A month ago, Penguin India grabbed the attention of many Indian readers by conducting a live chat with its famous, best selling author Shobha De. I have observed similar 'livechat' sessions conducted by Penguin India on Facebook. But I've got to say no one does it like Shobha De. She isn't the typical author in any sense. She won't try to be diplomatic to keep her fans happy. She gives as she gets without mincing words. No hypocrisy, what you get is honesty. These days, with more and more writers marketing themselves on social media as paragons of patience, this originality came as a whiff of fresh air. Her responses are not of a diplomatic author who is playing to the gallery and wanting to promote a book or a brand. I loved the way she got into responding to so many queries with her typical saucy, original thoughts.
For instance, a guy wrote " i dont know why but i hav never been attracted by your books,plz plz tell me why should i read your books?
Shobha De responds instantly, " you know that line? Don't knock it till you have tried it???"
I loved that. Shobha De has spunk and she demonstrates it without a care in the world! That's why readers love and hate her with such passion.
I have to admit that I asked her question that I have always wondered about while reading Shobha De's books.
I asked her in the live chat session "Do you create a structure around your novel by mapping out the outline, plot and characters or do you simply dive into the story that is within you and let it flow naturally without any planning?"
This was her response "Swapna.... a structure is essential to start with. But I generally re-re-re-structure as the book takes shape. "
On writing, Shobha De says, "... writing is like a heartbeat to me. I love it! I live to write. I hope to die with a pen in my hand and countless ideas in my head."
When asked about her favorite book, she said this: "My favourite book is War and Peace. I can dive into it anytime..."