Akhila Saroha: I would like to begin by congratulating you on the publication of “The Postwoman and Other Stories.” How has the response to the book been so far?
Priyadarshini: I am overwhelmed by the response I have gotten so far. People are intrigued by the title of the book, and are eager to know more about the characters and stories. However, I would be extremely happy if the book reaches a wider audience.
Akhila Saroha: What led to the idea of writing “The Postwoman and Other Stories”? Were there any events that inspired the work?
Priyadarshini: All the stories are inspired by my childhood in Kodaikanal. Living in a small hillstation, cut off from the rest of the world, really gives you a unique perspective. For instance, the story “The Ferry Keepers Daughter” is inspired by my ferry rides, from one end of the lake to the other.
Akhila Saroha: How easy or difficult was it for you to set the narrative in the world of children and build characters who had the impressions from the mind of a grown-up in “The Postwoman and Other Stories”?
Priyadarshini: I truly believe that children’s literature can only be written by those who admire the little joys and pleasures of life. I am a person who enjoys and cherishes the little things in life. Due to this reason, I believe that I can reach out to children through my stories. I don’t think there is a significant gap between the way children think, and the way I perceive the world around me.
Akhila Saroha: What are your views about present-day writing? Do you think it does complete justice in depicting human nature in the light of “The Postwoman and Other Stories”?
Priyadarshini: Today’s authors are more concerned with “trendy” and popular themes. I often see the same storyline being repeated in several books. Therefore, they are not concerned with “human nature” in the same way that I am. Many children who read my book tell me that it is completely different from anything that they have ever read, and this is because I have moved away from the “trendy” and popular themes to create stories that really matter.
Akhila Saroha: “The Postwoman and Other Stories” shows the uniqueness of your style of writing. Are there any authors that you enjoy reading or any books which are your favorites?
Priyadarshini: It is hard for me to talk about one particular author or book. I believe that I am inspired by both fiction and non-fiction alike. Recently I have enjoyed reading books like “The Chicken Chronicles” and “Tuesday’s with Morrie” that depict profound emotions in a simple narrative style.
Akhila Saroha: How would you categorize “The Postwoman and Other Stories” as its appeal seems to be to a broad audience?
Priyadarshini: To categorize “The Postwoman and Other Stories”, is liking trying to impose a genre upon a book like “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint- Exupery. It undoubtedly comes under children’s picture books and fiction, but it is certainly a book that will also change the way adults perceive and interact with children. Therefore, it blurs the boundaries between children’s literature and adult books.
Akhila Saroha: “The Postwoman and Other Stories” has given a powerful introduction to your potential as a writer. Can the readers expect more from you in the future? Would you please share about your future projects?
Priyadarshini: I am working on other projects. However, I am not sure when I will finish writing them. I just hope I get to write on a variety of genres for children of all ages.
Akhila Saroha: What is the story behind the title of your work, “The Postwoman and Other Stories”?
Priyadarshini: I have always wanted to write about women in different professions. Although there are postwomen, female auto drivers and ticket collectors in our society, they are hardly ever focused upon or written about. I would really like to put forth to message to young boys and girls that professions and occupations can never be restricted to a single gender. We also need to come up with gender neutral terms for many occupations that otherwise come with the added suffix of “man”.
Akhila Saroha: How easy or difficult was it for you to create the characters and show the story from their eyes and also the eyes of a third-person narrator without hampering the readers’ perception in “The Postwoman and Other Stories”?
Priyadarshini: As mentioned earlier, I did not have much difficulty in creating the characters, because all of them are based on my childhood experiences and memories. There is of couse, a lot of imagination and fictive elements, but as a naturally creative person, I did not find it difficult to write the book.
Akhila Saroha: In the present time, stories featuring people like your characters in “The Postwoman and Other Stories” do not find much mention. What, according to you, could be the possible reason for that?
Priyadarshini: This is because people write stories that would “sell” rather than stories that need to be heard. If you look at my book, I never wrote with the intention of being a famous or popular author. I just wanted to write and convey my message to the world. The minute people stop thinking about fame and popularity, they will be able to write what they truly believe in.
Akhila Saroha: If you were to describe your book “The Postwoman and Other Stories” in a few words without giving any spoilers, what would those words be?
Priyadarshini: The Postwoman and Other Stories will take you through a journey of kindness, trust and empathy. It will show you how real heroism is hardly in big deeds and actions, but in small acts of kindness. All the characters in the book deal with day-to-day situations and events. I can promise that you will enjoy reading and experiencing the book.
Akhila Saroha: What advice would you give to budding writers who may be planning to write in the same genre as “The Postwoman and Other Stories”?
Priyadarshini: I would ask them not to give up. It is not easy to create a work that is very different from conventional stories and narratives. I would also ask writers to go beyond their inhibitions and draw pictures for their own works. I know a lot of people who draw well, but are afraid of showcasing their pictures alongside their writings because they are not considered to be “artistically beautiful” in a conventional sense. Therefore, I would like children’s writers, and especially picture- book authors to illustrate their own works, and not shy away from their drawings even if it is simple and stick-figure like.
Akhila Saroha: Thank you very much for sparing your time. I look forward to reading more books from you in the future. All the best.
Priyadarshini: I am honored and grateful to be featured in “The Literature Times”. It was a pleasure.