This is the world. Half of it is lit by the sun and the other half re­mains in dark­ness. It is the same with life. There is good and bad and it's our duty to re­main in the light, be good.

From Ad­ver­tis­ing to Au­thor, Anita Nair has won many awards and ac­co­lades. A ver­sa­tile writer, she has writ­ten on al­most ev­ery genre. In a can­did con­ver­sa­tion, she shares her jour­ney with Pria

Storizen Magazine - - Front Page - by Pria

Be­ing a writer in crime and mys­tery genre as a woman in In­dia is tough but gives an edge too? Do you agree or dis­agree? Your thoughts.

I am not en­tirely sure it gives me an edge but I re­al­ize that in my own way I have cre­ated a niche for the noir I write. The in­ter­est­ing thing here is that noir is a dark space and it re­quires a cer­tain mind­set to be able to delve into it and cre­ate a book that is edgy. So it is pre­sumed that men will ex­cel in it.

I am not en­tirely sure it gives me an edge but I re­al­ize that in my own way I have cre­ated a niche for

the noir I write.

What mo­ti­vates you to write the books in crime/mys­tery genre? Any life ex­pe­ri­ences or ob­ser­va­tions, etc. Orit’s just an in­ter­est and in­cli­na­tion to­wards it?

I think what prompts me to write crime fic­tion is how it al­lows me to be a so­cial com­men­ta­tor. With lit­er­ary fic­tion, the mind­scape of the char­ac­ters rule and so a lot of weight is given to the craft­ing of char­ac­ters and their thoughts. How­ever, with crime, I am able to point out the so­cial ills that lead to crime. My rea­son for writ­ing crime is to ad­dress the dark­ness that is part of our so­ci­ety; a dark­ness that we seem to be in de­nial about or are un­will­ing to ac­cept as the re­al­ity of our lives.

Your sec­ond book was pub­lished by Pi­cador USA and it was the first book by an In­dian au­thor to be pub­lished by them, Con­grat­u­la­tions! What was your re­ac­tion?

It’s a long time ago. But I do re­mem­ber that I was rather ex­cited at that point.

Any other genre you tried or would like to try in fu­ture apart from your forte?

I think I have pretty much writ­ten in ev­ery genre that I like to read.

I think what prompts me to write crime fic­tion is how it al­lows

me to be a so­cial com­men­ta­tor.

Tell us about your lat­est book, 'Eat­ing Wasps'.

It has been 17 years since Ladies Coupe was pub­lished and I had been want­ing to re­visit the lives of women.

But if Ladies Coupe was about women find­ing their iden­tity, I thought Eat­ing Wasps would be about women pre­serv­ing their iden­tity despite the con­stant chal­lenges they face on nu­mer­ous fronts ev­ery­day be it pa­tri­archy, misog­yny, the male gaze or even the allper­va­sive touch of tech­nol­ogy. But I also wanted to fo­cus on the chal­lenges a woman faces from within her­self espe­cially as the world we live in to­day cease­lessly drums in tropes on how a woman may be or may not be. Many streams of thought were run­ning par­al­lel in my head. I needed a thread to con­nect the mul­ti­ple sto­ries. I wanted an in­vis­i­ble nar­ra­tor. And yet, I also wanted the nar­ra­tor to be the pro­tag­o­nist. And that’s when I re­mem­bered the story of this writer Ra­jalak­shmi from Ker­ala who killed her­self in 1965. To this day no one knows why she did it. I took a cue from that and turned my pro­tag­o­nist and nar­ra­tor into a writer and a ghost who is con­demned to live even af­ter she is dead.

It has been 17 years since Ladies Coupe was pub­lished and I had been want­ing to re­visit the lives of

women.

What are your fu­ture plans with the books? Tell us about your books on In­spec­tor Gowda. Is there any real liv­ing per­son from whom this char­ac­ter is born?

I have the next In­spec­tor Gowda novel in my head. But it is in a neb­u­lous form. He isn’t based on any real per­son. I of­ten think of him as my al­ter ego, some­body who does all the things that I wish I could do. I ac­tu­ally am liv­ing vi­car­i­ously through this char­ac­ter. My re­al­life ex­pe­ri­ences with po­lice­men have been very limited. I have met and in­ter­acted with sev­eral se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers and po­lice­men from the ranks as well. Most of them im­pressed me im­mensely and in all hon­esty, a few of them made me want to laugh at their pom­pos­ity and a few oth­ers I wanted to kick for their churl­ish­ness. When I was build­ing In­spec­tor Gowda’s psy­che, I knew for cer­tain that all cops didn’t have to be the boor­ish crea­tures they are made out to be. Some of them are won­der­ful hu­man be­ings and work tire­lessly to make things right, and I was cer­tain Gowda would be one of them.

Nowa­days, crime/mys­tery/thrillers are tak­ing over other gen­res. They are highly un­pre­dictable, in­trigu­ing and makes the reader crave for more. What's your take?

Crime fic­tion is still in its pri­mary stage in In­dia. It will go global when the char­ac­ters and is­sues writ­ten about start hav­ing greater di­men­sions than just the usual run-of-the-mill crime pro­ce­dural and puz­zle solv­ing.

Tell us about the things you love in your books? Char­ac­ters, set­ting/plot etc.

I think my books will al­ways be char­ac­ter driven. What makes them tick and how char­ac­ters re­act to dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions.

You have also writ­ten trav­el­ogues. Which des­ti­na­tion is your most fa­vorite one? Please elab­o­rate on what you liked/dis­liked?

My favourite des­ti­na­tion will al­ways be Italy out­side In­dia. The food, the wines, the land­scape bathed in that golden light, the art and ar­chi­tec­ture and the gelato al­ways fill me with a great sense of well be­ing. Kandaghat in Hi­machal Pradesh is my favourite moun­tain travel des­ti­na­tion within In­dia. I first went there two years ago and went back again last Novem­ber, and was awed by the pris­tine beauty and un­tamed na­ture of the place.

Crime fic­tion is still in its pri­mary stage in In­dia.

Who is your big­gest critic? Apart from all the best-sell­ing num­bers, ac­co­lades, in­ter­views and fame, what makes YOU feel suc­cess­ful as a writer?

I think I am my own big­gest critic. What makes me feel suc­cess­ful as a writer is when I am able to strike a chord with a reader. No mat­ter how of­ten that hap­pens, it makes me feel val­i­dated as a writer.

As an au­thor, what mes­sage you would like to share with the bud­ding writ­ers.

Write hon­estly and write as though your very life de­pended on it.

(As told to Pria) (Visit www.storizen.com for the full cov­er­age!)

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