From our neighboring country down south, emerges an author whose debut novel released in early March last year. Her book, Sorrow That You Keep is more of a novella, but it took her a long time to formulate the plot. Sri Lankan author Ruvindra Sathsarani, who is a writer of fiction and poetry, is also quite a shy one, as she explains in this interview with Writers Melon.
About Ruvindra Sathsarani, the Author:
Like many writers out there, Ruvindra Sathsarani was shy of putting her work out for the world to read. But like so many successes, it is only time that this courage pays off.
“I read almost all the time and whenever I get some free time, I am willing to travel, explore, talk, and mix with people from all over the world. To me, fiction is an exploration into everything, and I write whenever I feel like doing it. Most of my work goes unseen from the world. As with most writers I am a bit too shy to let my inner thoughts be read. But with my debut novel I accepted the challenge and came up with a brilliant plot spun in different genres. And once I finished working on it, I enjoyed a surge of happiness that is both unique and pure.”
The Reader and Writer’s Beginning:
Just like the Universe came into existence with the Big Bang, a reader and a writer, most of the times the same person, has a starting point. Ruvindra Sathsarani tells us more about her Big Bang theory.
“I have been writing ever since I was a kid. Of course, I have always been a dedicated bookworm since I was able to read words. And I love to read books that would torture the readers, compelling them to explore life. During the evening and night when everything is calm and quiet is when I mostly write. I find it easier to concentrate and I complete only a few pages in one day. Though I must admit that I am a very slow writer and I wish that plot twists and ideas flowed into my mind a little bit faster. “
About ‘Sorrow that You Keep’:
Sorrow that You Keep is the story of Sue and Avi. Sue puts her depressive, lonely past behind her and along with it, Avi, the boy who she grew up with. She moves to Rome from Colombo and loses touch with Avi. But their parallel lives, built on discontentment, threaten to tear their lives apart. Will they be able to escape their miseries? Will they be able to find the life they’ve always dreamt of?
While the book itself is short, the concept is quite heavy. Ruvindra Sathsarani takes us through how the plot came through in her mind.
“Sorrow that You Keep is not a story that was written in two days, or in months, or even in years. Even though the story is short, I have been thinking about the plot for more than 2 years. In 2016, I sat down to write it down on paper. By the end of that same year, I knew that I had a good story to tell the world; a story about sadness, about love, about loneliness, about the deepest human desires and secrets. I have been writing, re-writing and editing many parts of the book, at times wondering whether the readers will like the twists or not. Honestly, I cannot place the book in one genre. Some readers have already labeled it as a thriller and some as a romance. I would like to see it as a mixture of both.
I have been trying to build up the story, the places the characters travel to and the incidents that determine their fates for a long time. Finally, I was able to divert the story to places beyond, and to incidents that would ignite curiosity and surprise in the readers.”
Sorrow that You Keep – The Characters:
“In Sorrow that You Keep, each and every character is smitten by sorrow. They try to find happiness in strange events, in foreign places and faces, in strangers whose identities are not clear and in stories that are hidden from the light and truth. As the story moves from one country to another, from one city to another, from one character to another and from tormented pasts to the present, the exploration into life widens. There are no signs that will show their futures, the story only moves between the past and the present and its most sorrowful incidents.”
Sorrow that You Keep – The Reception:
It is an author’s delight when readers approach them saying what a great book they’ve written and how much the reader liked it. Something similar happened to the author of Sorrow that You Keep.
“I have received many messages from readers saying that this mixture of genres is so great and I think it is the best reason for the readers to stick to the story till the very end.”
Ruvindra Sathsarani and Inspirations:
An author’s inspiration could be anything around or within them. While some take other authors as inspirations, some others take to music, people, or events around them. Ruvindra Sathsarani takes the middle path.
“I get inspired by many things. I’m inspired by places, and sometimes even by strangers I do not know anything about. To me, my short stay in both Rome and Florence was very inspirational. Rome woke up the artist in me; in fact I think the city is charming enough to capture any artist’s mind. I also love to read and re-read and re-read books by James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Stendhal, Gautier etc. Joyce and Proust for their amazing poetic qualities, Zola and Gautier for their candidness in writing. I’m also one of the first people to get my hands on newly published books by Deborah Levy, Elizabeth Strout, Marilynn Robinson and Jennifer Egan. I love these writers because their work is very original and one could stay up all night reading them.
I also get inspired by music. Whenever I find myself suffering from writer’s block I listen to some good music and get inspired. I always count on beautiful words to cure the mind and the soul.”
The Next Project:
“I’m currently working on a second novel but I’m sure it will take a while to finish. It is very different from Sorrow That You Keep.”
Advice to Aspiring Authors:
“Don’t be scared to let out your thoughts. Write without focusing on what people would think about you. Something that I have heard from debut novelists is that they have the idea that readers tend to connect the characters in the book with the life of the writer. I think this is one reason why writers use pseudonyms. The building up of these connections is very impractical. The writer and the work can be in two different spheres with no connection at all.
Another problem for first time writers is the inability to find a publisher. There is a strong monopoly of already published writers in many countries and they do not want young writers to step in. In this case, the new writers must keep on submitting their work till they get accepted. Trying and trying and continuously trying is what makes one successful. “
About the Author:
Ruvindra Sathsarani is, in addition to being a writer of poetry and fiction, a classical literature fanatic, a bookaholic, traveler, and nature-lover. She dreams of traveling countries and creating literary maps of them.
Featured Image sourced from author’s Google+ profile.
Connect with the author: Facebook.
Author(s): Ruvindra Sathsarani
Publisher: Notion Press
Release: March 2017