Book Review Blog

Interview with author Dr. Sweety Shinde

In a conversation with Dr. Sweety Shinde author of the book Arjun Without A Doubt. The 306 page long book is a take on Mahabharata from the point of view of Arjun and Draupadi. To read the complete review of the book, please visit Book Review : Arjun Without A Doubt - Dr. Shinde Sweety.


-- Interview with author Dr. Sweety Shinde --

Q: “Arjun Without A Doubt” is a published book, how does it feel to hold your work?
A: Exactly as a mother – fiercely protective, infinitely tender, vastly proud and a trifle awed at my own creation.

Q: Can you tell us something about the planning that you did to bring “Arjun Without A Doubt” to life?
A: I kickstarted from Arjun’s so-called weak moment – on the eve of Kurukshetra. So I attended a yearlong course in Bhagavad Gita to understand its relevance to his emotional trauma. I perused  the existing literature on Mahabharat to pinpoint the common misconceptions about Arjun engrained in public minds. Then I read Vyas’s Mahabharat to build my counter arguments.

Q: “Arjun Without A Doubt” is a take on the Indian epic Mahabharata, did you expect your take to be appreciated so much by the readers?
A: It is said ‘If there’s a book you really wish to read, then you should write it.’ I was entirely dissatisfied with Arjun’s portrayal in popular literature and entirely confident that there existed an audience hungry to know his reality. If my book is indeed appreciated, perhaps the reason is that it reflects my heartfelt homage to him.

Q: “Arjun Without A Doubt” is definitely a work of great research and understanding of the Indian epic, tell us something about that?
A: I loved Arjun blindly as a child. Now I love him with my eyes wide open. His vilification in recent books and TV serials ruffled my temper and egged me to study Vyas’s original with a microscopic vision. Facts are begging to be discovered in Vyas’s text – they have just been mutilated by faulty interpretations.

Q: Apart from "Arjun Without A Doubt” what else have you written? Anything that you want us to know?
A: Many articles in medical journals. But Arjun was my first literary work – a byproduct of deep love and deep rage.

Q: What can we expect from you in the near future? Any other books lined up?
A: Am currently penning 3 novellas based on the medical world. Another novel based on Chanakya’s era is germinating in my mind. I frequently flesh out all 4 ideas simultaneously, so my mind is a veritable melee of contrasting characters fighting for attention and space.

Q: How did you start writing? Was it an Intentional move? Something inspired you? Or you think you were destined to?
A: As exhalation is inevitable to inhalation, writing is inevitable to reading. Writing is the active outlet for imagination just as reading is a passive outlet. I was already writing articles for my blog. This book was a natural extension of the same creative pleasure.

Q: Being a published author, is a different feeling altogether. How do you make sure that this feeling stays alive forever?
A: By keeping the mind alert to unusual behavior traits in people around me and keeping the imagination alive by constantly twisting current events to the ‘What if…’ clause.

Q: What is one thing that you like the most about your writing?
A: The autonomy of expression and the sheer pleasure of luxuriating in words. Being an author also awakened the multitasker in me  – I learnt about book design, book formatting, book promotions, creating a Facebook page, creating a YouTube video, managing a Goodreads profile and so on.
Interview with author Dr. Sweety Shinde
Interview with author Dr. Sweety Shinde
Q: If given a chance to make one change in your book, what would that change be? Why?
A: Ayn Rand said about her first book (We the Living): ‘Too many writers declare that they never succeeded in expressing fully what they wished to express. Looking back, I’m startled to discover how well I did say what I wished to say.’ I concur with her emotions. This book was meant as a definitive statement on behalf of Arjun-Draupadi and I think I carried my task to fulfilment.

Q: Any particular review that you received for “Arjun Without A Doubt” made you go wow? Can you share with us?
A: One reviewer described the book as ‘Beautiful in depth but disappointing in width’. I assume she meant it as criticism, but I acknowledge that my book was intended as an exploration of emotional depths rather than to cover a wider panorama. Some reviewers clashed with my viewpoint yet admitted that my ideas churned their mind and ignited a wish to ascertain the truth by revisiting Vyas’s original text. And of course, there were the critics who told me they were confused by Arjun –Draupadi’s successive dialogues. This stimulated me to add a note that Draupadi’s narration is marked by *** symbol, thus smoothening the reading experience for future readers.

Q: Other than being a published author, what else do you do professionally?
A: Being an M.D in Pathology gives me a dual opportunity to deal with patients as well as teach medical students. Am also an eternal student who is constantly trying to imbibe new knowledge (Spanish, swimming, yoga, Sanskrit, dance) – to keep myself young, humble, alert and hooked to life.

Q: What made you finalize the book cover? Did you have more options?
A: A book cover gets barely 15 seconds of reader attention. It needed to mirror my 150 word blurb, which in turn needed to encapsulate my 306 page book. Since the focus was firmly on Arjun, Draupadi and Krishn, the blurb had a punch quote each delineating their individual character. The cover is purely symbolic – Arjun’s silver arrow, Draupadi’s blue lotus and Krishn’s peacock feather entwined together to show their mutual bond. More on the whys and hows of my book cover can be found here.

Q: Tell us something about your experience of getting “Arjun Without A Doubt” published?
A: It was a series of heartbreaking rejection letters before Leadstart showed interest in publishing it. The rejection helped – it gave me time to whittle away unnecessary paragraphs and edit it ruthlessly.

Q: Do you read as much as you write? Which are your favorite books and authors?
A: Oh yes! In Mahabharat my favs remain Vyas’ original text and Iravati Karve (Yugaant). Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead) for her clarity of thought and stunning one liners. Sane Guruji (Shyam chi Aai in Marathi) for a simple and lucid way to portray emotions.

Q: You prefer reading e-books or the traditional paper/hard back book?
A: Paperbacks still give me the ‘real’ feeling of holding a book. Of course I’m willing to doff my hat at progress, so I acknowledge that ebooks are economical, eco-friendly and easily portable.

Q: There are many books written about and inspired from Indian Mythology, weren’t you skeptical about your book being lost? How did you make sure that it stands out, the way it has?
A: I chose a protagonist who, sadly, hasn’t been the center of attention in Mythology fiction. I’m glad I was the chosen one to restore his lost glory.

Q: Two things that you like and dislike about “Indian Mythology”?
A: I like that it is open to multiflavoured and multilayered interpretations. I dislike that our epics are described as mythical, because I sincerely believe they are historical narrations.

Q: If you have to give one reason to our readers to get hold of your book, “Arjun Without A Doubt”, what would the reason be?
A: To admire the right Hero for the right reasons.

Q: How can our readers connect with you?
A: My blog Impractical DreamerArjun FB pageGoodreadsYouTube, Twitter


-- End of Interview with author Dr. Sweety Shinde --
You can order a copy of the book, Arjun without a doubt, from Amazon.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the opportunity to interact!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome! Looking forward to your future books.

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