“Emancipation of soul may sound like a catchphrase these days but it holds the understanding of universe within itself. If you understand it, you not only liberate your being but many troubled souls will find liberation through you.” – Interview with an amazing lady, Siddhi Palande, the author of Beyond The Veil
How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
The theme of women empowerment and fight against patriarchy has always been inspiring. I have read and studied ample novels where patriarchy is a villain. While this novel is a catharsis, it is also based on a true story. This happened with an acquaintance and the girl’s plight was miserable. Yes, the book is tad fictionalized but my motive was to tell her story so that age old customs don’t make another girl its prey.
Where did your love of books come from?
My father was a great orator and a voracious reader. My flair for words, books and writing, is inherited from him. That’s the only legacy passed down. And I am pretty happy about it.
How long have you been writing?
Ever since I was a kid I would write for school plays. I would pen down couplets, poems, stories. I would make up stories and recite it to my peers. Most of my writing has been misplaced over the years but I have now developed a habit of collating all my work in one place.
What kind(s) of writing do you do?
I was an entertainment beat journalist so I love doing movie reviews. I also do book reviews out of my love for the books. I have penned down my thoughts for websites like thought catalog. And I love philosophy and most of my quotes reflect the same. I haven’t tried my hands on academic and technical writing but I feel we should get the taste of everything once in our lives.
What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?
Society keeps evolving. We aren’t like what our forefathers were. And the next generation won’t be like us. What we read, what we write cultivates our culture, preserves our culture. Folk songs, folk dances were a way of storytelling. Had it not been passed down we wouldn’t have been able to differentiate between hip hop and folk dance or classical and trance. Now, why do historical fiction sell? Solely because we like to get acquainted with the past culture. Some things never die.
How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life paths?
It immensely reflects the search to find our true self. This story isn’t about healing oneself. It is also about the emancipation of the other. Like I have mentioned in my Writer’s note, “Emancipation of soul may sound like a catchphrase these days but it holds the understanding of universe within itself. If you understand it, you not only liberate your being but many troubled souls will find liberation through you.”
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The hardest part of writing this book was containing the emotions I was going through. I had recently lost my father to fate and I was just coming out of it. I put in all my efforts to make sure that the book doesn’t become an emotional pool. Another difficulty was taking care of a month old baby while I continued writing. And also when you have your previous novels incomplete, you tend to develop an anxiety.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Well, I loved bringing out the protagonist, Janhvi Desai. With every page, she evolved and how. The words she uses or draws strength from made me want to write more about it but I just couldn’t clutter the pages.
Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.
Yes, my book has spoken for a community less heard. Their protests and agitations have fallen on deaf ears. And when I say Patriarchy, I don’t just mean feminism. This book is much more than that.
Are there misconceptions that people have about your book? If so, explain.
Misconceptions may arise about the lead character Ram Raghuvanshi since the name is taken from a Hindu God but once you read the novel you understand that it is just the idea of Ram that I am talking about. Add to that he is a new age Ram and he is flawed much like us.
What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?
Readers are sure to term the books as work of feminism but it isn’t so. This story isn’t about gender bias is it more to do with the mindset and the curfew enforced setups.
What inspires you?
I draw my strength and inspiration from my father and my mother. I have seen unbelievable made possible by my parents. My father was a pious soul who had to ability to turn a dacoit into a householder, literally! And when you have such an amazing personality at home you need not look for inspiration elsewhere. As for my mother, my father wouldn’t have been a great leader had she not stood strong behind him.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
There are one too many writers who have influenced my work, namely Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, Shashi Deshpande, Amrita Pritam, Danielle Steel, Cecilia Ahern, Sophie Kinsella, Haruki Murakami. If you look closely at their work you will find that their writing is quite layered and in-depth. And when you read their work you hardly ever touch the surface and turn around; rather you are tempted to plod further and understand the truth behind the words.
What process did you go through to get your book published?
I wasn’t sure if I will ever complete the novel but I looked at it as my only chance. After completing four chapters I started looking out for publishers. The script was approved by five publishing houses but I zeroed down on Educreation.
What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
The story. It is unusual.
“A Lawyer by profession, Janhvi Desai has lived her life on the dictates of her family. Assuming that marriage will bring in freshness and freedom she gets married to a Mumbai-based engineer, Ram. But once again faces the wrath of the society. Every passing day as Janhvi Desai – Raghuvanshi, her self-esteem diminishes as her dreams get trampled upon. But while finding the meaning of her being her relationship with her estranged husband takes a beautiful turn. Between Ram and Janhvi rests a delicate secret and an irrevocable difference. But some relationships thrive despite the difference.
Delve into the dysfunctional world of an Indian girl where patriarchy is villain, free will far removed, where two bruised souls meet and it is only to change the definition of soul mate.”
What do you like to read in your free time?
I have a huge library and a long TBR list but I have been hooked to the social media site Wattpad these days which offers ample quality matter to read. Poems, Chicklit novels, Paranormal, Vampire, Werewolf, you name it and they have it. Reading is fun there and the writers out there help you improve too.
What projects are you working on at the present?
I am soon going to start working on my second novel. It will most probably be in my mother tongue and I am collaborating with my mother for the same.
The novella, Beyond The Veil – The Journey Of An Indian Girl will soon release on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Flipkart, Ingram and Infibeam. Meanwhile, you can pre-order the novel from Google Play Books for ebook and BooksCamel.com for paperback.