Leela Gour Broome completely impressed me with her very first book - Flute In The Forest (reviewed here) and it was a dream come true when she contacted me after having read the review of the book here.
She gladly accepted the offer to be interviewed so that the readers get to know more about her and her experience of being an author.
- Is the story of 'Flute in the Forest' purely fictional or is it inspired by some real life characters, incidents or experiences?
Flute in the Forest is purely fictional. It has however been inspired by my years living on the tea estates, and several trips through the forests of South India with my own family as well as with friends, over the past 35 years.
- What all research did you do to write a story which has detailed account of forest, animals, lifestyles and customs of some tribes inhabiting that area?
- How has been your journey of being an author so far? What has been the most satisfying part of the experience of writing?
- You mentioned that you live on a farm. How significantly that environment inspires you in giving words to your thoughts?
- I read that you have written three books and 'Flute in the Forest' is one of them. When are you planning to get the other two books published? What are those books based on?
- What kind of story would you want to write next and for which age group?
- Who is your favourite among the Indian authors writing children's literature?
- Could you please share your experience of the process of getting the written work published? How easy/difficult is this process. Which kind of books do you find missing in the children's category in India?
With years of experience in forest areas I had little need to do any further research about the forest I wrote about, its flora and fauna. The lifestyles and customs of tribes in most Indian forest areas will be similar, give and take their eating/ living habits, as a lot depends on the vegetation there.
The 'journey' as an author has been wonderful. Firstly, a lifelong dream has been achieved, it was my ambition to write since I was barely 15 years old, time and family constraints made the delay, but it was always at the back of my mind. The most satisfying part of the experience has been seeing my first book finally in print. Of course, learning about the entire publishing business has been an eye opener as well.
Living on our farm , and running our nature and environment camps for 16 years nurtured my understanding of YA 12+ generation, their way of thought, and I pretty soon realized there was an enormous dearth of books relevant to this age group.
I have written 3 books, but the Flute story was the first to be edited by me over and over again, till I was happy I could not do any more to the story, and certain it would find itself a publisher! (It did!) The second book I have completed two months ago, and its in the process of being read through by editors of a publishing house. And the third needs a lot of changes made to it, as I'm not satisfied with it at the present moment.....
There are other stories I plan to write but would like to stay with the YA 12+ generation.
All my stories will deal with life and times in India, as I'm most familiar with this country, having lived here my entire life. We have such diversity here, nothing on earth can give an author such a massive choice of subjects, lifestyles, communities, religions, events, thought processes!
I used to read Manjula Padmanabhan, but of late prefer American and writers from the UK, of whom there are many. I do NOT much care for science fiction, or books on magic, magicians, etc.
My experience with getting my book published was long, and quite painful. Many many rejections, much editing, many more rejections, not enough email addresses to choose from, and many Publishers not finding YA lucrative enough to make one story go far!! Today's writers haven't much clue about either the market or the target they're writing for, and the usual money spinner seems to be illustrated books for the very young, so this age group is I feel totally neglected. We certainly need a larger number of YA authors here.