The reluctant author – Kiran ManralConversations — By Neha K Kulkarni on May 9, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Since her childhood, Kiran had been into books. As she grew up she took up writing professionally. She recently launched her debut book, The Reluctant Detective. She is also an active blogger, media consultant and a freelance writer.
Apart from all this, she is also the founder of India Helps, a volunteer network which works with disaster victims. This organization was set up post 26/11 and has a network of volunteers across India and abroad.
We caught up with her recently when she visited one of the leading bookstores in the city for a book reading of The Reluctant Detective. The Punekar brings to you the snippets of their conversation with the smart and talented author Kiran Manral.
What was Kiran Manral like before turning into an author?
Since I was a kid I used to love to read and write. My mother always felt that I would grow up and write a book. But that somehow never happened until earlier this year. In my earlier day I used to write for The Asian Age, The Times of India and Cosmopolitan. After my son was born I gave up my job to be a full time mother. Later, I turned into a freelance wirter, blogger and a media consultant.
Why did you finally decide to write a book?
Once my son was born I gave up my job but continued writing. My mother would always tell me that I should write a book but it somehow never worked out. I kept postponing it till one day I sat down and thought to myself, what have I achieved in my life so far? Nothing big. Nothing that I could talk about. That’s when I decided I wanted to write a book. I took it up with an intention of not just fulfilling my mother’s wish but also to move a step towards my goal of being an author. And that’s how The Reluctant Detective was born.
Can you tell us a little about the book, The Reluctant Detective?
The book is about a thirty something suburban housewife and young mother who is bored with her mundane life. When a couple of corpses turn up in quick succession in her neighbourhood, she teams up with her detective friend, Runa, in a half-hearted attempt to find the murderers, only to suspect that perhaps the detective business doesn’t quite become her. This book is a hilarious account of how not to get involved in other people’s murders. Further, The Reluctant Detective is every school-gate mom, searching for a purpose to her life beyond kitty lunches, shopping and fish pedicures. It is about all those women who get caught in the daily routine and somehow lose their way and their purpose of being.
How much of Kiran can one see in the protagonist Kanan Mehra?
I would say about 20%. The rest of Kanan’s traits are based on people I have known and on all that I have seen around.
What is your opinion about writer? Are they born or made?
One should have the ability to put down their thoughts on paper. But doing just that is not enough. A good writer is a result of continuous hard work and the result of nurturing one’s writing capability.Only with continuous efforts can one excel in this field. My advice to people would be start writing everyday even if it’s just 500 words. The more you write the more polished your writing would get. So I would say that writers are a blend of what one is born with and what one makes out of it.
With so many new writers coming up, do you think it’s easier to approach publishers?
Usually publishing your first book takes some time with manuscripts going back and forth and changes being made. But today publisher are ready to encourage new writers as they are looking for new talents that the audience would relate to.
Along with writing what else are you involved in?
I am the founder of India Helps, a volunteer network which works with disaster victims. Apart from that, I have conceptualized and been part of the core team initiating two awareness months, namely Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Month in April (2011 and 2012) and Violence Against Women Awareness Month in October 2011 across all social media. These awareness months involved a dedicated blog on the theme, updated daily with columns, survivor stories, legal advice, and posts from NGOs dealing in the field and organizing twitter chats with legal experts, counsellors, survivors and NGOs.