An interview by Vinita Kinra
Renita D’Silva loves stories, both reading and creating them. Her short stories have been published in The View from Here, Bartleby Snopes, This Zine, Platinum Page, Paragraph Planet, and others. She has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net anthology. She is the author of Monsoon Memories, The Forgotten Daughter, The Stolen Girl and A Sister’s Promise.
Vinita Kinra: Tell us about yourself.
Renita D’Silva: I love stories, so much so that I can’t walk past a house at twilight, (where the curtains have not yet been drawn, affording a tantalizing glimpse of rooms half-shrouded in darkness), without conjuring up tales about the lives lived there. Small wonder that I am an author.
Vinita Kinra: What draws you to the magical world of young girls?
Renita D’Silva: I think it is the promise of a whole life yawning ahead, waiting to be lived, filled with possibilities, sprinkled with dreams, charged with hope; the endless directions your life could go and the effect culture and where you grow up has on your future.
Vinita Kinra: Talk to us about what triggered your latest book.
Renita D’Silva: I have always been intrigued by the relationship between sisters. There is love there and sibling rivalry, too. What if something happened to test that bond, stretch it to a breaking point? Would the sibling bond be strong enough to weather it? Would the relationship recover? These questions percolated in my mind. I imagined a woman picking up her phone and hearing her sister’s voice after a silence of twenty years, and it went from there.
Vinita Kinra: What comes to your rescue when you are faced with the “writer’s block”?
Renita D’Silva: I take a complete break from writing. I read other authors, spend time with family, and when I’m doing something incredibly mundane, like cooking or washing dishes, the story will reveal itself to me, my writer’s block instantly becoming a thing of the past.
Vinita Kina: How important is the commercial side of writing and promoting your book as opposed to the sheer joy of the creative art of expression?
Renita D’Silva: I am happiest when left to myself, holed up in my writing cave. I am lucky that my publisher, Bookouture, does most of the promoting and marketing for me. That said, I am overwhelmed by the support I’ve had online from book bloggers, readers and fellow authors. It’s a very friendly community and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
Vinita Kinra: Does the journey of seeing an idea develop and flourish into a full-fledged book teach you something about yourself or make you a better person in any way?
Renita D’Silva: It is extremely rewarding to see my books, which originated just from my love of stories and an imagination that would not be quieted, in print. In the course of this journey to publication, I’ve learned to believe in myself more, to not give up. I have realized that I wrote stories that gave me pleasure, but what makes me immensely happy is that they also give pleasure to others.
Vinita Kinra: If an aspiring writer asks you for just one golden advice of wisdom, what would it be?
Renita D’Silva: Don’t give up. Remember you only need one person to say yes to publish you, and they may be the next person you send your manuscript to.
Vinita Kinra: Give us a sneak peek from A Sister’s Promise.
Renita D’Silva: Two sisters. Bound by blood. Torn apart by love.
My sister – the glue that held our family together and the gatekeeper to the memories of our shared childhood.
The girl I made a pact with – to protect each other for life.
The woman who destroyed my family, my future.
And the only one who can save my daughter.
Set against the dramatic backdrop of India, A Sister’s Promise is a powerful, emotional tale of family secrets, love and the ties that bind sisters together.