Today in our author’s interview, we have Shyamala Shanmugasundaram , the author of “Dreams on Fire?”
Shyamala Shanmugasundaram is a children’s author, freelance writer and chief ideator of Kataba. Her written works have been published by Alka Publications, Children’s Book Trust (CBT), National Book trust (NBT), Rupa & Co, Pratham Books, DNA and The Hindu newspapers.
Besides writing, Shyamala curates literary events for schools and libraries. The objective of these literary events is to foster creativity and spread the joy of reading Indian children books.
In fact I met her through an event that she had organised in one of the schools at Thane. She was looking for someone to conduct a literary quiz and a friend suggested my name. A mutual love of books and writing led to us keeping in touch even after the event.
Let’s get to know her better
Interview With Shyamala Shanmugasundaram
Why did you choose to write books for children?
I started writing for my son who was an avid reader. My husband and I always ran short of books to read out to him.
What kind of books do you write?
I write all kinds of books-picture books (fiction and nonfiction), middle grade and young adult. If an idea appeals to me, I explore it to the best of my ability and see where it goes.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing when my son was three years old. I wrote and illustrated some stories for him. Since some stories turned out to be decent, I submitted them to a few publishers. I soon had some success getting my books published.
What were the hurdles you faced?
I didn’t have a computer when I first started writing. Friends came to the rescue. While one offered her computer to write, another typed some of my stories. By the time my first book got published, I got my first computer.
I didn’t know how to polish my writing skills. Writing can be an extremely frustrating process. Sometimes you know something is wrong with your written work but you don’t know how to fix it. Luckily for me writer Monideepa Sahu pointed me to an online writing group which helped me immensely in the initial years.
Lack of information: I am a research oriented person. All the libraries which were a treasure trove of information were far away from home. Getting memberships into some of the public libraries was and still is a cumbersome process. The neighbourhood libraries don’t stock any research books. Personal commitments made it difficult to visit the libraries as often as I wanted to.
In spite of all these hurdles I see that you have written and published quite a lot of books. (You can find out more about her other books here.)
What word of advice would you give to young writers of today?
ead a lot. Write a lot. There is no end to learning. Acquire different skills. They always come in handy when you write stories.
Writing Success=Self discipline + Hard work + Patience + Perseverance