Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Sana Rose: Author in Focus for The Torrent From My Soul

Sana Rose is a 23 year old aspiring author/poet from Kerala, India. Already having published one compilation of poetry, Sana is working on her next poetry collection and also trying her hand with fiction writing. We got hold of her recently and this is what she has to say-

What’s the title of your book and it’s genre? Tell us briefly about it.( you can include links to your site and book sales page )

My debut book’s title is The Torrent from My Soul : Poems of A Born Dreamer [ISBN: 978-1-60976-888-1] . As the title says, it’s Poetry and it was published in USA. (
The book is a collection of 70 poems I wrote between the ages of 13 and 21.
The Torrent from My Soul reflects the thoughts, joys, sorrows, love, hopes and dreams of a young woman common to most of the young people but made different by the way she chose to express it – that is, Poetry.
Through this collection of sentimental poems, I intend to tell the lonely ones, that they are not alone at least in the world of the lonely..  And to the sad ones that I understand them.
It is a book that most women can relate to as a journey they themselves went through at some point of time in their life. And also to the younger ages. But then, it’s not just about women. There are poems that are written from different Point of Views, which make them my imagination and others’ experience.
My website is at The links to most of the online stores are given in my website.
Currently, I’m trying to get a revised edition published in India to make it easily available for Indians, which is a little tough now due to the higher cost of imported editions.

Any similar titles from other authors published recently? Which authors would you think you directly compare to? Old or new.

As a debut author, I should be really aware about similar titles out on the market. But as we all know, there are thousands of books being published every year and a lot of poetry books are among them. But the question is how many are read. And what kind of poetry is read. That’s where I would rather focus, instead of looking out for competitions. And in making my own next book absolutely different in the sense better.

Poetry is, in fact, a personal experience. So, even if there’s a book that has a similar title or similar line of thought in poems as that of mine, I would still say it’s different, because the reason that made me write these thoughts is not necessarily the reason the other poet wrote the same.
So, frankly said, I do not know who I would compare myself to. Though recently, when a local writer came to talk to me about my book for a newspaper, he played a record of a Malayalam poem by Balachandran Chullikkad, a known contemporary poet from Kerala, recited by the poet itself and I felt a connection. And he said he felt a similarity with Mr. Balachandran’s when he read my book and that’s why he made me listen to it.
It makes me really happy that even though I’m writing in English, my poetry is likened to a poet writing in my mother tongue, whom I haven’t read yet, which shows that my reading is a very narrow one. Only the readers would know a comparison.

Tell us in about 100 words about your literary influences?

To talk about my literary influences, I would first have to talk about my reading which is very much confined to the genre I want to write in. Poetry is not something I read often. I do read random verses, and have loved poems by Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats and Yeats. But I haven’t even read enough of them to count them as my literary influences in poetry. I should think that my poetry is one without influences, but with differences. I keep them simple and mostly, rhymed. Two things I prefer in poems I read.

As for fiction, I go for contemporary romance/women’s fiction from Western authors (which is definitely not urban chicklit, as the media and readers refer to). Some books have much depth if we contemplate. I guess I think like Kristin Hannah when it comes to the term ‘Love Story’. It simply doesn’t have to be a romantic love between the opposite sex, but better still, I believe, a story that brings out the love between siblings, mother and daughter, father and son, and simply true friends – all that are love stories. And the best of the kind. Contemporary Romance is rather the name of a genre, just to classify the book I’m writing, and Kristin Hannah’s books really inspire me into writing plots that are about relationships between all kinds of human beings instead of just a man and a woman. And the author Cecilia Ahern inspired me with the fact that she became a best-selling author at 21 years with her debut book P.S. I Love You. Absolute emotional treadmill for a debut from a young author, that one!

Is there any one book that changed your life around?

I wouldn’t say that one single book changed my life around, as if I just woke up into a new life. But there’s one book that truly changed my attitude. My attitude is not what’s important there. To whom is what’s important. My attitude to my mother changed after reading Kristin Hannah’s novel Summer Island. It is her best book I have read so far. There wasn’t a single character I could relate to, in that book. And not even a situation. But the feeling, the emotion was something I knew. It’s the only book I cared to write a review in my blog. To any girl who thinks that they have some problem with her mother, I say, read Summer Island. Read into it, not just the story. What touched me most was the truth that our mothers know things about us that we can’t ever remember. But still we shout at them, “You don’t understand, you don’t know me.” I still have tough times but in a negligible amount. Many things have added to the change, but this book  lay the foundation to the change.

 Why do you write in the genre you currently write?

It’s probably because that’s what I’m best at. (Chuckles).
Poetry happens to be only one of the genres I’m writing in. It’s not written having a genre in mind or for even a book. But when there are many, I think of compiling them and giving it a shot together.
In fiction writing, I will be concentrating in contemporary romance/women’s fiction which has minimal mention of modern gadgets like the Internet and Laptops, etc. (I’m a medical student, not an IITian. LOL.) and more human moments than artificial. I wouldn’t say that things like those happening in my novel could happen in real life. But bits and pieces could. The emotions could. And the needs.

There is a lot this genre can do, if written well. Somehow the lessons I learnt from my relationship with my mother – those things I have experienced and have not, and those things I can only imagine happening (to my characters) – these get instilled into my writing. My focus is on how the family background of a child shapes up the person he/she is, will be and could be. Reformations and changes start at home. Certainty in life and fears – these are instilled in a person from home. From his/her parent/guardian’s actions, ways and absence or presence and family situations. What I write are not snapshots from my life, but I bend to and view from every angle possible from the vertex that’s me, to see a story between every two characters that pop up in my mind. I had plans to experiment in psychological fiction genre, too, but it’s another long way from where I am. Maybe I’ll try, when I’m smart enough to.

