The Writing Life of: Gita V. Reddy
Gita V. Reddy
This week I am thrilled to be interviewing author Gita V. Reddy. Gita will be sharing with us details of her writing life, telling us all about her book ‘The Morning Star‘, which was released on 27th August 2020 and answering a few fun questions too. This post contains affiliate links.
Gita V. Reddy lives in Hyderabad, India, with her husband and son. She writes fiction for both adults and children. Her books for children are written when she takes a break from writing for adults and vice versa.
She enjoys thinking up tales of different genres and has written historical fiction, women’s fiction, and recently has made a foray into regency romance.
For children, she has written mysteries, adventure tales, fantasy, science fiction, and also a fable.
In addition to writing, she is interested in art and has illustrated three picture books. Gita V. Reddy also writes under the pen names of Heera Datta and Jessica Spencer (for regency romance.)
Ms Reddy is a post graduate in Mathematics. In an earlier life that she voluntarily quit in 2011, she was senior manager in a bank.
1) Did you enjoy writing when you were a child?
From a young age, I wrote for my school magazine and also made up stories for younger cousins.
2) Which author shaped your childhood?
I was an early reader. By the time I was seven, I had read most of Enid Blyton’s books. The adventure stories prompted me to start a small club with three other children. The club was short-lived and our adventures were imaginary, but the love of books endured all through my childhood and for the rest of my life.
3) What motivated you to begin your first novel?
My writing journey started as a fun exercise for my son but grew into a passion. I was working full-time as a bank manager then. For fourteen years, I struggled to fulfil my creative urges along with the demands of my job and family. Fourteen years later, in 2011, I quit my job to pursue writing. I wrote short stories and chapter books for children, and then a novel for middle graders, followed by short stories for adults. It was an organic process.
My first novel for adults was the result of an article about how Charles Dickens forced a separation on his wife and kept her away from their ten children. Catherine’s story preyed on my mind. Finally, I decided to give her a voice and wrote Outside the Magic Circle under the pen name Heera Datta.
4) Do you plot your book, or are you a pantser?
A little bit of both. After an idea strikes me, I decide whether it will work for a children’s or an adult’s book and start thinking about the characters. Once the characters take life, the plot emerges. I use it as a framework and proceed.
5) What is your average writing day?
I’ve set a goal of 2500 words per day. I start late in the morning and write in short sprints. During the breaks, I either get up and walk about or read a few pages from a book to recharge.
I like to keep my writing area spartan and non-fussy which means only my computer, phone, and a water bottle.
6) What is the best thing about being an author?
The best thing is the creative process. Each time, getting an idea and seeing where it will take you is like a discovery. Writing the first draft – especially when in the flow – is exhilarating. The rest is about sweat and stubbornness and persistence.
Pages – 329
Release Date – 27th August 2020
ISBN 13 – 979-8680827666
Format – ebook, paperback
Anything is possible if fate wills it.
A desperate woman calls a neighbor before dying in childbirth. Is it a coincidence that she chooses someone who will give her all to save the baby from its unscrupulous father?
When Sudha answers a telephone call in the middle of the night, she cannot know how it will change her life. From the first, she feels a strong connection with the motherless baby. She brings her home and names her after the Arundhati star.
Sudha loves Arundhati – Anu as she calls her – as much as she does her son. She is the daughter of her heart, a precious gift that fate has given her.
As the threat to Anu’s safety increases, Sudha grows desperate and takes a drastic step. Only, it might cost her everything she holds dear…
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7) How did you go about researching the content for your book?
As The Morning Star is set in India, I did not need to research the locale or the culture. The only research was in the area of adoption laws. Google was a great help.
8) How long did it take to go from the ideas stage to writing the last word?
It took about nine months. The story changed and evolved into something different from the original idea. The Morning Star was meant to be the story of a mother and her child but took the shape of a housewife and a motherless infant because a mother’s love need not be only for her biological offspring.>
9) What made you choose the genre you write in?
I have not limited myself to a single genre or subgenre. I write for children of different age groups. My children’s books fall under the categories of action & adventure, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, animal story, family & friends, and facing challenging situations. For adults, I have written literary fiction, women’s fiction, and also romances. In the last couple of years, I have published a clean regency romance series, Sisters by Marriage, under the pen name Jessica Spencer. It is a four-book series.
My latest novel, The Morning Star, is in the women’s fiction genre. It is a moving family drama about love and sacrifice, and also the story of a marriage.
10) How did you come up with the name(s) for your lead character(s)?
As the characters are Indian, I’ve used Indian names. The protagonist is named Sudha which means pure and depending upon the context, nectar. The name suits her gentle and selfless character.
I’ve named the infant Arundhati, which is the Vedic name of the star Alcor. Sudha gives her the name and says:
“If you were my daughter, I would call you Arundhati. I used to try to locate the Arundhati star after my grandmother told me the story of Arundhati. But you are so small! It’ll take time for you to bear the weight of such a noble name! I think I’ll call you Anu. Anu is perfect. Anu means an atom. The tiniest particle. No, I’m not putting you down! An atom is very strong. It is a world in itself. As are you!”
11) Can you give us an insight into your characters?
Sudha is a resilient character. She knows how to make the best of a situation and stay happy. Her life hasn’t been easy. After losing her mother at the age of seven, she is separated from her father and brother and brought up by a domineering aunt. Her husband, Vinay, is a good man but preoccupied with bettering their situation in life. Sudha doesn’t mind – or at least tells herself she doesn’t mind – and leads a relatively happy life with her husband and son, and finds happiness in small things.
Then, a baby girl comes into Sudha’s life. Motherless, vulnerable, the infant becomes the daughter of Sudha’s heart, and arouses her protective instincts. Sudha stakes her family life and happiness to save the baby from her alcoholic father. Her journey to find a family for the infant leads brings out her dormant strengths and she becomes her own person.
Vinay is an introvert. Having faced adversity, he is determined to give his family the best. But in his quest for material things, he loses sight of what is important.
12) How did you feel when you had completed your book?
I felt like a new mother. I was exhausted and happy and also anxious about how the book would fare.
1) Do you have a favourite quote you live by?
‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken’, Oscar Wilde.
2) Do you have any pets?
I don’t but I have birds visiting the trees outside my window and peacocks in the neighborhood. I can see them when they fly to the upper boughs and hear them shriek on most nights!
3) What’s on your current reading list?
I like to start two or more books and switch between them. Currently, I’m reading The Light through the Leaves by Glendy Vanderah and the Murphy’s Luck series by Benjamin Laskin. I have a bunch of clean regency romances and some cozy mysteries lined up to read during my short breaks from writing.
4) Your book has been made into a feature film, you’ve been offered a cameo role, what would you be doing?
Playing a tree or even better a rock!
5) If you could travel to the fictional world of any book for the day, which would you choose?
Emerald City from the Wonderful World of Oz. Narnia and Willy Wonka’s Factory are next on the list.
6) There’s a penguin sitting in your writing chair, what is the first thing he says to you?
(Hopefully) ‘I’m from Penguin Random House.’
I would like to say a big thank you to Gita V. Reddy for sharing with us details of her writing life and for a wonderful interview.