. That is, the protagonist gets exposed to circumstances out of his comfort zone and thereby grows as a person. So I felt despite being unusual it is a fitting title.
Normally writers go through a linear path when it comes to the genre of their books. But your two books have a stark contrast. Was it intentional?

It might feel like the genres are different because the first novel ‘The Mute Anklet’ is a historical and the second one is contemporary fiction. But both have elements of mystery and romance and both have an underlying theme.  Also, in ‘A Time To Burnish’ you do see the shadow of history being cast throughout the narrative.  So honestly, I didn’t realize the books had a stark contrast, though some readers may feel that way.

Did you do a special research on the Chola Dynasty and their art forms?

Yes, I did do a lot of research. I visited the places and the museums I describe, I read quite a few historical accounts and I even read a paper on metallurgy. But the important material came from newspaper stories and blogs that specialize in the theft of Chola bronzes. What I have described in the book is quite plausible.

Do you believe that the thefts of the kind has actually happened or was that your pure imagination?

The core idea for the book came from a real life incident.  Sadly, there have been quite a few such art heists involving Chola bronzes, some still open. I’d think of the book more as my take on such thefts than pure imagination. It is not just Chola bronzes but many other artifacts from all over India have been smuggled out of the country and sold to private collections and museums around the world.
What is your advice to the aspiring writers?

Find your voice. While it is important to consider the audience, ultimately your voice is what will drive your creativity for the long term.

How can the readers reach you?

They could write to me through my websitewww.radhikanathan.com