Manreet Sodhi Someshwar trained as an engineer, graduated from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and worked in marketing, advertising and consulting. An award-winning writer (Commonwealth Broadcasting Association), and copywriter (Creative Abbey), she is a popular blogger as well.
Her debut novel, Earning the Laundry Stripes was released in 2006 to critical acclaim. Her second novel, The Long Walk Home, published in 2009, has garnered critical acclaim and hit several bestseller lists in India. For more information, do visit http://www.manreetsodhisomeshwar.com/.
In The Taj Conspiracy published by Westland Books Mughal scholar Mehrunisa Khosa stumbles on a conspiracy to destroy the Taj Mahal when she discovers the murder of the Taj supervisor, and the Quranic calligraph on the tomb of Queen Mumtaz altered to suggest a Hindu origin of the Taj Mahal. That urban legend had always existed. Now, though, someone was conspiring to make it come true. In the case of the famed marble monument, all was not on the surface. A vast labyrinth ran underneath closed to visitors where Mehrunisa was trapped once. In a series of suspenseful twists and turns, the action traverses from the serene splendour of Taj Mahal to the virulent warrens of Taj Ganj, from intrigue laden corridors of Delhi to snowy Himalayan hideouts. Watch the trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9vOhDgpueQ
• Soaring into heaven moment
I was in the midst of my first book, The Long Walk Home, which was published second because it took me seven years to write. In my naiveté I had taken on the task of tackling the turbulent 20th-century history of Punjab, from pre-partition to present, in what was my first stab at writing – yes, to be young and foolish… So there I was, two years and several drafts later, hopelessly enmeshed in the tangled skeins of a 100-year narrative, flailing for a way out when one evening it all became abundantly clear. Nothing had changed and yet a path opened up and my mind saw it clearly – I knew then how I’d make the multiple skeins work.
It was a soaring uplifting moment because it taught me that the only way to write was to lose myself in the material, to trust my meandering self and continue diving in, for a point would come when the underlying patterns would reveal themselves.
• That infernal fire time
That very first draft when some days words can feel like coal that has to be hauled onto the computer screen, and others when they fly off the keyboard and dance with the cursor – the roller coaster sure knocks the wind out with alarming regularity.
• The purgatory point
Between books, I guess. When it almost seems like I am pretending at being a writer.
• The writing process
Is long, for me. I am a slow writer, I lose myself in research – which I find almost as rewarding as writing. There is no average for me since each book is so different from the other. My first, The Long Walk Home, took me 7 years and as many drafts; Earning the Laundry Stripes took 2 years and 2 drafts; The Taj Conspiracy has taken 5 years and multiple drafts.
And no, I wouldn’t change anything – I write to challenge myself and each book has to hold my interest and sustain me as I write, otherwise, why do it?
• Fear the most?
Running out of ideas to write about
• Desire the most?
To be able. one day, to write a book as exquisite as ‘Of Mice and Men’ or ‘Who Killed Palomino Molero?’
• Hate the most?
Lazy readers, who don’t want language to challenge them. Clueless critics who equate literary criticism with carping.