Deepti Menon is the author of two books, Arms and the Woman and Deeparadhana. She has worked as a journalist with several publications and is now a freelance editor. Short stories with deft twists and tongue-in-cheek articles that tickle the funny bone are her forte. Deepti lives with her family in Chennai. In this heart-to-heart interview, she talks about her recently released novel, a gripping psychological thriller Shadow in the Mirror, published by Readomania.
Me: Deepti, a very intriguing book it seems from the cover. What would you say is the significance of the title of your book, ‘Shadow in the Mirror’?
DM: Thank you, Lopa! My book, Shadow in the Mirror, talks about the chasm between real life and fantasy. The mirror always tells you the truth, never the fiction, and hence, it can either be your truest friend or your greatest enemy.
Me: Would you say the woman protagonist of the novel is rather vulnerable, a victim of her destiny or does she try to fight back against her trauma/obstacles?
DM: I have a number of women protagonists in my novel. Each one lives her own life, as do we all, facing obstacles and rising above them. My main protagonist is very much a victim of her destiny, and trapped in a web. The others strive to rise above and fight back, and actually succeed in their attempts.
Me: From the blurb, it seems there are some interconnected stories of women tied to the main story of the protagonist Nita. Does that make the novel more heavy and complex or do all these strands of the narrative work together to bring out some elemental truth of human nature?
DM: I have striven not to make my novel heavy through my style of writing, and through the genre that I have chosen. I believe that all the strands of the narrative have been woven together to create a complex tapestry that is thrilling, and yet, an easy read.
Me: Since this novel falls into the category of mystery/thriller, who would you say has been your inspiration in writing a thriller? Is it more influenced by Agatha Christie’s style of writing or more contemporary in its feel and tone?
DM: Agatha Christie has been a great influence in my growing years, and the one lesson that I have imbibed from her books is to keep my narrative and dialogues light enough to sustain the interest of the readers. This does not take away from the gravity of the theme, in any way. The book is a blend of the traditional and the modern, both in its feeling and tone.
Me: I have read in one of your interviews that this book took 12 years in its making. How have these 12 years prepared you to eventually publish this thriller novel? Has it been a slow, organic journey or a roller-coaster ride for you? What have been the epiphanies for you?
DM: This book did take twelve years in the making. Over the years, even as I rewrote and honed my manuscript, I was doing many other creative things as well. So you could call it a slow, organic journey, in a way.
The rollercoaster began once Readomania accepted the book for publication, and the actual work of publication began. Epiphanies were aplenty… the first time I visualized my book in its complete avatar, that moment when Dipankar Mukherjee accepted my manuscript, and finally, when I realized that all the changes that I had made with the help of my editor, Vaijyanti Ghosh, had helped to streamline and embellish the story that I had always wanted to write.
Thank you so much for your wonderful questions, Lopa. I enjoyed answering them.
Me: You are most welcome, Deepti! Wish you all success with this book and all your future projects.