Renita D’Silva – Q&A

Today I’m pleased to welcome Renita D’Silva to the blog. Renita is the author of Monsoon Memories, A Sister’s Promise, The Stolen Girl and The Forgotten Daughter and her latest novel, A Mother’s Secret was published by Bookouture on 5 April 2016

Renita kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about A Mother’s Secret.

What if you discovered that everything you knew about yourself was a lie? When pregnant Jaya loses her mother, then her baby son Arun in a tragic cot death, her world crashes down. Overcome by grief and guilt, she begins to search for answers – to the enigma of her lonely, distant mother, and her mysterious past in India.  Looking through her mother’s belongings, she finds two diaries and old photographs, carrying the smoky aroma of fire. A young boy smiles out at Jaya from every photograph – and in one, a family stand proudly in front of a sprawling mansion. Who is this child? And why did her mother treasure this memento of a regal family lost to the past?  As Jaya starts to read the diaries, their secrets lead her back to India, to the ruin of a once grand house on a hill. There, Kali, a mad old lady, will unlock the story of a devastating lie and a fire that tore a family apart.  Nothing though will prepare Jaya for the house’s final revelation, which will change everything Jaya knew about herself. 

2. What inspired the book?  

The idea for A Mother’s Secret came in the form of a mad old lady living in a dilapidated house, set isolated and forbidding atop a hill and carrying traces of past grandeur. Why was the woman there? What had happened to her and the house to make them that way, both ravaged and decrepit? Then I pictured a young woman thousands of miles away, who, while dealing with grief and personal loss finds her mother’s diaries and in doing so, is led to this madwoman haunting a tumbledown house in a country her mother shunned. It intrigued me – I wanted to work out the connection. And thus, A Mother’s Secret was born.

3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you? How long does the process take you from first line to completed novel?

With ‘Monsoon Memories’, my debut, I didn’t plan. It started off as a story about two sisters and then Reena, an inquisitive eleven year old, clamoured for attention and space to tell her story and it just sort of went on from there. 

I have written all my other books to deadline, so there is a certain amount of planning involved, although I don’t plan in too much detail and I don’t structure the novel until the end when I have a clear idea of where it is going. 

4. What have you discovered about the process of creating a novel that surprised you?

The best thing about writing a novel is when the characters take over about half way through the book. Sounds mad, I know, but it is magical and true – the characters develop minds of their own and very strong opinions as to what should happen and what shouldn’t. I love it when the characters dictate where the book is going. This is also why I don’t plan in too much detail 🙂

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?

I read, cook, spend time with family. 

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be? 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

About the Book:

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“When pregnant Jaya loses her mother, then her baby son Arun in a tragic cot death, her world crashes down. Overcome by grief and guilt, she begins to look for answers – to the enigma of her lonely, distant mother, and her mysterious past in India.

Looking through her mother’s belongings, she finds two diaries and old photographs, carrying the smoky aroma of fire. A young boy smiles out at Jaya from every photograph – and in one, a family stand proudly in front of a sprawling mansion. Who is this child? And why did her mother treasure this memento of a regal family lost to the past?

As Jaya starts to read the diaries, their secrets lead her back to India, to the ruin of a once grand house on a hill. There, Kali, a mad old lady, will unlock the story of a devastating lie and a fire that tore a family apart.

Nothing though will prepare Jaya for the house’s final revelation, which will change everything Jaya knew about herself.”

(image and synopsis from Amazon)

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. renitadsilva says:

    Thanks so much Janet, for featuring me on your wonderful blog.

    Like

    1. janetemson says:

      My pleasure. Thanks for the great answers 🙂

      Like

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