Monday, July 30, 2018

Meet Susha Satish Author of The Song of the Caged Bird

Reading "The Song of the Caged Bird" by Susha Satish was a nice experience for us. Those who have missed the review of the book can click here. Today we have author Susha Satish with us to discuss more her book.


Before we move ahead, can you please tell our readers about your education and professional background?
I am a slightly reserved person. It was the same in school; I did not have a number of friends, just a few. It’s probably because I enjoy observing people, trying to imagine their stories and I enjoy listening to them rather than do a lot of talking myself.
Since I was born in Kuwait, I had my early education there and came to India when I was entering my 9th grade. I belong to Kerala and did my double graduation in History and Economics with German as my second language. Later, I completed my post-graduation and my M.Phil in English. I’m one of those strange folk who enjoy studying and I went on to complete my B.Ed after I was married. Right now, I’m preparing to do my P.Hd.Looking back, I realise thatsports and games never really held any fascination for me; I was the kind who feels that a roomful of books is Paradise and the feeling is the same today!
What are some day jobs you have held?
It never occurred to me to become a teacher; I sort of stumbled into the profession. After I got married, I found that I had all the time in the world and nothing to do. Strangely, I went about it the wrong way round! My first job was at a college, a private one and I realised that I enjoyed teaching teenagers! After going on to become an Assistant Professor of a government college, I worked for around fifteen years, teaching post-grad students the nuances of English literature.
In my spare time, I worked at places like the Regional Engineering College, the Nursing College and a Seminary, taking classes in Spoken English as it was called in those days! Through all these years, my affection for the wide variety of students I met and interacted with, grew in leaps and bounds.
Certain circumstances made me shift to Pune and I began to teach at a residential school. That was an education in itself and I feel thankful for all that I learnt from this totally new world. Living in a community, being responsible for so many young adults, living their lives with them, sharing their laughter and pain- yes, these experiences have influenced me and most of the ideas I have put in my book have come from the very children who were my family during these times.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? Which author inspire you the most?
I read voraciously is an understatement. I read anything I can lay my hands on. My eyesight has begun to fail and so, I’ve been reprimanded by my daughter and husband who insist that I should reduce my reading! To no avail, of course!
I’d say, Patricia Cornwell and Anne Cleeves off the top of my hat. But then, I adore Rumer Godden’s ‘Five for Sorrow, ten for Joy, Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn but my all -time favourite is Jane Eyre. And then there is Ayn Rand’s the Fountainhead, which I force my students to read! I adore Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man and Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s fan too. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a classic that makes me teary eyed! I guess I’m a die-hard romantic and it’s these books that have inspired me, one way or the other!
When did you start writing?
I must have written a number of short stories when I was young; what I have always done is keep a journal and pour out my heart when I’m low!
I love reading poetry but am not so comfortable writing poems. Some of the poems I cherish are Tennyson’s works such as the Morte de Arthur and the soulful tragic Lady of Shallot,John Donne’s passionate love poems, T.S.Eliot’s Wasteland and Nizzim Ezekiel’s sharp witted poetry.
When did you decide to become a writer?
It was a year back when I was working and had some spare time that I decided to start writing. My niece, my sister’s daughter, had been urging me to write for quite a while now and finally, I gave in. Believe me, I had no great faith in myself and didn’t really think that my book would see the light of day!
But somewhere along the way, when I began to write, basing my story broadly upon my students and their love stories, my characters seemed to develop a mind of their own. It began to feel as though they were dictating their story, framing their situations! And I? I was only the lowly typist!
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
Since I am still working at a residential school, my day is chock-full with myriad activities, responsibilities and work. So, I generally write at night, after dinner, before I go to bed. After writing a couple of pages, I go back and edit what I’ve typed, since I rarely feel that I’ve given my best!
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I’m not a singularly ambitious person. Professionally, the best part of my career is probably over, since I was the Principal of a reputed co-educational residential school for some years. I still continue to teach because I enjoy what I’m doing, that is, interacting with young people who can put a big smile on my face with their inherent openness!
What genre are your books?
When it comes to my writing yes, I want to continue to write and God willing, hope to have a large readership as well!!! But there is no driving competitiveness in me. I write because I enjoy doing it! It’s as simple as that!
My target audience are of course, the young people I meet everyday, the ones who are not yet cynical, the ones who can still believe inlove and happy endings!


Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
This is my very first book and so, it is very dear to me. Not just because it is a debut novel, no, it is important because it has a little of so many of my students and their stories entwined in the framework of the plot.
‘The Song of the Caged Bird’ is a love story, about two young people who fall hopelessly in love when they meet in college. But circumstances force them apart. It may sound clich├ęd but I have seen first-hand how such a situation can separate people.
The idea for my story came from the children around me, young teenagers who are passionate about the people they care for and have a devil-may-care attitude that is sometimes hopelessly endearing! There was no particular research required, I had my characters abounding in the places I worked in!
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
The characters are very close to my heart. My heroine, Malini, seemed to grow before my eyes in my imagination as I watched her move from cheerful youthfulness to a more sober wisdom of sorts. Yash, my hero, was a cool customer, the kind of youth who keeps his emotions under wraps at all times.
Who is your least favorite character and why ?
A character I did not like but was fascinated by, was Yash’s father – in –law, Pritam Makreja, the kind of person who will not think twice about moving in, rough shod, destroying anything that stands in his way.
What was the toughest thing about writing your latest book?
The hardest thing about the book was sending it in for publication!
Yes, I kept finding things to add, to delete until I simply had to give it in to be published, the way it was!
Can you tell us about the response you got for your book?
My book, The Song of the Caged Bird was published at the fag end of May this year, just before my school vacations ended and I returned to Pune, back to school. With my students encouraging me, I held a small book launch in Pune on the 7th of July. The entire event was organised by my ex-students and the Chief Guest was an old student of mine, a cine actress on the Marathi screen! The reviews which appeared on Amazon and Goodreads made me feel overwhelmed!
To my own surprise, my book has sold over a hundred and forty copies, thanks to my network of students who have rallied around me!



What are you working on at the minute? What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I’m exploring the idea of writing a book series as well; of course, in the genre of romance! Currently, I’m planning my next book but with the workload at school, I’ve only been able to put together a sketchy outline. Once again, I’ve opted for a romance but with some suspence thrown in!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
My advice for young writers would be just this; if you feel you have a story to tell and the idea simply haunts you all the time, get down to writing it!!!
How can your fan connect with you?
My Facebook link and that of my Goodreads and Amazon Author page are all in my name, which is Susha Satish.
My Twitter handle and my Linkedin id are sushasatish@gmail.com.
Book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

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4 comments:

  1. I've read the book. Your interview makes the author like come alive. Interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The book sounds good. is it available on amazon?

    ReplyDelete

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