Today, people know Preeti as ‘the only woman in the highest-selling league’. She has consistently been nominated for the Forbes List of the 100 most influential celebrities of India since 2013. She is also on the Nielsen Top 10 list of All India: Top Fiction.
Preeti Shenoy in an interview with Suman Prasad, speaks about her latest book ‘Why we love the way we do’, her inspiration in life, her Bollywood plans, her future projects and a piece of advice to the writers trying to break in.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. Please tell us about your journey. How does it feel to be ‘the only woman in the highest selling league’?
The journey so far has been a lot of hard-work, sweat, hours of being by myself and writing, writing, writing and more writing. It does feel marvelous to be one of India’s highest selling authors. Being a woman is incidental, I am truly not conscious of my gender when I think of it.
Q. Everyone has an inspiration/idol in life. Who is yours?
My father. He is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. He used to write so well. He instilled in me a life-long love for books. He was humble, down-to-earth, totally driven, self-made and one of the most amazing human beings I have ever known. Whatever I am today is because of my dad and I feel proud to be his daughter.
Q. Talking about your book – ‘Why we love the way we do’. Can you describe in one sentence what this is about?
Your one-stop relationship handbook on everything that you wanted to know, but didn’t know whom to ask.
Q. What led to ‘Why we love the way we do’? Any interesting anecdotes?
I get mails from complete strangers who share with me the most intimate details of their lives and ask me for my advice. Now here is the thing—when I am not directly involved in something, the perspective I have from my vantage point is so different from the one someone badly entangled in the situation has. So whenever I have offered my thoughts, they have always been graciously received.
Through the stories that people shared with me, what I discovered was that when it comes to relationships and love, we all are slaves of our heart, whether we are in our forties or our twenties.
These stories that people shared led me to a quest for answers. I researched and read up. And all of what I discovered found its way into my columns in a National daily.
Why We Love The Way We Do is a collection of pieces adapted from these columns. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing experience, as the column is on relationships, sex, communication between men and women, finding the perfect partner and anything else that you can think of on those lines. The inspiration for these columns comes from real life stories that many people have shared with me over the years. People seem to consider me a ‘relationship expert’. Surprisingly most people were okay when I ask them if I can write about what they had shared with me. In fact, they urged me to do so as they felt it would help others in a similar situation. So in many places in this book I have shared real stories, but of course I have changed the details and the names to protect identities.
Most of what I have said in the book comes from a combination of many hours of research and many years of experience. While writing the columns, I had to be certain what I was saying was backed by scientific research and studies. So I investigated and read up. I was intrigued by some of the things I discovered. Some of it confirmed what I already knew. Some of it came as a surprise. I also learnt about many things: for example, how the dynamics of a relationship worked, whether there is a pattern, whether we can control things like choosing whom we can fall in love with, what can we do to make the relationship last, how we can tell if it is love or lust and so on. I have shared it all in this book.
Q. You are an author of seven best sellers. How is your latest book different from your other works?
The others are all fiction titles. This one is a non-fiction book, a collection of essays on relationships.
Why we love the way we do is divided into seven sections. Finding the One is largely about finding love and deals with the dating stage; Getting Hitched is about marriage; When Things Go Wrong deals with break-ups and all things associated; On Men and Women focuses on gender differences; Let’s Talk deals with how differently men and women communicate; Three to Tango is about infidelity; and Between the Sheets is about sex. You can read them in any order you like—that is the beauty of a collection like this one.
Q. You are a blogger, author, poet, yoga buff, dobe owner and a mother of two. How do you balance everything with a smile on your face?
I am usually angry and frowning and grumpy and irritated and shouting and screaming. But you get to see only the smiling photos. Ha ha… Just kidding. I am naturally very inquisitive and I get bored with routine. All of the interests I have are things I am passionate about and that helps, as it doesn’t feel like ‘work’.
Q. What genre of books you read yourself? Which is that one book that has made you say ‘WOW’? Who is your all-time favorite author?
Too many to name. I love Audrey Niffeneger, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl’s work for adults, Michael Morpurgo, Daniel Glattauer, Mary Ann Shaffer and Liane Moriarty are some of the names that come to my mind instantly. To be honest, I love a good book that is well written and that which ‘speaks’ to me. I am not too gung-ho upon authors. And it is not as though I will like every book written by that author, just because I like that author. What appeals to me more than the author’s name is the story that the book holds, and the emotional connect it manages to make with me, apart from great writing of course.
Q. Do you think any of your books can be made into a Bollywood movie? If yes, who would you like to play the leads in the movie? Do you aspire to write for movies?
My agent is already in talks with some major production houses and hence I won’t be at a liberty to tell you more!
Q. Your fans eagerly wait for your new release. Have you started writing any new book post ‘Why we love the way we do’? What genre it would be?
Yes, it would be a fiction title with a very unusual theme, just like each of my other books, each of which is ‘different from the usual’.
Q. There are many who look up to you as an inspiration. Would you like to give a piece of advice to writers trying to break in?
Two things – Read read, read a LOT. Write, write write a lot, and never ever give up. Also write on those things that you feel passionately about and it is sure to show in your writing.