Sunday, November 23, 2014

In Conversation with Ashwati Menon :)

Ashwati Menon, though is a native from Kerala, is born and brought up in Gujarat. Writing came early in life and started writing at young age of 8 years. The journey began with short poems and hence on, it has been an upward climb towards trying new style of writing. Currently, she is working in IT Software Company as a Project Manager and has three years of work experience. Education included a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Computers. Her favorite hobbies include reading, dancing and playing guitar. Also she has published her first novel under the author name “Anita Raghav” titled “Let Me Sleep!” 

Here, she lets her readers know a little more about herself and her journey so far. Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring to you Ashwati Menon: 

1.      Tell us something about your book? 

The book explores the hidden powers a human mind can possess. It is not just our normal day to day things; our mind has extraordinary powers of which we are not aware of and this book tries to explore unraveled parts of mind. 

2.      Why Gargi Publishers? 

I believe it’s more with the faith that you have on the people to whom you give your manuscript to do justice.  The team at Gargi Publications have relentlessly worked to ensure that the story gets to become a book, the book reaches the masses and that people know what the story is about. Their efforts and crisp professionalism is all that was needed for my story. Plus, they are very strict to the kind of stories they pick for publishing. I believe that’s a very important factor. 

3.      What inspired you to write this particular book? 

I was not sure how this book was turning out to be until I wrote the third chapter of it. After the third chapter did I realize the direction of the book and how the story was going to flip in many places.  There was no particular inspiration for writing this book, except for the fact that as I continued writing, I was getting inspired to continue and each chapter in itself was inspiring to write the next. 

4.      What do you think is your biggest strength when it comes to writing? 

Ability to do justice to all characters I believe is an acid test. A writer has to be impassive at times when it comes to marking the view point of all the characters. What might seem a negative necessarily may not be and what seems ethically and morally a wrong thing to do might actually be the right one. Between both the situations, writer has to maintain a balance. The key strength is to give a balanced book to the world. The book should never be a beginner’s guide to biased writing. 

5.      Share some of your interesting memories you lived while writing this book. 

I have a bad habit of repeating dialogs to myself and enacting a scene if it is stuck in my head. I share my apartment with my friends and on one unfortunate event when I was chanting the dialogs; they happened to arrive on spot and were shocked. It was a hard time convincing them that I had not gone mad writing the book. 

6.      If you were to describe your book in one line, what would it be? 

I would describe it as “A light mode Science based book.” I have not heavily used huge and strange scary sounding words. I would not want the readers to be in a stupor after reading it and that they wonder “What just happened!” type of feeling. Science is there but it’s not a science textbook. 

7.      What made you decide on the title? 

The title was just a random stroke of inspiration. I had kept a different title back when I had started writing. Somehow it didn’t go down well with me. Later, during my midnight meanderings on the streets, the title came to me – it jumped at me and Scarred for Life, Healed Forever was born. 

8.      What is your least favorite part of the writing process? 

The blank scenario – when you get a block. It is like a fish out of fish bowl condition. You know you have to move forward and yet you cannot. It happens a lot and is terrible to live with. 

9.      What’s the earliest memory you have of writing a story? 

I believe upper primary in school was the time when I started writing stories and though it began with story writing as part of English subject essays that was one part where I spent several dedicated hours and complete it with flourish. Soon, vacations would be the times when I would work on small sized story writing. Writing for me was more of self-satisfaction than anything else in the world. 

10.  What genre do you particularly like? 

There is no particular genre. As long as I feel inspired to write and complete the plot, all genres are my favorites. 

11.  What are some things you like to do when you’re not writing? 

I love my guitar. Even as I get too much tired of writing my book, Guitar is a fantastic unwinding factor. I even like to shake a leg or two; it’s good physical exercise after sitting too long in a position. Else of course, a good book makes up for everything else. 

12.  How do you feel when someone disagrees with something you have written? 

I like to take it on to an intellectual and logical level as to why the disagreement happened and what are the possible agreeable answers to it all. If it doesn’t go well with me I try not to stretch further lest discussions change course of wind. Perspectives help to know people better but it will be incorrect to be judgmental of people based on it. 

13.  What’s the biggest mistake new writers make according to you? 

I think beginning to write without understanding a style or a form, is a common mistake any young writer can do. Of course, initially it might sound goofy and non-understandable. But that is where the true ability comes; a young writer should read a lot if they want to work on one plot. Guidance goes a long way. 

14.  Was it difficult to get this book published? Or Gargi Publishers were the first one you approached? 

No, it wasn’t difficult. I had a serious discussion with them regarding the theme of the book and how it might be a new concept for people to digest. But they were ready to do it, try something different and thereby it has been a steady journey from a raw manuscript to a full book. 

15.  Tell us something about your future projects. 

At the moment, there are no ideas for future projects as I am planning to take a short break from writing. I need to replenish my vocabulary stores and then again may be in four to five months. I am not sure what will be the theme next time. The theme is something over which I have no control. 

16.  Lastly, is there a message you would like to convey your readers? 

I would like to let them know that please try and read classics and vintage stories. Not that all of them would be easy to figure out in first go, but yes, you get to read some real genuine stories and the way they describe and narrate story; there is a lot to learn when you refer through the good books of English literature.
Author can be contacted at: 

Email Id:

Pre-order link for Scarred for Life, Healed Forever:


The story begins in the peaceful streets of Ahmedabad and occasionally travels down the memory lane of Nishtha as she remembers her life in Australia when she had gone as an exchange student. The fateful Tsunami rips off Australia and Nishtha loses all her friends and her yet-to-be-started love life. Back to where she belongs, Nishtha finds it difficult to adjust to living itself after undergoing treatment for almost a year. She soon finds that her mind is still in hyper active state and that she gets strange sensations and feelings before any calamity or near-death situation is going to happen in a gruesome way.

Nishtha wants to know why it is happening but before that she has to put her ghosts to rest. But will she be able to do so? What can give her peace? Is there a rational and a scientific explanation to what’s wrong with her? Will she ever be able to get back to the normal Gujarat life that she had lived or is the nightmare going to haunt her forever?