Devanshi Sharma is an Indian author based in Indore. She is a novelist who has authored six books: Unimaginably True (2012), First Love Lasts Forever (2014), 1001 Things Every Student Should Know, No Matter What I do (2016), Imperfect Misfits (2017), I Think I'm In Love (2019).
Devanshi also started a group named Mithaas with her friends, where their ultimate aim is to ensure that smiles and education are spread together! They help kids with things that they need to study better.
Quillopia had a great time interacting with Devanshi Sharma and to get an insight into her incredible journey.
What Prompted you to write?
I started writing when I was quite young in grade 9. What prompted me to write was the love for storytelling, and telling people the stories that I have in mind. I used to enjoy coming back from school and telling everyone at home what happened, and at times when nothing happened, I would make up a story to get attention, which too prompted me to write.
Discuss something about your themes. All your novels have themes of love and friendship. Any particular reason?
Yes, besides love, another theme is dreams. I love playing around these themes simply because they keep us going. There is nothing more motivational or works as a pushing factor than dreams, and love is the purest form of talking to someone. When you talk about serious topics like subverting stereotypes or breaking the ideologies that have been prevalent for hundreds of years, and if they are made into a subtle love story, it would feel more relatable for the readers. Love stories really help me to convey the message in a relatable manner.
What about your writing style. How do you create characters and plot?
Writing, as for me, is not something serious, but the process is something like we-will-see-as-it-goes kind. I'm a person who observes and thinks a lot about the stories, and once I get a fair idea, I start writing. So, I take a lot of time thinking and less time writing it down.
As for the characters, they come from observation from real life. While the plot is something that comes with very creative work that you do behind a story, the characters come from observation from the people we see and meet, and they are partly real and partly fiction. The character Meera that I created is someone who wouldn't think much before going to a meeting or a press launch. But when it comes to real-life Devanshi, I'm a person who thinks more before going anywhere. So, being in the character's shoes, it is kind of made me go all the way out of that planning zone and be in a comfortable zone.
Do you like to employ more literary devices?
Definitely, literary devices give pleasure. The way Edmund Spencer, for instance, uses them. But I'm not of the view that I have to use them. However, if I feel a particular metaphor would be highly effective, then I'll be the happiest person to use it.
As we know, we write to communicate. Whom do you speak to? Who is your target?
Here I would like to quote Kamala Das. While writing poetry, she said once, "I actually talk to my readers and think of them as confidantes." Similarly, as a narrator, I talk to the readers. It feels like a conversation. I consider the readers as part of the circle I'm living in. When you consider readership as part of your life, that's when you will be able to tell them a story.
How has the readership been so far? What were the responses?
I think the journey has been from scratch. I would suggest if a person chooses to step into the publishing field, he/she should be patient because initial times are slow. The shift from regular writing to reaching thousands of readers started with my third book. I even got positive feedback. It brought into the best-selling books and sold around 30,000 copies and still remains on the list. This was the turning point of my entire career as far as readership is concerned.
How do you feel as a woman writer? Do you think Gender is still a hindrance to a female writer?
I think the voice has changed over a period of time, and while there are things that remain as it was, in the publishing field, however, I feel that the gender bias has come down to a more considerable extent. As an entrepreneur, I come across many writers and women reaching out to us. I believe many female writers like Preeti Shenoy and Anita Desai have been writing for a long time and have gained a prominent place. So, I would say the gender bias has gone away to a great extent, at least in the publishing and academic field.
Do you believe in intuition or emotions recollected in tranquility?
I think that writing for hours and hours, I believe in intuition, and then when there is a gap for imagination, it's a pretty huge one, and when I write, I become obsessed and can continue writing for a long time.
Do you think there is any writer who has influenced you?
I love reading Ruskin Bond's works, and the other writer is Manju Kapoor, who has written 'Custody.' But these are just as a reader I enjoyed. When it comes to writing, I try to make a conscious effort to find my voice's voice. Moreover, I never read a book when I'm writing. So, the influence I don't think is in the writings. It is preferably in me as a reader.
Would you like to read your favorite line(s) from any of your works?
Sure, I'll be reading from my book, 'I Think I'm in Love.'
"When she completed what she was saying, Utkash asked, "the fact that you love might never return doesn't scare you?"
Of course, it does. But when love is your strength, patience, and acceptance accompanies it, she replied confidently. Sitting there, Utkash looked at his watch, and once he knew he had time, he narrated, "when you travel a lot, you get to experience different situations, you know, when I traveled recently, there were situations that really I did not realize… but one thing was constant, my love for completing the trek. As travelers, we always say, no matter what happens, finish your trek.
By Siddhu Tekur, Essay and Fiction Editor