What have you learnt so far in your journey from finishing manuscript to becoming a published author  ? Any lessons for unpublished authors?

I am a lazy person by nature but fortunately, I’m restless by dreams. Being a published author is easy if you work hard enough. It wasn’t about building up a career. It wasn’t about money. I am a medical student and still dependant on my family. My mother and elder brother gave me much support with the various needs I announced in every step from the writing desk to the bookshelf. It is important to remember that as much as material support, emotional support is essential to keep our dreams intact. And my fiancĂ©’s unrelenting belief in me kept me in my pursuit.

I learnt a lot of things in that journey of eight months. Firstly, it’s just like a gestation period. I carried it for eight months. And when it was finally out, I wasn’t really prepared for it! I felt it was kind of premature. (Eight months is premature for a baby medically, too). But really, absolutely, the joy when you hold it in your hands is worth all the pain. (And yes, the conception of the idea of your dream-book, too, might have been orgasmic.) By the time I got the printed book in my hands, I was too tired and bored even to go through its proof copy and I approved it without really proofing it. I had had to wait till weekends to work on the editing, revising and proofing of my manuscript (I didn’t give it for professional editing since it was poetry that was very personal) and had to spent several late nights on the computer on weekends.  But that fatigue lasts only so long.

Another thing I learnt in the journey is how to write a good book proposal. And some technical works. And how to write well and truthfully and still get readers...
And why to dream.

So, there is something I have to tell the aspiring writers, which still includes me and those who dream to be published. Something from my first speech as an author:
Dreams are just a step away from being true – and the step is just a matter of holding on to them and trying.

Easily said than done, people laugh at that.
It’s hard, true. But easier than letting go of your dreams, I laugh back.

Tell us about your next project ?

My next project is finishing my current project. I know I have been lagging on it, but gladly, I'm back on track. The college and exams that come in between add to the strains of an imaginative mind (winks!).
The novel I'm working on is still a work halfway in progress. The novel titled ‘Amidst Sandcastles’ is set in Goa, a place I have never been to, and most of the story takes place especially at a time I could never have been there – in the mid-90’s and later on in the Goa Medical College. I'm focusing on the human elements of the story than the setting description to save the reader from boredom and save myself from so much research time. But still a friend from Goa, who graduated from GMC is helping me with the setting. It’s a challenge to write this and make no mistake!
However, the novel is going to take some time with all the breaks it’s going through as I take my time to return to writing after every writers’ block of academic etiology.
My second poetry book is ready in the meantime. I'm compiling it for final edits and some glitter and stars.
I intend to publish ‘The Room of Mirrors : Reflections in Words’ in India. That’s a different book when compared to my first poetry collection. But still, I'm in there with all that old love, dreams and tears, but philosophically this time. The book has poems from last year when I was in a complete poetic swing, experimenting new forms and such. There are more than 100 poems in this book.
Further projects are still in notepad stage. So, let’s put them off for another time, shall we? J

I sincerely thank New Indian Writing team for interviewing me for their blog. It has been a pleasure talking to you.


Heslin J said...

Hmm..I know this author for it ws easy for me to go thru it..First of all,let me congratulate u for being compared to balachandran chullikkad.I have also heard his recitings..its nice to hear though i have not listened to any other poets' much..I truly agree with your description about poetry..As Wordsworth has said 'Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of emotions' and since every1 has emotions..and so poetry..While reading a poem..we should look into it's soul.I believe its the same in every other writings and that's why i dont support editing of them unless for grammatical errors.

God bless You!!

Hersh Bhardwaj said...

Thanks Sana, and thanks Heslin for your participation.
I had a chance to read a few of Sana's poems over last few days. I am awaiting to review as per her request( if one can actually review a poetry book,phew!).
I am not sure about your views on editing. Editing is it' s as great if not respected art-form than writing itself. Most great writers have edited their works themselves. Unedited text is called a 'draft' never a finished manuscript.
Wish you luck Sana and Heslin please keep visiting us.

Sana Rose said...

Thanks, Heslin. :) Well, I got more on the interview, some reviews tell me I can still make it better. Still, this is me talking about myself as an aspiring author rather than about my book or an established author. It's just the dawn. :)

@Hersh : The pleasure was mine. It's my first interview on a blog. And I could've made it look professional, but that would be boring. :)) I loved being earnest and put across my simple thoughts and reasons.

Regarding editing, true, I know how many nights I spent on the manuscript. But still, I have found a mistake in one of my poems in the book- basic grammar. It goes unnoticed because of the similar structure of the stanzas. The point is, I probably got bored by the 3rd revision and rushed through the final draft. It wouldn't have been the case, if another person had revised it. :)

Editing is an art. And I guess I'm an editor as much as I'm a poet/writer. The errors in grammar and spelling do make me itch. But there's another element to a piece of work- the what-could-make-it-better element, that eats you up. A good editor knows it all.
In poetry, it's important that the essence of it isn't lost while editing, and that makes it tough. And I didn't give it out for editing because I knew I could make it better if I tried, and I had been collecting feedbacks from international poets. Editing and proofing is real hard work. It's not just the spelling and grammar errors that jump out at you from a page. It's the whole constitution of a work that includes a lot of elements. I have read novels that really could use some better way of narration or expressions though they are published after professional editing.

I'm glad you got to read some of my poems. The book, I'll try to send it but the poems are mostly of the kid I was, rather than the woman I'm now. So it does worry me a bit. :) And reviewing a poetry book would be like slicing the poet's soul and it would only make you wonder more! But I happen to be very explanatory in my poems, too.