I very pleased to welcome Renita D’Silva who is today’s Author in the Spotlight. Renita’s latest novel A Mother’s Secret was published by Bookouture on 7th April. You’ll find out more about it as she answers the questions and you can order a copy here: A Mother’s Secret
First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
Thank you so much for hosting me on your wonderful blog, Joanne. I grew up in India but now live in the UK with my husband and two children.
What inspired you to start writing?
I fell in love with stories when my father gifted me with my first story books as a child. In the small village in India where I grew up, there weren’t enough books to feed my thirst for stories, so I started making them up in my head. The habit never ceased but only ever remained a secret hobby until my youngest child started nursery and I had two hours on a Friday morning all to myself. On a whim, and before my nerves took over, I enrolled in the local Adult Education Creative Writing Course. I haven’t looked back since.
Tell me about your journey to publication
It was a long learning curve, paved with rejections and heartbreak. I made every single mistake the newbie author is advised against, from sending the book out too soon, before it was the best it could be, to sending it to agents/publishers who were not looking for submissions in my genre. The hardest thing was keeping up morale in the face of rejection. I gave up several times, writing off my dream, trying to forget about it. But the characters would not let me be, they nagged away at me and after a few months, I would dig up the manuscript, tweaking it here and there and, bracing myself against yet another ‘We like it but not quite enough to publish it’, send it off.
In a nutshell, what is your latest book about?
My latest book, ‘A Mother’s Secret’, is a story of loss, love and hidden tragedy.
Here’s the blurb:
What if you discovered that everything you knew about yourself was a lie?
When pregnant Jaya loses her mother, then her baby son Arun in a tragic cot death, her world crashes down. Overcome by grief and guilt, she begins to search for answers – to the enigma of her lonely, distant mother, and her mysterious past in India.
Looking through her mother’s belongings, she finds two diaries and old photographs, carrying the smoky aroma of fire. A young boy smiles out at Jaya from every photograph – and in one, a family stand proudly in front of a sprawling mansion. Who is this child? And why did her mother treasure this memento of a regal family lost to the past?
As Jaya starts to read the diaries, their secrets lead her back to India, to the ruin of a once grand house on a hill. There, Kali, a mad old lady, will unlock the story of a devastating lie and a fire that tore a family apart.
Nothing though will prepare Jaya for the house’s final revelation, which will change everything Jaya knew about herself.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I am not at all good with titles, finding it very hard to condense a 100,000 plus word story into three or four succinct words. Of my five books, ‘Monsoon Memories’ is the only title I’ve come up with, the rest having been kindly supplied by my publisher, the wonderful Bookouture.
Do you have a work in progress just now?
Having just finished writing ‘A Mother’s Secret’, I am in the process of thinking up ideas for my next book.
What’s your favourite book you’ve read in the past few months? Or favourite three if you really can’t choose!
I have just finished ‘Last Kiss Goodnight’ by Teresa Driscoll. Before that I read ‘After the Lie’ by Kerry Fisher. I ADORED both books and could not put them down. Both tackle big themes while at the same time telling poignant and heart-warming stories. I would highly recommend both books to everyone.
What are you reading just now? (February 2016)
I am reading ‘Road Ends’ by Mary Lawson
Tell me about your reading habits: book or kindle, bed or bath, morning or evening?
I read anywhere, any chance I get. Book or kindle, I don’t mind – as long as the story is engrossing, for me the medium doesn’t matter.
How can people follow you or connect with you on social media?