Updated: Aug 22
Curious about the magic behind the pages of Shani T's enchanting stories? Join us as we unravel the author's insights in an exclusive Q&A session that dives deep into her literary world.
What's the most unexpected lesson you've learned throughout your writing and publishing journey?
A: That's an intriguing question to begin with! One of the most surprising lessons I've gained from my writing experience is the realization of my untapped creativity. Over time, I had convinced myself that I lacked creative prowess, a self-defeating perspective that contradicted my advice to young minds. It might have stemmed from an unhealthy habit of comparing myself to others.
However, embarking on the journey of creating books transformed my outlook. I uncovered a wellspring of creativity within me, reminding me not to measure my ingenuity against anyone else's. Once I started crafting the books, my creativity surged, and the ideas began to flow effortlessly.
What's the secret ingredient in your storytelling recipe that makes readers fall in love with your characters?
A: If I were to reveal the magic behind it all, the secret lies in authenticity. My writing resonates the most when I stay true to the essence of the story. My pursuit is to portray stories faithfully, paying homage to their subjects, and offering meaningful insights to readers. By embracing authenticity, my tales resonate more profoundly, inviting readers to connect with characters and experiences that are genuinely relatable.
My commitment to authenticity ensures that the stories I craft are genuine, relatable, and ultimately engaging. Each one is rooted in or inspired by real-life events.
Can you share your top tip for overcoming writer's block and keeping the creative juices flowing?
A: When writer's block inevitably strikes, I've learned to let it run its course. It's a signal for me to take a breather, and I don't try to force creativity. I prefer taking a pause and returning to the task later with fresh eyes and renewed energy. This happened quite recently while working on my "Shani and the Firefly" story. With so many stories floating around in my mind, I often switch gears to a different one, giving myself the freedom to explore various narratives. There's no secret formula for overcoming writer's block; it's about finding what works best for you.
Writer's block is something I've come to accept as part of the process. Instead of battling it, I see it as an opportunity to unwind and rejuvenate. Forcing the creative process doesn't yield good results, especially when feeling stuck.
What's your favorite scene from one of your books, and why does it hold a special place in your heart?
A: Among all the scenes, the one that stands out is when the Six horse wins the race. This moment holds a special place because it mirrors a powerful lesson about unwavering faith. Despite the horse's slow start and last-place position, I held steadfast belief in its victory. This scene resonates beyond the book, reminding me of the significance of trust both in writing and in life. Just as I trusted the horse's potential, I've learned to trust in my stories and convictions without wavering.
Could you give aspiring authors a sneak peek into your writing process and how you bring your stories to life?
A: My creative approach is anchored in always having a notebook or my phone within reach. Mornings often bring spontaneous story ideas or captivating titles that I swiftly pen down to preserve their essence. Even if I don't dive into them right away, I ensure to document these flashes of inspiration.
My stories spring from various sources – childhood memories, personal experiences, and valuable life lessons. Whenever an idea surfaces, I record it immediately or brainstorm potential book titles. Next comes the outlining phase, where I delve into the core of the story. I dissect what I've learned from the experience, what readers can gain, and how the narrative could offer a valuable takeaway.
The creative journey varies for each story – some unfold rapidly, while others gradually reveal their layers. Being human means constant evolution, which is mirrored in my storytelling. I embrace the concept of having numerous tales ready to be shared. There's no need to confine myself to a single narrative; the diversity of experiences fuels my creativity and enriches my work.
What's your go-to method for handling feedback and revisions during the publishing journey?
A: Handling feedback and revisions during the publishing journey can be a challenging phase for me. Particularly during the editing process, instances arise where editors suggest changes or have a different perspective than mine.
While I don't have a fixed approach, I've found that effective communication is key. Expressing my perspective on the story and joining forces with editors to preserve my vision while incorporating edits is crucial. Once a shared understanding is reached, editors grasp my creative direction, and together, we proceed collaboratively toward the final product. This method helps strike a harmonious balance between maintaining my narrative intent and embracing necessary enhancements.
Watch our Video on Shani's Collection of Books
Can you share a story about a real-life experience that inspired a captivating element in one of your books?
A: Certainly! One vivid memory that sparked a captivating element in my storytelling revolves around my grandmother's resourcefulness. I recall a time when disaster seemed inevitable – a freshly baked cake had toppled over. In my eyes, it was a catastrophe, but my grandmother's calm response changed everything. Witnessing her swift action to salvage the cake left a lasting impression on me. The aroma of that cake baking, the anticipation, and the eventual rescue became an indelible part of my childhood.
This episode deeply resonated with me, symbolizing the tenacity of parents to mend situations effortlessly, just as my grandmother restored the cake. It's this essence of perseverance, nurturing, and turning adversity into triumph that I've woven into my storytelling, aiming to capture the heartwarming magic of everyday moments.
How do you stay connected with your readers and engage them beyond the pages of your books?
A: Promoting my books amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented quite a challenge. With the majority of my time spent at home due to the pandemic, navigating the promotional landscape has become quite intricate. While I predominantly utilize Instagram as my platform, my aspiration to engage in real-life events, like book fairs and gatherings, has been thwarted by the pandemic and my full-time career commitments. The situation has also led to a decline in book signings and reading opportunities, particularly for smaller authors.
Nevertheless, I'm deeply committed to my mission of donating books and sharing impactful messages with readers. Every reader's journey is unique, and I aspire to offer them a better experience through my stories. Knowing that my books may touch someone's heart during uncertain times is rewarding. Furthermore, providing books to eager young minds who may lack access due to financial constraints feels particularly significant. For me, that's the essence of being an author – fostering joy, connections, and shared experiences worldwide. Being an author is akin to being an artist, albeit through a different medium, but the purpose remains: to spread happiness and forge bonds that transcend boundaries.