Preeti Shenoy, a blogger with several credentials to her name, a writer with a national bestseller and a mother of two comes across as highly optimistic as you converse with her. Her second book, Life Is What You Make It (Srishti Publications) released recently. Here is what she has to say:
The Tossed Salad: Firstly, how do you want to be known as? A blogger or a writer?
Preeti Shenoy: Definitely as a writer, and an artist. I think unless one is a writer first, one will not really be able to sustain a blog. There are millions of blogs in the world and new ones are started every single day. But there are only a few which continue to remain active, even after say, four years or so. This can happen only if the blogger is a writer—as in deeply committed and motivated to keep writing regularly. (By regularly I mean more than 5 posts a month).
TTS: You already have a major fan following on the blogging arena, so why go into print?
PS: It was always my dream to be a published author ever since I was a child. After starting the blog, I began writing for Times of India and Readers Digest. My writing also appeared in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. My poetry was published around the same time. The natural progression from all this was to author a book, which has now happened twice over.
TTS: So what is that you enjoy writing more, blogs or books? Isn’t your blog Just A Mother of Two, a more personal update of your own life?
PS: When I blog, there is no forethought which goes into it. I write to connect to my readers. My writing is from the heart and sincere. It is really not an update of my personal life. If that was so, I doubt if it would have been as popular as it is now. When I write a book, it is a lot of hard work, writing and rewriting. A lot of research and planning goes into it. So both are entirely different. I equally enjoy both. In a blog, I get an instant response which I find very gratifying. In a book, it takes years before you can hold your work in your hand. But the satisfaction of a book well written is unmatched.
TTS: Now that you have had a second book release, how has the journey been? Any publishing hassles or has the journey been very smooth?
PS: I have been very fortunate. The journey has indeed been smooth so far. Since my first book became a National best seller, my publisher was very keen on my going with them on my second book too.
TTS: What is the secret to keeping your readers entertained?
PS: Sincere writing from the heart, a sense of humour and a bit of luck.
TTS: Why should one pick up your book to read? What is that sets you apart from the several contemporary Indian writers who are flooding the market?
PS: My two books are completely different from each other as well as completely different from the ones flooding the market. The first was creative non-fiction, a genre not easily come across. It was a collection of 34 real life incidents. The second is based on a true life story and also deals with bipolar disorder which is a very unusual choice of topic. But the book is not really on Bipolar disorder, but is a very inspiring story of courage, hope and love, and how powered by these, even destiny can be changed.
TTS: Both your books have a very optimistic approach towards life. Is it something you practice before you preach?
PS: Yes, people who know me in real life do always say that I am a very positive person. I tend to look on brighter side of things, most of the time. Rarely will you find me cribbing and complaining. I would rather do something to fix the problem.
TTS: What is your benchmark of having written well? What is that tells you that you have done a fine job?
PS: The first book went on to be a National best-seller and is in its 6th reprint as I write this. Second is just out and it had debuted at No.2 on Flip-kart. Many of the people who have read the book have written to me about how moved they have been on reading the book and have told their friends about the book. Word of mouth is currently the best medium. My books are also available in all big stores and even in railway stations in the North. The feedback I have been receiving till now does indicate that the book has been received very positively and the immense effort I put in is paying off.
TTS: What next? Any more books in the pipeline? Any genre you want to particularly write upon?
PS: I am currently working on my 3rd and 4th books. The genre I write would be either contemporary fiction or creative non-fiction.
TTS: Any last words for aspiring bloggers/writers?
PS: Keep writing. Keep blogging. Be sincere and respond to your readers. Remember a blog is nothing without its readers. Good luck!