At 14, Akanksha Bhatia began writing her debut novel ‘Letters From My Beloved’. Incredible it may sound; it was not a cakewalk, since she had to face a dozen rejections from publishers. Only after several rounds of editing and re-editing finally did the book see the light of the day a few months ago. I have this habit of re-editing my book every six months. “The book I wrote at 14 was very bland and very basic, there were lot of changes made to make it more interesting and readable, says Akanksha”.
“When you are in your teenage you tend to see the world with rose tinted shades”. Akanksha says, “Sometimes I still sound kiddish in my books then I have to go back and edit my writing”. Best part about her is that she is not afraid of rejections and forever open to work hard to polish the craft of writing.
‘Letters from My Beloved’ is a teenage love story centred on the lives of Rahul Malhotra and Sonia Sharma. The book deals with the experience of first love through the eyes of the author. It’s a heart-warming book that one would relate well with. Her inspiration for writing love stories mostly comes from observing couples! She has no personal experience, she insists ! But is a keen observer of the dynamics of a relationship between couples.
Akanksha Bhatia, now 17, is currently pursuing a BA in Journalism from MOV Vaishnav College in Chennai. She plans on pursuing Post Graduation in Journalism from the Asian College Of Journalism. Though originally from Delhi, she lives in Chennai with her family. She likes reading love stories and classics. Particuarly love stories with a supernatural twist like Dracula, Frankenstein & Twilight. She aspires to be like JK Rowling who according to her is a spellbinding writer ! She tried writing Fantasy Fiction too but according to her it was horrible .She says, ‘I haven’t matured enough to delve in that territory, so would stick writing love-stories for now”
She says, “The increase in Indian writers is a good sign though, I have read a lot of Indian writers and I love the quirky sense of humour in most of their books. They have a way of connecting with their readers in India which the foreign writers may never be able to; they know how the Indian mind works and that gives them the advantage. The fact that Indian books are cheaper than the books by foreign writers has its advantages. Though it makes the book affordable but on the flip side the Indian authors do not get a huge sum as a royalty that the authors from abroad get.” But she isn’t bothered by the finance part of publishing the books as getting her book published itself was an overwhelming experience, a dream come true. But she believes that wriitng as a full time career is not a viable option at least in India.. you make very less money!
We wish she sells a lot and changes her views on royalty in the next interview!
It is indeed credible that regardless of having being rejected for getting her first novel published (Similar to her idol, J.K.Rowling!) she is in the process of finishing her second novel! She urges her fellow writers never to give up as, “Rejection only makes you stronger and I have learned it the hard way”.
-Babita Balan with inputs from Preeti