My guest this morning is the author of Freedom of the Monsoon, a novel about people living through the Quit India movement. Malika has just released a completely rewritten second edition of this book, and today she is going to talk to us about why she did that.
Why I chose to rewrite...
Three years ago, I wrote Freedom of the Monsoon (FOTM), my baby, my debut. I chose to write it for adults, a piece of historical fiction, seen from the other end of the lens – a past that is usually missed out, when that part of history is read about.
When people read of the Quit India movement, and Mahatma Gandhi, they read about politics, about the leaders, and perhaps a little bit of the thousands who became victims in this war for independence.
Rarely does one read a novel that shows the dangers, sacrifice, hopes, and fears of the Indian people during the Independence era. Freedom of the Monsoon does exactly this; it tells the story of people, whose lives changed when Quit India was called by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known as Mahatma Gandhi.
The first edition of FOTM was written with footnotes, extensive notes, and a glossary. This was for the benefit of non-Indian readers. But even if this was a idea for the paperback, it wasn’t so for an ereader experience, as many said the footnotes interfered with the formatting.
Originally, I wrote in five main characters, and to help the reader, I added their names at the top of each chapter, so the reader knew who was talking (the book was written in the first person). I don’t know if this was a factor that stumped the sales of the book, but to make the reading experience much better, I cut down to two main characters, incorporating the other three character’s stories around Dev and Pooja, who are now the main two.
Writing this book was tough, as beforehand I researched many historical facts, through many personal accounts. The accounts were put online, and told by people who had family, who lived in India at the time. Then, taking the stories – not one in particular, but many – I let myself “be” in their stories, in their lives, and feel their despair and pain, which I then transferred into fictional plots for FOTM.
The basic fact was that my book wasn’t getting read by the masses, and I tried to find the reason why this was happening. I changed the format and changed the cover many times – but still no joy. Then, in November last year, I decided to take it off “the shelf”, and revamp the whole novel, and have a professional create the cover for me. I rewrote the book, had it beta read and edited, and checked, and rechecked again, then I hit the Publish button.
I am very happy with this edition, and hope you will enjoy the experience.
Well I can only speak for myself, but I have to say I am very much enjoying it!
Freedom of the Monsoon is available at AMAZON.