Eighteen-year-old Bangalore girl writes her debut novel
Tiger by the Tale, is a story set in the pre-independence India written by Lakshmi Prathivadi. It is a saga of a broken family and the journey of a patriotic teenager
Four shots rang out in the silent darkness – one, two, three... and four. Four lives were taken in a moment. This is witnessed by three children in extreme horror. Sounds like an opening scene from a thriller flick? Then hold your horses, this is the plot of a novel ‘Tiger by the Tale’ authored by Bangalore based girl Lakshmi Prathivadi. The story draws from her childhood experience in India, before she moved to the US when she was eight. “I have been visiting Bangalore every year. It has, is, and will always be my home,” says the eighteen year old author. Below are the excerpts from the interview.
How did writing happen to you? How does it feel to author a book at such a young age?
My parents encouraged me to read books, newspapers, magazines just about anything at a very young age. I began writing in my fourth grade and eventually started experimenting with short stories and submitted them to local competitions, which won me prizes. It was in high school, I finally accepted the challenge of writing a novel. I feel very excited to be an author at such a young age because it throws opens a lot of opportunities. Having started off with a historical topic it’s filled me with immense confidence to plunge into any topic in the future. I am really excited at the prospect of exploring different settings and unique characters for my next novel.
This book is about a historic event, whereas most people of your age would end up writing a romantic flick! What inspired you to choose this topic?
I think age doesn’t steer you towards a certain topic. I just wanted to start off with something that was a part of me and part of everyone at the same time. My interest has always been in Indian history and so many things inspired me. First of all, I read many textbooks and books related to historical fiction when I was young.
Two particular eras that attracted me were the Mughal era and the British Raj presence in India. Two summers ago (2009), I visited many historical sites in India and was inspired by the cultural depth these places have.
What are the other topics you would want to write on?
Definitely, in the future, I would like to explore different genres such as contemporary Indian fiction, fantasy, etc. Other specific topics include the NRI lifestyle and the migration of Indians to other countries.
Share some anecdotes while writing this book?
While writing this book, I started off with an outline. I left it for a few weeks, not sure if I should go ahead with it. My family did not know about it yet and one day, I finally showed it to my parents and brother. They were really excited and encouraged me so much that I immediately knew that this was something I had to do. I started writing. Along the way, I included many characters and at one point, I even changed the ending!
How has writing changed you as a person?
Writing has changed me as a person because I have become more aware of my surroundings and the people I meet. After finishing this story, I have realized that each person, place, and thing holds a story.
What inspires you when you write?
When I write, my inspiration is just my outline. I started off my novel with a finished outline and since I knew where I was going with my novel, I knew that it could be completed. This was my inspiration: a completed storyline. As I finished writing each chapter, I gave it to my parents and my brother for feedback and gained both positive and negative feedback. Their reviews and comments greatly inspired me to continue on.
What are your future plans?
My future plans include attending Stanford University this September. I plan on pursuing Biochemistry as a major and Creative Writing as a minor. I would like to become both a research scientist and an author. I would also like to write many more books in the future and focus on different settings, characters, social messages, and themes.
What is your advice to other young writers?
From what I have learned, the only advice I could give other young writers is to never give up your passion because you lack experience. Do not be afraid to be unique and to try new things. Be different and move away from the stereotypes.