Indu Sundaresan is the Internationally Best-Selling author of six novels including The Twentieth Wife, The Feast of Roses, and The Mountain of Light. Ms. Sundaresan novels primarily tell the stories of prominent, powerful women from different points in Indian history however it was her short story collection about modern Indians, In the Convent of Little Flowers, that had me crying fat, ugly tears. While sitting on a plane. On the first trip with my then boyfriend. Talk about embarrassing (but he’s now my husband so I guess it wasn’t as off-putting as I thought).
Was it the story of the woman in Seattle faced with the memories of her adoption from Indian? Was it the tale of the young widow facing death? Or perhaps it was the story of the unwed teenage mother that touched me so deeply? In truth, I don’t remember which story initially required the tissues, but I suspect it may have been any or all of them.
Over the years, I’ve read all of Ms. Sundaresan’s novels and highly recommend each and every one but if you’re going to jump in for the first time I suggest starting with In the Convent of Little Flowers, or the first book in the Taj Trilogy, The Twentieth Wife.
Before you run off to read, join the Bookish Ladies in welcoming Ms. Sundaresan to this week’s installment of Ten Questions *applause*
Ten Questions vol. 2 #7 Indu Sundaresan
Bookish Devices: What is your favorite word?
Indu Sundaresan: Imagine.
BD: What is your least favorite word?
IS: Two, actually. Writer’s block.
BD: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
IS: Since I write historical fiction, and about powerful women in India’s history—it’s their (hitherto) silent voices. A lot of the women are dehumanized, sanitized, wrapped up in auras of goodness and piety. But, in reading and consequently writing, about them, I’ve realized that they’re only too human, with flaws, with passions, sometimes not very likeable either. None of which takes away from their achievements.
BD: What turns you off?
IS: Hmmm…I don’t like deceit. Or lying. Everyone tells little white lies, that I understand, but too often and for major things, that’s incomprehensible to me.
BD: What sound or noise do you love?
IS: The seaside, the waves, a massive thunderstorm.
BD: What sound or noise do you hate?
IS: Nothing that much.
BD: If you could have drinks with any author or literary figure, who would you invite?
IS: I have many, many favorite authors, or favorite books. Being an author myself, I know authors are a part of their books, but not necessarily the whole part. Jane Austen’s still a favorite, from my teenage years—I think, I wouldn’t like to sit down with her, but maybe, a chance to glimpse her across a room, just for a little while, that would be quite nice!
BD: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
IS: Medicine, perhaps?
BD: What profession would you not like to do?
IS: Anything that involves work that doesn’t really benefit anyone (even me).
BD: What would you choose for your last meal?
IS: Again, too much to choose from. A masala dosa. Mashed potatoes. Margarita pizza. Vetta korumbu (it’s a tamarind based stew) with rice and ghee. Potato curry. Mysorepak for dessert! (You’ll notice a strong potato theme!)
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