Author Interview- Arundhati Dantewadia


Can you tell us a little about your book?

The book is based on actual events but presented in a fictionalized manner. It is about a young woman who develops an acute anxiety disorder and struggles with the disorder and its consequences like trauma, guilt, confusion, and fears that come with it. She becomes so fixated on what is wrong with her that it prevents her from leading a content life. Eventually, she finds that she needs to play to her strengths instead of worrying about what isn't right through much soul searching. She develops unique courage and zest for life and then begins her journey of transformation. She finds that everything she ever needed was inside her and realizing that truly empowered her in ways she had not imagined. She now lives with that powerful awareness and has an entirely different take on life! 


Is there a specific event that inspired this story, or was this an out-of-the-blue idea?

It was not out of the blue for sure. I have wanted to write for many years, and I knew I had stories to tell and feelings to express, but I had a failed attempt years ago and shelved the idea. I had a little more life experience and clarity about writing this time, which got me going. 


What got you writing in the first place? -

As I said earlier, I have always wanted to write to express myself. Writing to me is a form of therapy. It is my way of connecting with parts of myself that I may not always be aware of. I realized this longing that I had and decided to start writing.


What was your impression of your first draft when you read it?

My first draft was the most enjoyable part of my writing journey because I allowed myself to go with the flow with absolutely no rules or ideas. It didn't matter how it would read or seem to other people. It was unadulterated, and I still treasure it. It didn't matter how it seemed to me either because my joy was in expressing myself.



Which part of your story connects the most with you? Why?

Ananya's story draws from my own experiences as a person too. I connect with every part of her story.


What makes your book the one to read?

Although the overall theme of my book seems like mental health journal, I believe that it is a story about courage, faith, and authenticity, which apply to every individual immaterial of life circumstances. I would recommend it to people looking for hope, those who want inspiration to listen to their innermost voices, those on a journey of personal growth, and of course, those interested in understanding mental health. 


What was the best advice you got while writing?

I never told anybody that I was writing a book until I had finished the first draft. I did not receive any advice. I told myself one thing before I started to write because I knew that it could get overwhelming at some point, and I may want to discontinue the book. I told myself to write the first draft only to express my thoughts and to do justice to the story that Ananya's life is based on. If I didn't do that, it would have been very easy to get caught up with how the book is turning out and the idea of writing perfectly. I think this decision helped me move forward and make progress instead of feeling stuck.  


Who's your all-time favorite author? Which book of his/hers made you fall in love with them?

I don't read non-fiction. I read a lot of biographies and spiritual books. My favorite writer is Paramahamsa Yogananda, and his works and life lessons have shaped me enormously. 


What is your evergreen tip to the writers out there?

As I said earlier, have fun with the first draft and when you write without assumptions and rules is when the magic happens. Once the first draft is in order, you can make any number of edits later on. The first draft is where people get stuck. If one finishes it, however good or bad, the book usually sees the light of day.


Do you have another plot brewing?

I do have a few plots in mind. I will pick one and start writing in a few months. I have realized that it can be wonderfully addictive.


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