The Chennai Killings by Chital Mehta is an atmospheric crime thriller told with multiple POVs. It is a book that translates a complex mystery into pieces, distributes them well throughout the book, and surprises you with its climax. The book has received some of the raving reviews.
I was lucky enough to interview the person behind this multilayered novel, Chital Mehta, who talked about herself, her writing, her views on readership, and a lot more. Let’s explore:
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I penned down my first fiction novel “I Luv My Lyf” in 2009 through which I discovered my first streak in writing. In the following years, I wrote ‘The Promise’ (2010), ‘Are you the one for me?’ (2011) and ‘A Heart’s Whisper’ in (2013) which taught me more than any writing class could have. My latest mystery novel ‘The Chennai Killings‘ is available on Amazon. Read more about the book in further pages.
Currently, I am living in the States, working on my next big ‘book’ (I know, that’s what every writer says). I completed my MFA in creative writing with fiction emphasis at Lindenwood University (because hey, there is no end to learning). When I am not in front of my laptop, I am usually doing dishes or running behind my toddler son who keeps me grounded to reality or cooing over my baby girl, the recent addition in my family. Well, my husband is also my constant companion who is my roomie, my bestie and my punching bag (God bless husbands).
Also, I am constantly ranting about my life in my blog about my opinions and my fun motherly experiences.
When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
Sometime after the birth of my son and after writing four novels, I decided I wanted to take writing seriously.
What inspires you to write books? What are the things which catch your attention?
The writing style of an author matters to me a lot. I think storytelling is an art. The world needs more stories to laugh and love.
Tell something in brief about your book ‘The Chennai Killings’? How did the idea of coming up with this book strike you? What amount of research you did for this one.
My latest release ‘The Chennai Killings’, a crime thriller was developed mostly through my second pregnancy. The plot idea came to me in 2016 when my husband read headlines about the infamous Swathi murder case that rocked Tamil Nadu. He pushed me to develop a story.
I did a lot of research online to understand how people got motivated to commit murders and what pushed them towards it. In my experience, character development and plot sketching are very essential to begin a story. At times, I allow my characters to surprise me as I write through the story.
Do you see books as a carrier of an important message or a medium of entertainment?
Not really. If everything in the world came with a message, I think it would be boring. As long as readers leave happy when they finish my books, I would think I have done my job. And if you don’t enjoy it, that’s fine too. I am always working at getting better so you might like my next work.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
I usually try to write for 30 minutes in the morning, before anybody wakes up. This is also the time when I turn off mobiles, TV and disconnect the Internet on my laptop. It’s easy to get distracted while writing as this only hampers my writing schedule.
Have you ever faced writer’s block? If yes, how did you overcome it?
In spare time, I spend a lot of time reading interviews of writers to understand how they write on a daily basis and how they dealt with rejection. When I can’t work on a novel, I follow timed writing for five to ten minutes on any random topic that helps me refresh my writing. Many websites offer writing prompts that are helpful. I maintain a weekly journal where I document my writing experiences or any problems that I face. I also maintain a motherhood blog where I document my hilarious experiences as a mother. All this helps me keep my writing muscle in shape.
When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or a full-time profession?
I am still young! Haha. But in my 20’s I wasn’t very sure about it. Now, ten years later, I definitely see a living through writing.
What does literary success look like to you?
To me, it’s about following your calling. If I listen to the voices inside my head, I think I am content with it. Writing is about reaching out to people. That’s what success is to me.
How would you describe the contemporary scenario of writing and reading?
Pass. I can’t comment on this one.
How important is marketing a book in the present conditions when every day we see new titles coming up? Any tips to share?
Marketing is essential for any book to reach out there. There is no point in writing a great book with poor marketing. The trick is to write an awesome book and put in full effort for marketing. Sure, there is a competition but it’s important to become creative. I guess book giveaways are awesome to reach a wider audience.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors? What is your favourite genre? Your favourite book/s?
I read as much as I can. I have two kids so sometimes, it’s hard to find the time. But my idea is never to be out of touch so I always keep a book handy. Stephen King and Nicholas Sparks are my favourites.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
P.S I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
The Stars Shine Down by Sidney Sheldon
The Discovery of the Titanic by Robert Ballard
Your favourite pass time and hobbies.
Watching movies and reading new books.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Well, just the same old thing- be yourself. Believe me, it’s easy to say this but equally hard to be yourself at all times. But I have suggestions for writers who are beginning to write. Have a lot of faith in yourself, write what you like the most, pay attention to what happens inside you, don’t take life too seriously and lastly, read a lot, really, A LOT.
Are we going to hear more from you in the future?
Yes. You will.
*We wish Author Chital Mehta all the best for her future endeavors.*