What is it like to be married to an Author. A behind the scenes account
By Satish Shenoy
Any idea what it takes to write a book? My dark side, the one which suffers in silence, would probably say “A lot of effort, stress and work for the spouse and family”. My other side (the sane one – which is well disguised and does not show up too often) would highlight a few key points which go in to producing a good read:
1. A sharp brain: High intelligence and tremendous forethought is required to write a book. The reader finishes the book and discards it after a read. But has one ever thought of how difficult it is to come up with the plot and then actually pen it down in a way that would entice a reader and hold someone’s attention? Make no mistakes – you need to have a real sharp brain to be able to write and hold someone’s attention, , apart from of course the literary skills.
2. Gigantic Effort: Running a home is not an easy task. In fact it a much tougher job than going to office and dealing with all kinds of people, which by itself is bad. No questions about it. Added to that, if you also have to write a book it becomes extremely challenging. The only time available after incessant demands on your time ( I must hasten to add, no demands at all from me on Preeti. I am that proverbial Gem with a perfect halo around my head), is probably late in the night after everyone has slept and you finally find some peace. An author, who manages a home, has to first unwind after more than a full day and then be able to get in to the writing act late in the night, as if the day has just started off.
3. Passion: Responding to each comment on a blog or at the very least reading every comment is very onerous. There are some comments which make you smile, some which make you think and then there are the idiotic ones. I classify idiots as those people who have never written two bits worth in their life (including an essay or a letter in school leave alone a love letter) but whose parents gifted them the right to criticise writing of all and sundry. I am a smoker and I believe it is extremely creditable for a smoker to bring in a ban on smoking. But if you have never smoked a cigarette in your life and bring in a ban then it’s no big deal. So write first and then criticise is what I would say.
4. Sacrifice: Spending time on writing is a lot of sacrifice, as it does eat into the time you could have spent in the company of your loved ones or whatever gives you kicks in life – it could be just watching a movie, sleeping late on the weekend, going on holidays & not picking up calls, getting unexpectedly licked in the face by this huge black Doberman or just curling up in a hammock and reading a book. Majority of the time as an author you end up sacrificing many little things that bring you joy.
5. Stress: There is a lot of work to be done and very stiff deadlines. You need to make choices as to what aspects would work best. Most people assume this is a fun and easy job and “what the hell – I can do it too. If you get money for it too, then even better”. Let me tell you – It’s not easy at all. There is so much tension and worry which one goes through that at times it makes you feel it is all not really worth it. And then the book becomes a best seller, people like it and write back some really sweet comments and the smile on the face for your effort makes it all worth it again.
Having been married to an author and an artist for 16 years, I must tell you I truly deserve a medal. Like Preeti says life has had its fair shares of ups and downs. Artists & authors are quirky (literal translation--insane) and Sagittarians are crazy too and she is both. Would I change any of that? The answer clearly is no.
Preeti has been working non-stop for the last few months on her third book. It’s been a very tough & challenging job, full of stress and hardly any sleep for her. Am glad this is the last stretch – but then I guess there will be book 4 and 5 and …. more to come and life goes on. There are days when we hardly ever speak to each other since she is busy writing, or on the phone or penning down some ideas that struck her and does not want to be disturbed or just catching up on a bit of sleep. She has gone through a lot, spent many many sleepless nights apart from having to put up with me and the kids interrupting her, every now and then. She is extremely passionate about her work and would prefer answering comments on her blog and writing out a plot, as compared to just spending time with me. Imagine! Okay--Not really but what the hell, this is my post so I get to say what I want. Ha ha.
There are times when she has got so stressed and in turn stressed me out. She comes up with scripts that are amazing and at the same time so simple. So many people relate to it and write in to her. I just wonder why I could not have done all of that, as well as she does. That cannot, be my fault as I am sure you would agree.
I have had the pleasure of going through her third book as it unfolded chapter by chapter and I must tell you it has come out beautifully. I am sure you will enjoy it too (the law of averages says that there will of course be a few idiots, described above, who will of course contribute their bits). But I am sure the majority would love it. And after seeing what it takes to write a book I take my hat off to Preeti and also to all you authors out there and say well done.
I have the best of ALL worlds. Married to a wonderful person, an artist, a published author (three times over and counting and National bestsellers to boot), have something imaginative, creative and nice to read all the time in-house, not to mention the lovely discussions we have about the characters in the book and how the plot turns. I have absolutely no ‘Kidas’ in me which make me want me to sit down and write a book – would rather just enjoy life as it comes.
But if I did catch the bug someday, then would dedicate that book to Preeti at the same time giving her the first hand experience of what it feels to live with an author.
PS – To any intelligent ones who may raise the question after reading this post. Just to clarify, I am not part of the minority group mentioned above - after all even though I have not written a book, have written this blog post, right.
Pre-order to Preeti's third book will open soon! Follow her Facebook page for details!