Author Bio: Lakshmi Palecanda is a scientist-turned-writer. She discovered her passion for writing when she acted on an impulse and took an evening class on writing. She writes articles, short stories, novels and blogs and has won awards for two of her short stories. She has published over 150 articles, 10 short stories and 2 novels. She particularly loves to write humorous articles. In her spare time, she works as a trainer of Communicative English, Soft Skills and Life Skills.
Lakshmi received her B.Sc. degree in Horticulture from College of Horticulture, Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu in 1989, and Master’s degree in Biological Sciences from Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, in the United States in 1994. She worked in the field of basic research in plant and animal sciences for ten years, before she began her writing career. She is now a full-time writer and teacher of Communicative English, creative writing and life skills.
Lakshmi currently resides in Mysore, Karnataka, in India, with her husband and two daughters.
The Literature Times: Author, welcome to The Literature Times. Congratulations on the publication of your book! What feedback do you get from your readers? Please share your thoughts on this book.
Author: Thank you. I’m very happy that this book of short stories is being published, because it is my tribute to the South Indian way of life. The stories in this collection reveal the wealth of compassion, thought processes, joys, sorrows and quirks of the common South Indian. My readers tell me they like my characters and my language. They’ve told me they’re moved by my stories.
The Literature Times: What motivates you to become a writer?
Author: Writing is hard, I mean, really hard. It means hours of pecking away at the keyboard trying to paint pictures with words, pictures which may be rejected or jeered at, when you could be doing something less strenuous, like levelling a mountain, right? But creating stories – that is what I love. Coming up with characters that are deeply flawed yet likeable and giving them a life in which they can shine – be it as a villain or a hero – that is what I love the most. I can spend hours thinking up stories. Trouble is, once a story has formed, it pushes me to put it down on paper, to actually give it life. So, I have to say that, it is the challenge of creating a story and bringing it to life that is the real motivation for me as a writer.
The Literature Times: What are your favourite writing topics? Please tell us a little bit about your literary interests.
Author: I think that there is no greater mystery than how two people mutually come to a conclusion that they can live a fulfilled life only with each other. Therefore, I love writing romances. And I love dramas as well as slice-of-life stories. That is why I’m into writing short stories. I’m also intrigued by human-interest stories that reveal odd patterns of behavior and thought.
The Literature Times: We were hoping you might tell us about some of the authors that have influenced you and who you read!
Author: I love O’Henry short stories. I like reading action thrillers, court room dramas and medical fiction. But my favorite is well-written romances. Novels by Lee Child, Jim Patterson, David Baldacci, John Grisham, Alistair Maclean, Sidney Sheldon, Janet Dailey, Betty Neels, Diana Palmer, Georgette Heyer, Barbara Metzger and Marion Chesney are huge favorites. I’m also trying to reconnect with read-and-forgotten classic writers like Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson. Currently, I’m into self-help books like the Artist’s way by Julia Cameron, and You can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay.
The Literature Times: The title is unique and appealing; how did you come up with them? Please tell us the story behind it.
Author: Cauvery is the best-known river in South India. Therefore, the title, On the Banks of the Cauvery, represents people who live on the river’s path, that is, South Indians. It also happens to be the title of one of the short stories.
The Literature Times: What are your achievements so far? Tell us something about your writing career.
Author: I published two articles in 1990, before I became a scientist. My passion for writing however found me again in 2004, when I attended a course called ‘Writing for Publication.’ Since then, I’ve published about 150 articles across genres, eight textbooks, two novels, a collection of articles, verses for children and ten short stories. I also have three fully written novels and another collection of short stories almost ready to publish.
The Literature Times: What is your current goal in writing a career? How do you see your future in writing?
Author: My current goal is to publish all that I’ve written … and then write some more. I want to keep coming up with stories and writing them down. The only thing I want is for people to read my work and identify with it.
The Literature Times: Do you have any other novels in the works? Please keep us updated on your future endeavours.
Author: As I said, I also have three other fully written novels and another collection of short stories almost ready to publish. I will keep you updated on their status.
The Literature Times: How do you view Indian writing in the twenty-first century? What changes do you see in today’s writing style? Do you feel it has been changed by the time?
Author: I find it heartening to see many Indians follow their dreams of writing these days. Some writers are truly awesome. For example, historical writers like Manu Pillai and Anirudh Rangasetti make history so interesting that their books are unputdownable. But some fiction writers seem to write for the masses, treating important things that matter like relationships, homosexuality, careers, family and life in general in a very superficial way to get more eyeballs. I find that somewhat sickening.
The Literature Times: How simple/difficult was it for you to publish your book? What message do you want to send to aspiring authors?
Author: Truth to tell, it has been very difficult for me to publish my book. However, my message to aspiring authors has two parts. They may be cliches but they are true. If you have the will, there will be a way. If not traditional publishers, there’s self-publishing and online publishing. And yes: Have patience and persevere. Your day will come.