• Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Interview with Author Sujatha Rao

ByThe Rise Insight

Jun 6, 2024

I Wish & I Will
by Sujatha Rao
ISBN: 9789356738607
Publisher: Evincepub Publishing

About Sujatha Rao’s Book:

About the Book
“I Wish & I Will” by Sujatha Rao explores the power of wishes and dreams through a series of heartfelt stories. The book introduces us to various characters on their journeys to fulfill their deepest desires: a father who finds a way to achieve victory even after his death, a mother whose unwavering faith brings her wish to life, and a man who finds peace and purpose despite an unfulfilled wish. These stories remind us of the joy and heartache that come with wishing, and the profound impact of turning a wish into a will.

About the Author
Sujatha Rao’s debut book, “In the Company of Stories,” a collection of 52 positive short stories, was published in 2022. Two of her stories placed third in the Times of India’s Write India Contest and were featured in their anthologies. Her writings have appeared in several notable publications, including “The Hindu Business Line,” “The New Indian Express,” “The Hindu,” “Woman’s Era,” “Femina,” “Reader’s Digest,” “Yoga & Total Health,” and “Life Positive.” After a career in banking, Rao now resides in Hyderabad, India.

Congratulations !

The Rise Insight: Can you share a personal experience or inspiration that led you to explore the theme of wishes and their impact on human life in your book “I Wish & I Will”?

I think wishes are very powerful. I had tried my hand at writing a novella in Telugu language as a 14 year old girl. I dreamed of becoming a published book author since then, and it drove me towards fulfilling that wish after half a century from the time that teenage girl dreamt about it. This was the germination of the seed for writing the book on this particular theme.

The Rise Insight: The text mentions how life often has different plans for us, sometimes leading to unexpected opportunities or introductions to new people. How did you incorporate this idea into the narratives of your book, and what message do you hope readers will take away from it?

There are times, when our wishes or goals do not go as per our plan in life, for whatever reasons. If we look close enough, there could be an alternate path to achieving that wish or desire.  Many a time, things that don’t go as per plan are more formative than the things that do.  We tend to become inventive in the face of adversity. We discover that if we can’t go through, maybe we can go around or hop over.

That’s why having a plan B helps.  In the concluding story of the book, this is what the protagonist tries to highlight. As his life story reveals, even after the most devastating of events, it is possible to grow by finding deeper meaning and purpose in life. In his case, the plan B turned out to be an equally fulfilling and satisfying path to take.  

Like the book Option B of Sheryl Sandberg emphasizes, resilience comes from deep within us and from support outside us.

I think many of the messages of the book, such as building resilience in the face of adversity, having hope even when there doesn’t seem to be any, building meaningful relationships with family members, using stories to connect with people across generations are some of the take away messages that I hope the readers get from the book.

The Rise Insight: Your book employs a framed narrative technique, creating a universe within the overarching story. Could you elaborate on how you developed this technique and its significance in conveying the themes of hope, determination, and wish fulfilment to your readers?

My first book was an anthology of short stories titled ‘In the Company of Stories’. So I was toying with the idea of doing something different with this book. During one of my discussions with my daughter, this particular format of creating a universe of different stories within an overarching single theme took shape, and she encouraged me to pursue it.

I think its significance lies in conveying the theme that stories can be powerful tools in driving people towards transformative change.

The Rise Insight: “I Wish & I Will” explores themes of strength and adversity, particularly in relation to the transformative power of wishes. Can you discuss how you portrayed these themes through the characters’ experiences, particularly in the face of challenges like death and hardship?

I believe adversities, more than the advantages, shape us into who we are. However, we human beings tend to view death as a very scary topic, though it is as real and final as birth is.  We often tend to conveniently forget the fact that we are mortal.  We avoid talking about death and hence acceptance of it becomes extremely difficult, especially for adolescents.

In this book, the topic of death is dealt with in many stories, albeit in different contexts, so that it helps the readers to view it as a natural process. It was the part of the design I was working with for the book, perhaps at the risk of putting off a certain category of people, by dealing with the subject so openly and so frequently.

The Rise Insight: Empathy and resilience are central to the storytelling in your book. How did you approach infusing empathy into your characters’ journeys, and what role do you believe empathy plays in connecting readers to the narrative?

I think I have been fortunate in life to have been exposed to varied experiences and diverse groups of people, which enabled me to handle the characters in my book with greater empathy.  The fact that multiple people have gotten back to me saying the stories moved them to tears is validation about how the characters resonate with the readers.

The Rise Insight: The book’s final thoughts highlight the potential within each of us to transform wishes into resolute actions. Could you share any insights or personal reflections on this idea, and how you envision your book inspiring readers to pursue their dreams with unwavering determination?

On a personal note, writing happens to be a very personal and emotional subject for me, because it has been a dream that has been constantly with me over the years. It has seen me through a lot of difficult times and helped me navigate my life better.

The book is my attempt to encourage the readers to follow their hearts and pursue their dreams. There are times we might have to follow a different path for financial or other reasons. But it pays not to give up on our dreams, because it gives purpose to our lives and buffers us from the melancholia, or the sufferings that are inherent to our human condition. 

In my own life, I got back to realizing my dream of writing books only post my retirement and I find it extremely gratifying to be able to do so.

The Rise Insight: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Yes. I read my book reviews and am grateful to find that most of the reviews have been positive. I would like to take both the good and bad in my stride and view them as an opportunity to improve myself.

The Rise Insight: If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

That’s an interesting question. I think I would start reading the classics in English literature much earlier than I did, as it would have helped me cover the distance much faster.  In fact, I was quite hesitant to read books written in the English language, as I was educated in Telugu medium.  It was only through the nudging of my elder brother that I started to read books written in English.

From the vantage point of where I stand today, I would have liked to start writing way earlier too. I think I wasted a lot of time procrastinating due to self-doubt.  One doesn’t learn to be a better swimmer by watching swimmers from the safety of the shore.  One has to jump into the waters and start learning by swimming. I believe the same is true for many things in life, including writing.

All the very best with the book Sujatha.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to interview me.

To buy this book : Amazon Link

By The Rise Insight

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