Kanika is well-known to most of us bloggers. During the A-Z challenge, she wrote about Women’s Health on her blog. I was truly fascinated by her strong Feminist voice. As someone who is very vocal about Feminist issues, I connected with Kanika almost instantly. It was later that I got to know about her penchant for writing children’s stories. Did you know that she has written and published over 15 books on children? She has recently written a book on teenagers or young adults as she calls them – ‘Growing Pains’. It’s a book about friendships, sisterly bonds, the mother-daughter relationship and teenage issues. Time to meet this amazingly talented and popular author…Kanika G!!
Kanika G, a physicist by training and a mother of two girls, started writing to entertain her older daughter with stories, thus opening the floodgates on a suppressed passion. Today she has written several children’s stories and blogs on various parenting and feminist issues.
How does Kanika seamlessly move from an article on women’s issues to a cartoon series (Nina & Nana) filled with wit and humour while writing a children’s book at the same time? Kanika reveals the answer to this question in a fun interview.
- Your newly published eBook is about teenage angst and revolves around an operation. Which is your favourite chapter in the book and why?A: General Mama Leads The Charge, because it was the most amusing and exciting one, and because I had to step out of my comfort zone to write it. But I love The Million Dollar Question almost as much, because of the giggly girl talk between the twins, that took me back to my own teenage conversations with my best friend.
2. You have written around 15 books for children! Kudos! Give us some tips to write a good children’s book.
A: I use my daughter as a sounding board for my books. If she is listening with rapt attention, I know I have a winner. If she is surreptitiously scooting off to play with the cat, then it’s back to the drawing board for me. I heavily draw upon my daughter’s experiences and my own childhood experiences for ideas to make the stories easy for kids to relate to.
- You have a strong voice while writing about women’s issues. You obviously write differently for children. You also have a witty and ‘punny’ side to you that shows up in your cartoon series and other stories. How easy or difficult is it to put on all these different hats?
A: I find it helps to change hats regularly. Each of them needs time to be laundered and refreshed. I noticed that switching hats keeps writer’s block at bay and makes me more productive. Besides, engaging my mind in different directions helps me find new perspectives and make interesting connections.
- Why do you have a pen-name?
A: Initially, it was because I was shy and because if people googled my name, my Physics publications would dominate the search results. But now, I just enjoy having an alternate identity. It makes me feel like a superhero and helps me shed my inhibitions and try new things.
- Have there been times that you have started writing a story and just not been able to finish it? Have they stayed abandoned or have you taken it up at a later point in life when all the jigsaw pieces finally fell in place? Tell us about it.
A: Yes, I started writing a novel about a dancer setting up her dance class business whilst trying to find a life partner. It was titled Soles and Soulmates. But the plot fizzled out half way through and I could never get it to work. The chapters had an episodic style to them, so I tweaked them a little and published some of the chapters as short stories on my blog.
- Which is the one genre you just don’t see yourself reading and/or writing?
A: Horror! It frightens the bejeezus out of me.
- If you could re-write the ending of a book, what would you choose and why?
A: I tried Arthur Clarke for the first time this year. I really enjoyed 2001 A Space Oddessey, until I reached the last few chapters. I loved the accelerated evolution triggered by aliens meticulously explained in the book and everything was so plausible, until the end, where things went off the rails and flew off into the realm of mysticism or magic.
I have nothing against mysticism or magic. I am a major Potterhead and huge Percy Jackson fan. I just don’t like it mixed up with scientific ideas.
- How do you overcome Writer’s Block?
A: I spend time with my kids. It makes me feel good and often triggers ideas for a children’s story or parenting blog post, to get me out of a rut. As I mentioned before, switching hats, or exploring something new also helps.
- Describe your process for research while writing.
A: I look up various sources and study the phenomenon or the data and interpretations. I try to learn about things from various angles to get a complete picture. For hot-button issues that people have strong opinions about, even reliable sources often report a one-sided view of the situation, so I deliberately play devil’s advocate to get the opposite view to developing a more balanced perspective. In my articles, I include links to the sources where I get my information. If my source is somewhat obscure, I try to cross-check with better-known sources.
- Share some valuable tips for publishing and marketing an eBook.
A: I think this is the biggest challenge an author faces. I publish ebooks in multiple formats so they can be read on any device. It may help to get professional and blogger reviews and have your book up for sale on as many platforms as possible for visibility, but I am no expert, and I am still learning the ropes here.
I want to thank the three musketeers Ash, Pri and Ansh (did you guys notice you share the first letters of names with the original three musketeers, Athos, Porthos and Aramis?) for hosting #AuthorChat and helping spread the word about self-published books. You gals rock!
Thirteen-year-old Tara is in a new school in a new town, and she is feeling very sick. It turns out that she needs an emergency appendectomy. This is a story about her anxiety before the surgery, the hurdles she faces during recovery, and amusing visits from quirky friends and well-wishers. At the same time, Tara finds herself attracted to a boy from her class. It’s the first time she has ever had a crush. Plagued by confusing emotions and hormones, Tara tries to figure out this new, befuddling and complicated world.
You can download Kanika’s eBook ‘Growing Pains’ from Amazon. The paperback edition is available here. Do read Aesha and Lakshmi Mitter‘ reviews of her book. You could also visit Kanika’s Goodreads page here.
Kanika, heartfelt best wishes for your eBook and all your future endeavours. Wishing you continued success!!
I would love to know how this interview experience was for you, @KanikaGee. Wasn’t it a fun interview? Do comment and let me know if you agree.
This interview is a part of a series conducted jointly by @anshuwrites, @priyreflects and me. I had a lot of fun catching up with Arjun Gupta, Rashi Roy, Tomichan Matheikal, Varad and Saba as well. In case you haven’t caught those interviews, please do so and share your thoughts! Our aim is that each one of you finds something to take away from the honest and heartfelt experiences shared by the authors. 🙂