another of our 2016 Joan Hessayon Award contenders. Thank you for answering our
my day job at university I published a book on English literature but only
started to write fiction five years ago. Although aspiring to be a novelist, I
initially succeeded in having short stories published in, for example, Stories
for Homes, an anthology of short stories in aid of the homeless and another in
aid of the Beanstalk Charity for children with reading problems. I loved the
fact that my writing took me to places I had never been before from the comfort
of my desk – these two short stories were set in Australia and the States but I
embarked on my most imaginative journey for my novel. The Giants Look Down is set in the Vale of Kashmir and the first
draft was long listed for the Mslexia
first novel prize. Unable to find an agent or a publisher, I joined the RNA, as
Cornerstones Literary Consultancy told me how supportive the Association is of
new writers. Well, they were right because the NWS made all the difference for
member of the NWS and did you submit a manuscript each year?
have been a member of the NWS for two years and submitted two manuscripts. When
I got the first manuscript back, I followed most of the suggestions and found
my agent almost immediately!
and then publisher (both after my first MS had passed through the NWS- thank
it that represents you?
was extremely lucky to catch the attention of Jane Conway-Gordon. Although
British, she grew up in India and could vouch for the authenticity of the
setting, having actually been to some of the places I described. She loved my
novel and immediately signed me.
agent found them
one book with an option on the second
ten, Jaya decides to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a doctor like
her father much to the chagrin of her mother and the patriarchal community she
lives in. It is the 1960s and the family enjoys a rather
idyllic life in the Vale of Kashmir, despite the area being riddled with
conflict and poverty.
Jaya battles against the odds, which include an earthquake and the prospect of
an arranged marriage, to pursue her dream in Scotland, where she not only has
to navigate a foreign culture but the torrents of love.
widow’s quest to solve the mystery surrounding her husband’s death in the wilds
give current members of the NWS?
give up. If you have talent, keep going and you will get published!
you, Sonja, we hope you have a fabulous evening at the RNA Summer Party and
good luck with your writing career.