A postgraduate from the University of Delaware, USA, Aditi Pant is an award-winning educator, columnist, author and poet. Her debut, Zen on the go, a collection of succinct, soulful, spiritual stories garnered much acclaim and was on the Barnes and Noble reading list. The book was also on the bedside table of almost everyone who read it, a quick ready reference to life and living. Just to shake things up, she then wrote, The turning of seasons, a novel that seamlessly blends prose and poetry in a poignant tale of love and loss. When Aditi is not writing she can be found reading, teaching, cooking and what can only be described as multitasking while drinking legions of tea.
Aditi lives in Sugar Land, Texas, with her husband and their two daughters. Let’s talk with Author Aditi Pant :
The Literature Times: After “A Turning of Seasons,” and “Zen on the Go,” “The Zen Heart” comes across as another striking creation from your pen. Did you have plans to write this from the beginning, or was it an idea that struck you later?
Aditi Pant: Well, “Zen on the go” was quite popular and a lot of people commented on how the book had helped them see life and living in a new perspective. After seeing the response to Zen on the go, I decided to write its sequel of sorts where I again present my readers with transformative stories that help them find beauty and meaning in their lives.
The Literature Times: Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your book, “The Zen Heart”?
Aditi Pant: The inspiration behind “The Zen Heart” is life itself. Everything that happens to you, everything you read, you experience has the potential to change you and your life for the better if you reflect and learn from what is happening to you. Just as I’m attempting to live an examined life, I hope the readers will find a way to do that too.
The Literature Times: How did you plan to write “The Zen Heart” since it makes use of multiple styles of writing in the form of fiction and non-fiction?
Aditi Pant: There was no plan. It’s a slice out of life in general and my life in particular. As things happened to me I pondered upon them and put them down on paper.
The Literature Times: Can you discuss the themes and messages you wanted to convey in your book? Did “The Zen Heart” give you plenty of space to express all your ideas? Or would they follow in your upcoming publications?
Aditi Pant: There is nothing didactic in the book. It is a recounting of my experiences, and whatever interesting events and learnings that have come my way. The readers will certainly find what they are looking for in this book if they examine closely what is happening in their own lives. I guess in a way this is the message I wish to convey, every moment in your life has the potential to teach you something if you let it.
Yes, I will continue to write about my experiences so there might be a follow up book.
The Literature Times: “The Zen Heart” extends its base to a universal form since it relates to current events or larger societal issues. Do you agree with this?
Aditi Pant: Yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The book is inductive in its approach. It is a reflection of the times we live in today and the challenges life presents us with. The book also provides some hands-on, some philosophical and some functional advice on how to overcome those very challenges.
The Literature Times: Can you discuss your writing process and how you approached structuring the stories in “The Zen Heart”? Did it require frequent revisions?
Aditi Pant: Yes, Writing is editing. And one has to be ruthless. I did keep a word limit of sorts in my mind because I wanted to keep the interest of the reader. So, basically I’ve tried to say a lot with as few words as possible.
The Literature Times: Are there any specific literary or artistic influences that can be seen in “The Zen Heart”? How did you manage to maintain distinctness even when writing in a popular form of literary writing?
Aditi Pant: All stories are written as a column for a newspaper or a podcast. They are succinct, informative and philosophical. They have been influenced by religious mythology, Zen teachings, Buddhist philosophy and life in general.
The Literature Times: Can you talk about any challenges or obstacles while writing “The Zen Heart?
Aditi Pant: All the stories you want to write are already written somewhere in some way. The challenge is to make it your own, not only by how you write it but also by focussing on why you are writing or rewriting them. The intent is important.
The Literature Times: Just out of curiosity, can you share in brief about what the following publications to “The Zen Heart” would feature?
Aditi Pant: I’m at the moment writing a novel , a work of fiction which I will talk more about when it is ready for publication.
The Literature Times: I hope that this collection breaks records in royalty collection. Wishing you luck!
Aditi Pant: Thank you, I wish the same. I also wish that the readers have some valuable takeaways from the book.