• Tuesday, July 16, 2024


on Aug 20, 2019
Interview by BookGeeks: After almost a year of research into the Mughal times, this young vivacious author is back with her 3rd novel, “Songs of Stone“, and this one is sure to turn all the heads her way. So we indeed got lucky when we got to interview the charming and talented author Sujata Sabnis.
BookGeeks: Tell us something about Sujata as a person.
Sujata: Who am I? A mixed bag really. Emotional yet pragmatic, zany yet sensible, love my family but equally love my me time. An avid and frequent traveller, a good listener, a quiet observer, a certified drama queen. But also happy-go-lucky and cheerful who loves a giggle and a gossip. I laugh easily and I cry easily. Contradictory you think? That’s me, forever trying to walk a path less trodden.
BookGeeks: Tell us something about your life as a journalist.
Sujata: I remember that day vividly. I was a harried mum of 2 small kids, and hopping mad because of an argument with my husband. What happened next is a massive example of how a good healthy slug out with your spouse can work wonders at times. In a fit of temper, I took out my IIMC certificate in journalism, marched to the Pune Indian Express office, barged in the Editor Mr Prakash Kardaley’s office and demanded a job as a journalist. No one was more stunned than me when he said ok, let’s see how you write! And I was hired as a feature writer for Citizen Magazine. What followed was any number of feature articles and interviews on all things Pune and in which I discovered I love writing. It’s pretty amazing when you finally find your passion and your path and I discovered that in my years as a journalist.
BookGeeks: What inspired you to write your first novel?
Sujata: So how I wrote my first novel? I have always loved reading but never thought I would end up writing novels myself. But while writing feature articles for “IE”, I discovered I was good at thriller stories, I was able to make them gripping and pacy. Still, writing 1000 words article was way different from a full novel right? And then one day I thought of this very cool story plot – a pretty chilling, gripping psychological murder mystery. But would I be able to write it out well? It was a scary thought indeed.And yet, that is the thing with these story ideas, once they come to you, they start overpowering you, egging you on, making you restive till you get down and do something about them. So one fine day, with tonnes of self-doubts, I took the name of Ganesha and took the plunge. And so slowly, bit by bit, over the period of one year, my first novel “Silent whispers” got written.
BookGeeks: Has your education in the field of psychology helped you in your writing?
Sujata: My study of Psychology was obviously a direct inspiration when it came to my first novel, a psychological thriller. But later on, too, a knowledge of psychology does help in better understanding of human nature and vagaries of life. It may give you additional empathy for your characters which does help in adding depth to them.
BookGeeks: How did the idea of a historical fiction based in the 17th century Mughal India came to your mind?
Sujata: I have always been a history buff and have found Mughal period fascinating. But I can’t claim that I chose this topic – rather it chose me via this wonderful, beautiful story that struck me one fine day.  I can’t tell you how terrified I was when I started writing it – this would be the first time I was writing a love story, my earlier two being thrillers. Would I be able to do justice to it? But as I started writing it, something took over, maybe the characters themselves. And they just pulled me along with them, laughing, feeling, plotting, crying, loving. Don’t want to sound stupid, but I LOVE my characters and I love the kind of love they share.
BookGeeks: What all research and ground work you had to do for Songs of Stone?
Sujata: My biggest challenge in writing Songs of Stone was details and authentic details at that. It was imperative that my novel should transport my reader in that era and make it come alive for them. That would be possible only if I could make the novel as detailed as possible. I had to get not just the fashion, the food, the lifestyle right but also the attitude, the ideas, the perspectives of those times.Moreover, my novel dealt with not just Kings and Queens but also the life of the common people.  All this involved a terrific amount of research, reading any number of tomes, making frequent trips to Agra, poring through the archives of The Archaeological Society.  It took me a year to finish this research. Another concern was that the detailing should not slow the pace of the novel so of equal importance was to know what should be left out. And then, of course, there were some delightfully salacious bits of information I came across in my research which I would have LOVED to have included but prudence demanded I should leave out.
BookGeeks: What are your other interests outside of writing?
Sujata: Love reading, am all kinds of buff including history, politics, finance, social issues, poetry. I love travelling and am an ace travel planner. I am crazy about dogs and my absolute pet is my golden retriever Sammy. I also love cooking, dish up all kinds of international cuisines and according to my family and friends I am very good. So see I am modest too.
BookGeeks: Any new book for us to look forward to?
Sujata: I have just finished writing a social drama. And now I am obsessed with a fantasy love story – exciting but scary as hell as I have never written a fantasy story before.
BookGeeks: A few words for your fans.
Sujata: Instead of me giving any words to them I would much rather hear from them! Dear readers I would so love to have your feedback on my novel! If you enjoyed reading Songs of Stone – or even if you didn’t – do email me your thoughts at sujatasabnis@hotmail.com
BookGeeks: Few words for bookGeeks.in
Sujata: I really appreciate the enthusiasm, knowledge and instinct bookGeeks has for good books. Thank you Sankalpita for the love you have given my novel.

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