I’m a lover of all things . Quirky, a nomad, a romantic and a traveler. A restless heart. Potent coffee and a good book makes my day. Planning for that one big, decadent trip to a new country, makes my year. I try and write page turning intrigue, in a genre I call emotional thrillers. My protagonists are usually strong, self-assured women in urban settings, so umm… I could’ve said somewhat like me, but often stymied, impetuous, with darkness in their heads. Okay, so somewhat like me. Says Smita Bhattacharya , her latest book is in a genre that is evergreen in literature and delves into a rather philosophical angle of a ‘Firefly’ !
The book – He Knew a Firefly
Six-year-old Akshara watches her mother die. At thirteen, she watches her best friend die. She’s heartbroken, but their deaths don’t surprise her. She has a secret ─ she can glimpse into the future of those she loves. For her it’s not a blessing, but a curse; every life she touches is thrown into turmoil, friends abandon her, and she is overwhelmed by more guilt than she can bear. Then, one day, she sees her own unhappy fate.Does Akshara bring upon her loved ones the misfortunes they blame her for? Will Akshara be able to save herself after she has lost everyone she loved? Or will she lose her sanity like her mother did?A gripping, evocative, and sometimes surreal page-turner, He Knew a Firefly follows Akshara as she tries to light the dark, unknown pathways for her loved ones, before being ultimately consumed by the flames herself.
Fireflies are such enigma. In the dark night, on open fields, in dense woods, there they are ─ tiny flickers of light. They fill you with such hope and also some sadness. Their lives are short-lived and only in the night are they brightest. There are people like that, in our lives, who suffer to make our lives better. They suffer, with absolutely no redemption. I wanted to chronicle the journey of one such.
‘He Knew a Firefly’ is just that.
The central character Akshara is like a Firefly and there are those around her who love her, who know her (or think they do!) and consider her special.
Their lives are irreversibly changed once they get to know her. She is a fantastic creature ─ this Akshara ─ and elusive too ─ and benevolent in the darkness of their lives ─ much like a Firefly. The book chronicles 5 years of her life when she meets and loves people… and then what happens to them, what happens to her, the love, the tragedy, the fun, the mystery, and resolution of a recurring dream that she sees, where she is dying. It’s a mixture of myriad emotions, some tragedy and a lot of mystery.
And it is relatable. You must know such a firefly in your life – the wonderful creatures that do not last long. The good ones, the kind ones. The ones that appear like fireflies in our lives, and then just leave. But in the brief period that is their life, they glow really, really bright.
Advice to aspiring authors
Write every day. Read every day. Never think you know it all or don’t have enough time. There are always better writers, better techniques, and a better way to spin a yarn. Draft and redraft as much as you can till you cannot anymore, because once your work is out there, it is a part of you that is indelible, ready to be devoured and judged and so, it better be good.
§ Do you balance writing with another day job? How do you do it?
Simply, by loving both of what I do. And driven by an unyielding need to make the best of the time I have.