Place of BirthGorakhpur
City of residenceHyderabad
- The Vigil and Other Stories
- Catherine Dickens: Outside the Magic Circle
- Take 2: A Collection of Short Stories
Children’s books (Novels)
- Cheetaka, Queen of Giants
- Hunt for the Horseman
- King Neptune’s Delite
Children’s books (Chapter books)
- Cinderella’s Escape
- Dearie: A Tale of Courage
- Daksha, the Medicine Girl
- The Forbidden Forest
- Krishta, Daughter of Martev
- The Magician’s Turban
- The Homeless Birds
Children’s books (Short story collections)
- The Dinosaur Puzzle and Other Stories
- Theft at the Fair and Other Stories
- The Unicycle and Other Stories
- Rangeela Tales: Book 1
- Rangeela Tales Book 2
- Rangeela Tales: Book 3
Children’s books (Picture books)
- The Ant Thief
- Bala-Gala the Brave and Dangerous
Gita V. Reddy was born in Gorakhpur. Her family moved to Hyderabad when she was four and Hyderabad has been her home since then.
She obtained a master’s degree in Mathematics from Hyderabad Central University. However, instead of pursuing a career in academics, she joined State Bank of Hyderabad as a Probationary Officer. After working for twenty-six years in the bank, she quit her job to take up full time writing.
The Vigil and Other Stories was published by Leadstart Publishing in 2013. Soon after that, she became an indie writer and published King Neptunes Delite. During the last two years she has published three novels, nine chapter books, six short story collections, and two picture books, all for children of different ages.
Gita Reddy has authored a historical fiction under the pseudonym, Heera Datta. She has also collaborated with an author from South Africa, L. Meadow, to take out a short story collection.
Gita Reddy is married to a Physics Professor and has a son who is also doing research in Neuro-Electronics.
Besides reading, she enjoys music and art, and visiting places of natural beauty.
Fantastic Five – Five of my favourite books
To make it easier to choose, I picked the books I enjoy rereading the most.
Godaan – Munshi Prem Chand
My Experiments with Truth – Mahatma Gandhi
Far From the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
Gora – Rabindranath Tagore
Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind is in the list for a different reason: it was the first romance I read. 🙂
Tell us about your earliest attempts at writing. When, where and from whom did you learn the nittygritties of writing?
I was always a storyteller. Even as a child, I loved weaving stories but I did not attempt to write them. My earliest writing was for the school house magazine and for various competitions. It was mostly essays or a creative writing piece on a given topic.
I wrote my first story when I was thirty-four. It was out of necessity because my eleven year-old was a stickler for accuracy. He wanted each retelling to be exactly the same as the original version. He told me if I could not remember what I’d told him the first time, I should write down the story and he would read it.
I did not have the opportunity to learn the craft from anyone. However, right at the beginning, I received some valuable tips from an English professor. I had shown him some of my stories and he told me, very nicely, that he had enjoyed my essays! And they were really essays because they had very few dialogues. He told me to add more dialogue, add color, sound, smell, taste, and have shorter paragraphs for children’s books. I worked on those tips, and made eight to ten revisions. When I was satisfied, I showed them to him, and he said my stories were well-written. That was only the beginning. It has been a steep learning curve and I’m still on it.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
Most of the time,
An idea only triggers a story. The characters and situations are mostly based on conscious or unconscious observations of real life.
What does your typical writing day look like?
I debuted late so I do not have the luxury of short working days. That’s playing the martyr 🙂 The truth is that I’m enjoying the freedom to write as long as I want. I start writing by mid-day, and continue late into the night.
I work on more than one project and also spend some time designing my book covers.
What is one habit / trait of yours that makes you effective / productive as an author?
I am rather hard on myself.
What is the one thing that you recommend every aspiring author should do?
Tell us something about yourself that very few people know?
I am left-handed.
Does technology (the Internet, software tools) help you in your writing process? If yes, can you tell us about them?
We are so used to our PCs and laptops that they do not count as technology. But I think I wouldn’t be a writer if I had to write in longhand. Even if I was a writer, I wouldn’t have edited my work the number of times I do.
I use the internet for crosschecking references and that saves a lot of time. It also allows me to use different locales for my stories.
An author friend told me she uses Scrivener. It helps her in formatting and editing. I’m planning to try it out.
Is there any other way in which technology can help you in your work as writer?
Writing comes from your mind, your heart, your imagination. Technology can be a tool to transfer it into print faster. It is a tool; it does not make you a writer.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others? (include websites, blogs or Twitter profiles, etc).
The greatest influence in my life has been Mahatma Gandhi. I know it is no longer fashionable to say so, but I find he had an answer to every problem mankind faces today. His thinking was very clear, and he articulated his thoughts in a concise, no nonsense manner. He had the courage to hold a mirror to himself. He was forever learning from his own mistakes.
Can you tell about what you are currently writing and other works in the pipeline?
I mostly write for children of all ages. I have also written a historical fiction, Catherine Dickens: Outside the Magic Circle.
I am working on a period novel for grownups and editing a collection of short stories for adults. I’m also busy with my third picture book titled, Leapfrog.
Did you always have the inherent wish to be a full-time writer, even while you were working at the bank?
A manager’s job in an Indian public sector bank is very demanding. So is writing. For thirteen years, I wrote in bits and starts, mostly late into the night or on Sundays. It was very frustrating. I never had the time to edit my work or send it to a publisher. Finally, I quit. It was a painful decision because I was enjoying my job, I found it challenging, but I had to choose, and I chose writing.
Most of what I have published is edited versions of stories I wrote while working in the bank or developed from story outlines scribbled then.
Some of your stories talk in detail about works of art. Are you an artist yourself? Do you have a special interest in art?
You are referring to The Gift and The Square, both from The Vigil and Other Stories. The Gift is a love story and The Square takes a look at how society views success. The stories would have been the same if Mukul Dev was a singer instead of a painter, or the friends in The Square had graduated from business school instead of art school.
Yet I chose them to be artists. That’s what unfulfilled desire does to you. 🙂 By the way, the painting on the book cover of The Vigil and Other Stories is done by me.
I quote from a review of Daksha, the Medicine Girl, “I wonder why the urban and educated always think that formal school education is the best thing that can happen to one. Why not let Daksha be in her hamlet, helping people in and around her village? Why not let Daksha learn more of whatever she learnt from Panditji?”
Would you like to respond?
First of all, if one is forced into education or any vocation, the result is likely to be poor. Nobody forces Daksha. Dr. Hemalatha knows about her ‘natural passion’ and she uses it to motivate Daksha into continuing her schooling. That is what parents and educators should do; they should identify what the child is interested in.
Without formal education, Daksha may have become the vaidya of her place. By going to school she became an orthopaedic surgeon and a researcher in Himalayan Medicinal Plants. Formal education did not kill her passion; it armed her with greater tools.
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PlusMinus’n’More: Thank you Ms Gita V Reddy, for being our guest on F-pages and sharing with us your experiences as a writer.