After working for 20 years as a journalist in various news organizations, Kavita Kane took a leap of faith and steered her career towards a new direction. After her debut book The Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen got a positive response, Kavita Kane decided to pursue her passion for writing as a full-time author. Since then, she has written and published six books and is almost done with her next. We caught up with the Sita’s Sister‘s author, and here’s the excerpt from the conversation.
Your career started off as a Journalist. What inspired you to switch to being an author?
Frankly, wanted to try my hand at fiction writing! I thought I would write one book and that’s it!
Were there any hesitations when you launched your first book, The Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen?
Not at all! As I said I wrote it on a whim, but its surprise success gave me the courage to pen down another book.
Can you tell us a little about your childhood? What kind of literary influences did you have growing up?
Our house was filled with books spilling everywhere from sofas, beds, bathrooms as well as an in-house library of around 10000 books! If you didn’t read, you were considered a freak! But seriously, I was exposed to all genres, all writers starting from Russian folk tales. Amar Chitra Kathas were another huge favourites forming a sound foundation on the tales from our ancient texts. There were no writers on my family, all avid, mad bookworms who bartered books, not chocolates!
Mythological stories have been a part of most of our childhood, but the way you look at mythological stories is different. What made Kavita Kane take notice of the lesser-known female character of these epics?
Exactly because of that – we don’t see mythology through the women’s eyes. Besides Draupadi and Sita, we barely register a dominant woman character, although the epics are populated with a vast range of female characters. All these characters are fascinating but not as familiar to the readers as the men in our mythology. Mythology was written by men, told and retold by men and hence we essentially see it through the male perspective and largely the male characters.
What are the challenges of writing mythological-fictions? How do you keep it interesting for the readers while sticking to the facts?
The primary challenge is balancing between fact and fiction. I write on marginalised characters, on whom there is not much matter and I draw them out essentially through the major characters and events revolving around them, spinning a story around them but the spin tale has to be believable, rational and logical to the original character. I can’t corrupt it beyond recognition. The best way to keep the readers riveted is to tell or rather retell them a story with a fresh perspective.
You’ve spent your childhood in cities like Patna, Delhi, and Pune, what about these cities do you like the most?
I love each of them for clearly different reasons, but Patna and Delhi I recall with a certain nostalgic fondness. Pune is my soul city. I have to keep returning to it.
What are some of the must-read books on your list? And your favourite author?
No one in particular as it’s rather unfair on authors and their work. But yes a P. G. Wodehouse book is a constant at my bedside table – my stress buster.
After writing six books, has your thinking process changed or evolved?
It has to, it should or I shan’t evolve as a writer and as a person too. It’s my way of searching and discovering too.
Other than writing and reading books, what else do you enjoy?
Cinema and theatre! I am quite a lazy person – almost inert where physical activity is concerned!
Are you already working on your next book? Can you give a little sneak peek regarding the subject?
Yes, it’s almost done. No spoiler alerts but again, it’s about another fascinating woman.
Tell us about your favourite places you have lived. What were your go-to places to grab a book? Any Book store or library of choice?
Any bookstore! I especially love the local bookshops of any new place I visit. They have a certain personality that’s irresistibly charming.
For people visiting your town, what kind of spots you’ll suggest to them to visit? Any local secret you could spill?
Pune is full of tiny surprises be it food or the historical nuggets buried in the buzzing narrow lanes. There’s a lot to see and loads to eat! An open secret that Pune is a place people are smitten at first sight.
If Mythology is the genre of your choice, then check out books by Kavita Kane.