Meet Radhika R – The author of Contrived Connections
Radhika, a doctorate in Mathematics, has won several honors for her literary creativity, including a gold medal in national-level short story competitions. Her interest in story writing surfaced at an early age as she discovered that her stories were received well and left a lasting effect on readers. Inspired by the appreciation she got, she went on to publish several stories in magazines. She has recently published her book of short stories entitled ‘A Canopy of Carnations’ which was acknowledged well with good reviews. Having done her schooling at St. Joseph’s Convent and graduation from Providence College for Women in the hill station of Coonoor, her stories are inspired by the scenic beauty of the mountains and surrounding regions. Her simple language and flavor of nativity help the reader bond with the characters in her stories. After completing her post-graduation from Madras Christian College and her Ph.D., she went on to teach Mathematics to engineering students at renowned institutions for more than a decade and currently coaches students in Chennai while satisfying her appetite for writing.
Tell us something about your background.
Born as Radhika Ramachandran one cold February morning in the hill station of Coonoor in the Nilgiris, I was brought up in a strict yet loving family of four members. I did my schooling in St.Joseph’s Convent and went on to pursue my graduate degree in Mathematics in Providence College for Women, Coonoor. Encouraged by the Gold Medal I received for obtaining University First Rank in my under graduate degree, I aspired to complete my post-graduation in Madras Christian College. I added to my name an M.Phil degree in Mathematics in 2000. I started my career as a college lecturer and by then settled down into marriage by the age of 23. I continued to pursue my studies after the birth of my two daughters and completed an M.S., degree in Education Management. Gradually I obtained my doctorate in Mathematics. After working for a decade teaching Mathematics at college, I now coach students at my center in Chennai.
When and how did you start your writing journey?
I was a insatiable reader at a very early age, thanks to my school teachers. Reading directed me towards writing and I began penning down my thoughts in the form of poetry or stories. The first thought of taking up writing seriously stemmed from the Gold Medal I won in All India Short Story Writing Competitions. I sent my first short story to a magazine publisher in Chennai and received my first payment for the same at the age of fourteen. From then on, I continued to publish stories in magazines and articles in newspapers from time to time.
What is your book all about?
My first book was published in 2020 November. Titled ‘A Canopy of Carnations’, it is a collection of short stories that deals with human emotions and the lives of ordinary people. My second book was published in 2021 March by Clever Fox Publishing. Titled ‘Contrived Connections’, it a novel that speaks about the story of two colleagues who happen to visit a tiny hamlet in Kerala to attend their friend’s wedding and how they are confronted with situations they least expect.
What prompted you to write this book?
I was always concerned with the finer feelings of the fairer sex and often felt the need to express the circumstances of women living in diverse regions of the world. I wanted to delve into human emotions and this story line just ran in my mind.
How was your pre-writing experience? What urged you?
When I sit down to write it takes me a few minutes to warm up to the character and I am not satisfied till I get the feel of the character. Once I cross a page, I get into the character and start living in the story. The character lives in me as I plough through my other work…It was always that way.
How was your writing experience? Smooth or bumpy?
I never thought of how my experience was. It was a natural feeling. It just filled me with satisfaction and craving to write more. I wrote when I got time and felt like it.
How much did your publishers contribute? Did they ease the process for you?
My publishers contributed by patiently listening to my queries. I must definitely put a word of thanks to Mr. Ranjan Mohapatra of Clever Fox Publishing for always being there to dispel my fears and encourage me. I must also mention Ms. Shwetha Trivedi, my Project Manager for assisting me in every step and conveying my expectations to the teams involved precisely.
What is the reaction of your family and friends to you writing this book?
Happy that I was on a writing spree! I am lucky to have friends and family who encouraged me to write and bought the book the instant it was live!
Mention the people who supported you in this journey.
This book would have been impossible without the grace of God, my family members including my daughters who pitched in now and then with their suggestions and helped me review the book. I must mention the efforts taken by my publishers to make the process as smooth as possible.
How is your book going to impact the readers?
My book will help bring out the plight of women in some villages even today and at the same time help men and women realize that both sexes are equally important in a society. I guess the readers will be able to relate to some of the characters and situations as it deals with the life of ordinary people.
How do you deal with negative comments if any?
Criticism is essential for growth. I take all comments positively. I analyse the comments and decide its merit. I try to incorporate it in my next work. In case of unfair comments I just shrug my shoulders and understand that everyone has the right to be wrong!
Who are your literary mentors and role models?
I am a die hard fan of Ayn Rand, John Grisham and Jeffrey Archer. I savour and taste their words as I lap up their novels. In classical literature I have always enjoyed Shakespeare, Keats and Hardy.
What are your upcoming writing ventures?
I am planning to write a book for children soon but have not yet made any concrete plans.
Any piece of advice for our aspiring writers?
Write as much as you can, it will fill your heart with satisfaction and your life will find a new purpose when you realise your characters are living in the hearts of your readers too.