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Alice: The Netherworld

There is no stopping young Indian authors. Megha Rao (16) joins the bandwagon with her debut novel ‘Alice: The Netherworld’.

This young writer from Trivandrum, was brought up in Singapore before she returned to India at the age of ten.

She began writing at an early age. “When I was in the first standard, I used to write comics. I remember tearing papers and stapling them together while I created my very own cartoon characters. Those speech bubbles eventually turned into paragraphs, and those paragraphs, into chapters. I also remember making newspapers and sliding them under the door, taking it into my little mind that my parents would mistake them for the real ones,” says Megha Rao.

The book ‘Alice: The Netherworld’ is about facing the darkest of fears and the most terrible of situations with boldness. The main protagonist, Alice Mason, gets trapped in a fictitious world known as the ‘Netherworld’ when she meets a demon.

How did the idea about writing this book come about? “My sister was doing a wall painting in her room, and the theme was ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ I couldn’t help but wonder how big a game changer it would be if the girl got lost in the Netherworld instead of Wonderland. It’s not all about rainbows and cotton candies,” she says.

She reveals that she found a publisher for her book all by herself. Before her book got published her parents and family never took her seriously as a potential author.

“When I realized that I couldn’t wait for someone to help me out, I embarked on a journey to find a publisher for myself. I searched online for all options. Finally I found the APK publishers’ site. When I saw it, I knew this was it. I was pretty impressed by their site, because they had an online form and all. I’m very lucky to have them as my publishers,” says she.

She says that ever since she got the contract her family members realized how determined she was when it came to following her passion.

She hopes the book to be accepted by teenagers and young adults.

She is crazy about Sidney Sheldon and is inspired by his character-driven novels. She has fallen in love with each and every one of his female protagonists.

She is a fan of e-books. “I think I have read more e-books than paperbacks. They also provide more opportunities to first time writers,” she says.

According to her, a book’s success and marketability depends on its commercial appeal. Therefore, many good books with intriguing concepts may not see light. Likewise, many new writers don’t get enough opportunities in the industry, and therefore, have to seek solace by posting on blogs, websites etc.

Her true love is reading, likes to curl up with a beautiful novel listening to good music. She absolutely loves swimming, playing Badminton and watching Cricket. The IPL craze has set in and she finds herself being consumed by it. Her other personal interests include writing, singing and watching her favourite TV shows one of which…
is ‘The Vampire Diaries’ on CW.

Her favourite actor is Johnny Depp and favourite actress is Rachel McAdams. She has a passion for learning languages. She has represented her school at youth festivals in pencil drawing, essay writing and story writing where she has bagged a number of prizes.

She hates sleeping. She says, “I feel like I am wasting my precious time by doing that! She hates gossip too. “This attitude is reflected in my novel. You can find out by reading it,” she says. She detests superstitions and blind beliefs.

She considers her long-sought entry into the world of literature as her biggest achievement. She has great aspirations of becoming an established author. “Just thinking that I would be able to reach out to so many amazing readers is rather thrilling,” she chirps.

She plans to write many books in the future. Other than that, she aspires to become a lyricist for talented music artists like Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Adele etc. Right now, she is simultaneously working on two projects – The sequel to her first book and a Horror novel.

Though very young, she advises aspiring writers to not let anyone clip their wings. Fly, fly as high as you can!

– Babita Balan
– Babita Balan

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