Saranya Umakanthan opens up to The Financial Express Online’s Swapna Raghu Sanand in an exclusive interaction .
Ever heard of a lockdown bestseller that readers could instantly feel an emotional connect with? A novel inspired by real incidents, Saranya Umakanthan’s ‘One Day Life will Change’ is already a bestseller. That the book has been an instant hit with readers is a fact that Fingerprint! Publishing has confirmed. Saranya Umakanthan is a software engineer whose love for coding is as deep as her passion for writing, and in her own words, “Both are different forms of creativity,” and having explored the genre of romance, she feels strongly that she has found her forte.
“Writing has become an obsession to me now. I want to be a full-time writer someday,” Saranya Umakanthan says, in this exclusive interaction with The Financial Express Online’s Swapna Raghu Sanand.
Q1. Having been a university topper twice and now a software engineer by profession, how did you venture into the world of writing and churn out a best seller that too during the lockdown?
Tell us more about this fascinating journey into the world of writing.
I love both coding as well as writing. But with a full-day software job, I struggle to find the all-elusive golden commodity – ‘time’ to fill in my passion for writing. I started writing articles, poems, and short stories when I was at school.
As I grew up, the idea of seeing my writing into a printed book, oozing the fragrance of paper prompted me to write my first novel, which came out in the year 2016. I began penning fantasies but with ‘One day, Life will change,’ I have explored the genre of inspiring romance and found my forte here.
The lockdown helped this book immensely in becoming a bestseller. People gave more time to books and showed interest in a story that exuded positive vibes in this difficult phase of time.
They connected well with the title – “One day, life will change.” With the pandemic dominating us, people are waiting for that day to see the change.
Q2. What drove you to write this book?
When I had deep conversations with my female friends, many confessed that they had lost their dreams after their marriage. A few were swamped with the struggles of life, lost amidst the adversities. Instead of fighting back, they had given in to it. Being a woman, the daunting question that taunted me was – “Is it not possible for a woman to stick to her dreams after marriage when she has other commitments and responsibilities?”
When I mulled over, I got my answer – a resounding “Yes”. And that pushed me to begin my novel titled “One day, life will change.”
Q3. Are there personal observations and experiences of others that made their way into your book?
It was inspired by a lot of real-life incidents – experiences of different women. I made a story connecting the dots, to show the readers that – yeah, you can bounce back even if life keeps tossing repeated failures at you.
Q4. How do you think social media has affected Indian couples – their happiness and professional success?
There are two sides to social media. When we see the perfect lovey-dovey pictures posted by others on social media, we believe that the grass is greener on the other side and long for what we don’t have instead of appreciating what we have.
This happens with most people and that adds to the relationship pressure of the Indian couples. We easily fall prey to the glitz and glamour of social media and don’t realize that everything is not what it seems to be. No relationship is perfect.
Being humans, we have our own flaws. The happy couples are the ones who work at making their relationship perfect, understanding each other. That is personal success.
On the other side of the coin, social media has its good side as well. It gives us a lot of exposure which is mandatory for our professional success.
Q5. As a writer, what are your observations on the coronavirus pandemic? And what has its biggest takeaway been for you?
I want to carry forward the positive side of this pandemic. I believe that it has brought people closer and given us quality time to spend with our family. It has given a chance for us to slow down the pace of our lives and retrospect on what we really want to do. Being a writer, to me this pandemic has given ample time to complete my next novel.
Q6. What were your favourite parts about writing about the key protagonist in this book and what were the most challenging parts?
My favourite part was the challenging part. The ending.
Portraying Samaira’s emotions, her music and love when she sings for the title was tough, though I loved writing that scene. I wanted the readers to connect with her and cry tears of joy, when she sees Vivian from the stage. I wanted to take my readers through the emotional journey of the couple.
Q7. What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I will keep telling this to all the aspiring authors.
Writing is a habit and the term ‘Writer’s block’ is just a myth that doesn’t exist. Keep writing and don’t give that as an excuse.
Procrastination kills the flow of writing. Experiment with genres.
Find out what you are good at. Pen down the words from your heart. Picturize the scenes in your mind. Feel the emotions when you write, and it will be reflected in your words. This will help in creating your masterpiece.
Q8. What are the reactions you have gotten so far with regard to your book?
And what is your key takeaway from it?
The response is awesome, and I am absolutely thrilled! Many people have written to me after reading the book with great reviews. To my surprise, most of them are first-time readers. The positivity of the story had tempted them to read it in the first place. As an author, I am delighted that my book has introduced them to the wonderful world of reading.
My takeaway from this book would be my new base of readers with this genre.
Q 9. Based on the premise of your book, what external factors, in your opinion, can help Indian couples fulfil their personal and professional milestones seamlessly?
I believe that rather than relying on the external factors, a couple must first and foremost support each other during the difficult times and grow together. This will help them in reaching all the milestones, be it personal or professional.
They need to understand the true meaning of love. It is not about the roses and perfumes they give. Nor bombarding each other with good day messages either. These are sweet nothings to enjoy, but it is an emotion deeper than that.
Love is all about standing for your partner in times of need, guiding them to move ahead when they are broken within and lending a supportive shoulder to lean on when they fall.
Q 10. What’s next for you, writing wise? Also, as a writer, what keeps you awake at night?
My next story is an emotional tale of love, tears, second chance, hope and finding happiness.
As a writer, night times are a blessing to me. My creativity becomes hyper-active during nights aided by the gentle breeze at my balcony. My scribbling pad gets flooded with great ideas for scenes and plots. I convert blank pages to beautiful stories with my laptop during the nights.