Author cum blogger Preeti Shenoy’s forte lies in telling stories that are highly relatable, empathising, simple yet moving, bound to keep the reader hooked from the first to the last page. She loves indulging in her passion for pencil portraits, paper quilling and mixed media paintings, yoga, photography and giving talks (phew!). She is enjoying her new found status as Forbes India’s ‘one of the most influential celebrities’ thanks to the surge in her popularity in the Indian mass fiction market post the success of her novels ‘Life Is What You Make It’ and ‘Tea for Two and a Piece of Cake’. Her latest novel, ‘The Secret Wish List’ is already hitting the popularity charts. Resham Sengar got in touch with the bestselling author to know what makes ‘The Secret Wish List’ worth reading and much more.
What makes ‘The Secret Wish list’ different from other romance novels?
‘The Secret Wish List’ is not a usual ‘boy-meets-girl’ story. It is a story of friendship and it is also the story of finding the courage to do what you want to do, as opposed to what your parents want from you— be it in terms of where to study, choice of career, choice of people you want to associate with or how to lead your life. It is about finding the balance between listening to your heart and being practical. There are three different women characters in the book—two career women and a housewife. They are women you see all around you and ones you can relate to. Each of us wants to be accepted, loved for what we truly are, especially by our families. ‘The Secret Wish List’ touches upon all of these in multiple layers—and hence it is very different from the run-of-the-mill romance novels.
Did you have any purpose in mind when you began writing ‘The Secret Wish list’?
Since time immemorial, human beings have always been fascinated with the concept of wish fulfilment. Our ancient kings and rulers granted wishes to subjects they were pleased with. Our rishis and Munis did hard penance so that the Gods would appear and grant them their wishes. But we all live in modern times. And we have no such access to genies or Gods.The thing is we lead such busy lives, that we really don’t have time to even think about what we really want. How many of us really know what we truly want? ‘The Secret Wish List’ at some level addresses all this.
Who or what inspired you to write this story?
‘The Secret Wish List’ is inspired from real life incidents. Someone close to me had lost her spouse all of a sudden. It was totally unexpected and there were so many wishes left unfulfilled. And then, there was another person close to me, who had managed to fulfil all that she ever wanted, simply by working diligently towards her goals. She, like me is a huge believer in the law of attraction. All of this inspired me to put it down as a very readable, likable and realistic story!One of the ‘high moments’ for me came when a reader, a young man aged about 26, wrote to me saying that after he read my book, he asked his mother what her wish list was, and he said he is going to make each of her wishes come true.
How much time did it take for you to pen down your story in paper and then come up with a final draft?
I started writing in Feb 2012 and completed the first draft by September 2012. I must mention that I worked at least 6-8 hours a day. In the final stages, I don’t remember resting at all. I worked round the clock, often falling asleep in front of the laptop.
How did you go about giving depth to make the characters seem appealing in the story? Is any character picked up from your real life except the “chakkar woman” or the protagonist’s parents?
Each and every character in the book is drawn from real life. In fact, ‘the bag incident’ mentioned in the first chapter is something that happened to me and a good friend, when we were 14. She is still in touch with me and both of us still laugh about it.
How different is the male protagonist in your novel from the Mills and Boons kind of clichéd male characters?
My protagonist isn’t tall nor does he have a well-sculpted frame. The Salsa instructor does—but he isn’t the ‘hero’. He is just a good friend. My book also has a workaholic insensitive husband who cannot relate to his wife’s needs or understand her feelings. The protagonist here is a business tycoon and he has had a string of affairs. He has worked hard to get where he is and yet he is unhappy. So, the men in my books are all very ‘real’ and not at all the Mills and Boon kinds!