Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sumana Khan Author of Encounters

Sumana Khan has proven her mettle in her last two novels. Her books were always became sure shot page turner. We got chance to know more about her.


Can you brief us about yourself? About your personality, hobbies, likes & dislikes.
I was born and raised in Bangalore; I live in the UK now. I was an IT consultant for a little over a decade. I’m now full-time into academics and writing.
Hobbies – of course, anything related to books takes up a lot of my time. I’m either reading or writing. I’m also a movie buff and loiter around movie halls often.
I wouldn’t term it as ‘dislike’ but I do find social media interactions tedious.
Readers usually expect author as big time reader. Under which reader category you put yourself. Avid Reader, Normal Reader or Casual Reader? Tell us more about your reading habit.
I’m a voracious reader. Books accompany me everywhere; I don’t buy handbags which cannot accommodate a thick hardback! My interests range from serious classics to pulp fiction. I tend to read more literary and crime/horror than any other genre. I also keep an eye out for interesting debuts – some of the debuts by British and American authors have been exceptional.
Two of your books are already published and got good acceptance. From that experience, can you tell us which one is your stronghold as storyteller and which one is still weaker, where you would like to explore more?
I wouldn’t categorise it as weaker or stronger but both formats, be it a full length novel, or short story/novella/novelette present their own challenges. I do find writing short stories immensely challenging because you have very less elbow room to play with, yet you have to pack a punch with a self-contained story in limited word count. For a fledging writer like me, short stories provide a good and rigorous exercise in writing. A novel on the other hand requires a lot of commitment, patience and slavish devotion. From a technical perspective, I know I have a lot of work to do – when I see the debuts in the UK, their quality of writing, the superb execution of the plots, the nuanced complexity of the characters – yes, there’s a lot of room for self-improvement!
How deep you plan when you write? Do you plan everything or keep it upto your mood and imagination at time of writing? Do you keep changing roadmap of the characters of your story?
I usually develop the basic plot and the characters first. Then, I begin any relevant research that is required for the manuscript. Once I have my research notes in order, I usually decide at this stage about the narrative voice. Thereafter, I make a broad chapter outline and begin my writing. Of course, midway my characters can change, or an entirely new plot twist might pop up. If it makes sense, I do go ahead and rewrite. In other words, I don’t plan everything; I give myself enough flexibility to change course if the calling is very strong. However, I don’t depend on my mood etc for writing – I just park myself and begin to write.
If god gives you chance to pick one of the litarary work of any person on the earth as your own work, which one would you pick? Why?
That’s a great question! Although I have a lengthy list of books I wish I’d written – as an aspiring crime/horror novelist, top of my list are two books – Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs...in fact the entire Hannibal Lecter collection including Red Dragon and Hannibal.
In terms of gothic horror, the sheer canvas and terror of Dracula is unsurpassable. To have created a character that spun off an entire genre, spilling into the next century – what more can a writer ask for? Dracula is a perfect example of creating a mood with words – dank, dark, squalid terror. The setting is exotic and forbidding at the same time. Naming the book after the anti-hero in itself is unique. The visualisation of a creature such as this one; propping it up with a historical background, Same with Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon – the plot is so brilliant – it is a bible of sorts if you want to write about serial killers. True to its genres, Harris fully exploits psychological mind games, the reader finds the sordid details reviling, yet riveting. The books offer a master class to all writers of crime/thrillers where our biggest challenge is to balance pace and character development without compromising either.
Can you tell some interesting experience or event of your life which can inspire them?
Well, I can’t think of any actually. However, I can tell with conviction that to be a writer, you must also be open to constant learning, and you must look beyond your immediate frame of reference in terms of your personal world. You must cultivate an interest in understanding different world views, different cultures and different life experiences. 
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