We spoke with author Kamalini Natesan who told us how her personal life has impacted her writing and the joy she felt on receiving her first box of books!



Q - What made you want to write? 


A - I’ve always written journals, as a young girl, nothing gave me greater pleasure than expressing myself on paper, even the most insignificant of moments found themselves in my diary, with exaggerated flair. So I’ve always known I would write, be it imagined, or all of the real stuff that life offers in such a large variety.


Q - Describe your life before getting published. 


A - Professionally, I’ve been teaching French for over 15 years, and thanks to my interaction with students of all ages, I’ve had a very rich and interesting career. These students bolstered my imagination, fed into my deep-seated desire to make up stories and write about these lives I encountered along my journey as a teacher.


Q – What or who influenced your writing


A - Apart from my students, my own family life underwent many twists and turns. It had to impact my writing. I read books from a large number of genres, as also participated in book clubs, which continued to enrich my life. I was made to realise that there are as many ways of expressing one emotion, as there are people. Reading and talking to people, these were the two greatest teachers in my writer journey. As a family, we are travellers, and this fabulous hobby has also influenced me greatly. Places have so much character and they bring an ethos into a narrative which is irreplaceable and highly cherished by readers.


Q - What happened when you finished your book and began approaching publishing houses, did you have to overcome rejection if any?


A - Even before I finished writing Naked Beneath the Midnight Sun, one Indian publisher had showed great interest. However, his interest waned once he realized that this book was about a young girl, and her coming of age, in a manner of speaking. I’m not certain what it was exactly that put him off. In my anger of rejection, I shot off 3 chapters of my M/S to many publishers both Indian and foreign. I heard back from a few asking me to pay, or simply saying that this subject did not interest them at the moment. Within two months, Olympia showed keen interest, and asked me to send across the entire manuscript. I was elated. And thus began my journey that now sees me a published author. 


Q - How was the publishing process and experience? What did you learn from it?


A - While the publishing process was tedious, it was hugely rewarding. I enjoyed the editing process because it gave me the time, as I grew as a writer, to relook at certain areas of my story, and enhance their import. I learnt how to edit better; I learnt how a book grows from its inception and arrives at its birth; it gave me valuable insights into how much hard work is required to bring one’s work to fruition.


Q - What it was like to open your box of books?


A - Opening my box of books was one of the most joyous acts of my writer life. I’ve published short stories both online and in magazines that I’ve seen people read, and have been praised for my narrative style. But this ‘boxed gift’ of my published novels, nothing comes close to it. I was absolutely elated, maybe even delirious with joy.


Q - How have you solved writing problems?


A - There is no one solution to solving blocks and other hurdles that a writer might face. Mostly, what worked for me was the resting time between putting something down that didn’t appeal to my mind, and letting it stand, sleeping over it and permitting the flow of novelty to seep into my writing. Refreshed and recharged, when I return to the place where I’d encountered the hurdle, I have been able to recalibrate and transform with ease that which seemed insurmountable at the time.

Another tool, if you will, that is helpful, is reading out loud. If what falls upon your ears doesn’t strike you as exactly what you wish to convey, it’s best to do away with it. It’s painful to strike it all out, but it really is sometimes what’s needed.

Music is also therapeutic and aids the creative process – especially in unknotting, and even unraveling.



Grab your copy of Kamalini's book "Naked Beneath the Midnight Sun" here!