Today I’m happy to share an interview with Apeksha Rao, author of the soon-to-be-released book, Along Came A Spyder.
Apeksha Rao and Along Came A Spyder
Hi Apeksha! Tell us very briefly who you are and what Along Came A Spyder is about.
I’m Apeksha Rao, and I’m very happy to meet you.
I’m a YA author, and my debut novel, Along Came A Spyder, will be releasing soon.
It is the story of a seventeen year old girl, Samira Joshi, who wants to be a spy. The protagonist of my story is on a journey of self-discovery, and while writing about her journey, I embarked on my own. As Samira learned to chase her dreams, so did I.
Apeksha, do share with us how you started writing.
When I was a kid, my Mom always said, “Never scratch an itch! It just gets worse!”
Much as it pains me to say this, my mother was right!
I scratched an itch, and it did get worse.
No, no. Don’t wrinkle your nose like that. I’m not saying anything icky, I promise.
I’m talking about the itch to write.
There I was, minding my own business, getting on with my day job. Then, I had twins. Bam!
Motherhood unleashed this immense wave of creativity in me. Blame it on extreme sleep deprivation.
I started typing out short stories with one finger on the iPad, while rocking a colicky baby on my lap, and before I knew it, I was blogging regularly, participating in blogging festivals like the Festival of Words, and making friends with a wide circle of very supportive bloggers from The Write Tribe.
How did the idea of the Spyders occur to you?
I would see teenagers all over the place, chilling and doing their thing. One day, I started thinking, “What if?”
What if someone trains teenagers to be spies?
What if the kids I always see on the foot-over-bridge at Santacruz station are actually undercover?
I started off with a tiny piece of flash fiction, and ideas kept pouring in. I wrote quite a few short stories about a group of teen spies called the Blackbirds.
Soon, writing short stories just wasn’t enough. One particular idea kept popping up in my mind, and that little worm grew into a monster.
I decided to write about a girl who wanted to be a spy. The series title was changed to Spyders.
Then, NaNoWriMo happened, and I just had to try my luck at writing 50,000 words within a month.
With a lot of self doubts, I began working on my first novel, egged on by supportive voices from my blogging circle.
I was convinced that I could never write a whole book. But, hey, there’s no harm in trying something, right?
My first NaNoWriMo tanked, but the second one was more fruitful. I finished the first draft of my book, and I’m really glad I gave it a shot, because finishing that book changed my life.
I know that you are a homeopathic doctor and a mom. How did you manage to find time to write a book. Also what do you mean about the book changing your life?
Long story short, it took me a year to finish that book, and during that year, we moved from Mumbai to Bangalore. I had to choose between my day job and writing, because raising twins didn’t leave me with enough bandwidth to do both.
This is where that itch comes in.
Going from being a person who hadn’t written a creative word in years to becoming a person who had completed a full novel, turned my life upside down.
It made me question everything I was doing with my life.
And there were huge changes going on in my poor, overworked brain.
It was as if a creative dam had burst, and my brain was flooded with ideas and plots. I started exploring new genres apart from YA. I horrified my parents by writing really dark and morbid short stories, and when I stood up for what I wrote, I realised that there wasn’t any choice, really.
Writing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
So what’s the next step from here?
I’m working on the next book in the Spyders series, as well as on a series for middle graders.
I have also been handpicked by Anita Nair for her creative writing mentorship program.
Oh wow! Wishing you and Along Came A Spyder all the best, Apeksha.