Dr Savita B Singh in Conversation with Contemporary Literary Review India
CLRI: Tell us about yourself? Your life as a novelist?
Dr Savita B Singh: The process of creating a book is a very engrossing and fulfilling experience. The characters come alive under the author’s pen, as the story progresses. The author has to be careful about how each character is handled, in the various incidents that occur in the narrative. The book, at its completion, gives the author a profound meaning to his/her existence, by having made a contribution to the society. The author can only feel a very rare quality of happiness, if the book has brought even a few drops of joy and enrichment in the lives of others. This quality of happiness is quite different from the one that is got by the mere acquisition of financial comforts, and security, for one’s own self.
CLRI: What started you writing ? Does it come naturally to you?
Dr Savita: I think writing is a creative instinct, which an author cannot help but obey. Authors can use pen and words as skillfully to weave descriptions, as directors can do with their cameras, and artists with their brushes .
CLRI: Are there any themes which particularly attract you as a novelist?
Dr Savita: Relationships and bonds that survive the severe storms / trials of life, and leave behind an inspiring and reassuring message for humanity, is a theme which particularly attracts me.
CLRI: Do you believe that authors are self-motivated souls?
Dr Savita: Authors may be self-motivated , inspired by other artists , or even be compelled to write because of circumstances.
CLRI: Who are your favorite authors? Tell us about the writers who have influenced you.
Dr Savita: A J Cronin, Margaret Mitchell, Jane Austen, Bronte sisters, Somerset Maugham, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie to name a few. Many of the above mentioned authors have influenced me .
CLRI: What are you reading right now?
Dr Savita: Agatha Christie
CLRI: Fiction is essentially a self-taught art form. Do you think if there was formal training it would help or harm? Where do you see it going in the future?
Dr Savita: Writing is an inherent quality in authors. Entertaining readers with witty descriptions, intriguing them with crime stories, inspiring them with moving narratives – requires a natural talent, which I think is difficult to teach.
Rather, life itself is a great teacher. Advancing years will help a potential author to understand the complexities of human nature, and its interaction with the world. Authors will be able to build more realistic characters, mostly in grey, rather than in black or white. They will be able to handle the characters in their book with greater maturity, and without personal prejudices or exuberance. They will also come to have a better understanding of the spiritual basis of life.
However, formal training also has its own place. Writing will be easier if random thoughts are first streamlined. The authors should be clear at the outset, about the message they want to give to the readers, then build up the story, allowing various incidents to reveal the different character aspects of the different people in the book, and weave forward the message intended to be communicated. A good training could bring maturity in an author’s work at a younger age. It could also help in expanding the vocabulary, and polishing the language skills of potential authors.
Formal training should, in today’s era, include computer training. This is required right from manuscript preparation, to getting the book published, and importantly, the post publishing promotions, to make the readers aware of the book.
CLRI: Do you think social media can have impact into your writing life, and if so, how?
Dr Savita: Social media has a very important impact on an authors’ life . It gives a good and needed chance to authors to make readers aware of their books. The further course will then depend on the actual quality of the book.
CLRI: What is your thought on young writers who are trying to get their work noticed?
Dr Savita: Young writers, who are trying to get their work noticed, if they have put genuine hard work into their writing, are confident of their work and their message, should go all out to get their work noticed, and reach the readers. Remember the Bronte sisters—they wrote masterpieces at such a young age!
CLRI: Any last word?
Dr Savita: Authors hold up a mirror to the society, in which we see our unaltered image as a group, and as individuals. This is useful and important. It helps us to understand our good qualities, as well as our shortcomings, and incites / inspires us to make improvements.
An author who has a beautiful story, a witty one, an intriguing one – should not keep it hidden away in the bottom shelf of his/her cupboard, just because he/she happens to be shy and self-effacing. The world needs your stories to light up a dark day / reveal that path out of a difficulty, which one’s troubled gaze might be missing. Make sure you do not spare any efforts to reach the readers.
The Road and The Lamp