Interview with Neha Sinha – Author of Wild and Wilful Book that describes love towards Wildlife Species

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I am a Delhi girl who was born and brought up in Delhi. I completed my schooling and graduated from here. I am very passionate about my city that’s why I mentioned it in my book ‘Wild & Wilful’ as well. I used to be a journalist and covered various things including development and the environment. My first love is animals and I always wanted to do something for their sake and nature’s conservation. After a few years in journalism, I decided to quit and went on to study Conservation Biology at Oxford University. I came back and started working in Conservation. My book is about my 12 years of working experience in the same and as a citizen of India. I define myself as Nature and Animal Lover. I’ve tried to make people fall in love with animals through my book. I talked about 15 wild species in this book. I hope people will start liking them a bit more because of my book.

Wild and Wilful illustrate the stories of India’s wildlife species that highlight the cruelty which is inflicted upon them through society? How did you come up with this idea?

We have a lot of books about people, politics and other things, but not on animals and wildlife species particularly. They’re so fierce, wild and we can’t control their behavior. I feel like they need to be heard and understood. My book has different chapters of different animals like Leopards, Cobra, Zebra, Crocodiles, and many more wild animals. As you know we all live together and share a community, humans need to interact with animals to establish a better understanding and a secure environment so that we can appreciate them and chalk out a plan for better living with humans. This book is a compilation of all emotions which need to be considered for making healthy relationships. As a reader, I prefer to read various theme-based books. Books based on nature and animals are more scientific and tedious. I wanted to write something more entertaining, popular and interesting which attracts readers to like animals more.

When did you decide that you wanted to become a Conservation Biologist?

In the year 2009, when I was working as a journalist, I covered a lot of stories related to the environment. I realized that all of my covered stories depict negativity like animals being poached, pollution, and contaminated environment. I wanted to explore the positive side of wildlife. That’s why I chose to study conservation science. 

Your book has both common and endangered species, those you see outside the window and those who have to travel far to see. What is the reason behind this selection?

It’s important to value all animals whether they are common and endangered species. We see a lot of common animals around us. Like birds like crows, pigeons, dogs, and many more. A day will come that we won’t be able to see them. We need to talk about both species to whom people feel more connected. Endangered species need more help but common species also deserve attention.

Why did you choose HarperCollins Publishers India as your publisher?

I choose them and they choose me. They came up to me and said will you write a book? I said yes and wrote a book. They are good publishers and didn’t even interfere in my work. They gave me creative space and accepted all my ideas. Basically, a publisher wanted a wildlife book and approached me.

Which is your favorite wildlife species and why?

It is a difficult question but I like leopards a lot as it’s hard to see a leopard and they’re very secretive in nature. They are the most misunderstood animal as well. People hate leopards for no reason. I like elephants too. It feels so great to see them as they work in the family system. Every family member takes care of younger ones and is raised with their mothers. Even when they die, mothers carry them wherever they go. They are wonderful and spiritual. There are more animals I like but I can’t choose any specific ones. 

Your book contains tales of 15 iconic Indian species. How much time did you spend researching and writing as well?

 I researched for 10 years and gained experience over time. Ten years ago, I didn’t know I was going to write a book. This includes my travel experience, research notes, and many other things. It is a 10 years old book. I wrote it for one year at the time of the pandemic, started writing at the end of 2019, and completed it in 2020.

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