About Aditi Ramaswamy:
Aditi Ramaswamy is a software developer, amateur researcher, and avid consumer of baklava. Their favourite authors are Bapsi Sidhwa and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, although they have been known to resort to reading the backs of soap bottles and tissue packets on long boring drives. They are passionate about disseminating historical truths on their blog, especially when it comes to dispelling racist tropes and myths.
Aditi has written one full book, "Nathaniel Keene", which they self-published when they were 19. Currently, they're working on their second, unrelated, novel, the first few chapters of which they have submitted (with great trepidation) to a handful of competitions. They also have 5 short stories accepted for publication by various literary magazines–one is live on The Dillydoun Review!
What inspires you to write?
I've been a bookworm since the age of five. In high school I would spend lunch camped out in the library, sitting on the floor combing through the shelves until a librarian had to come over and gently remind me not to block the aisle. But one thing bothered me all through my childhood: I didn't often see my experiences represented on the pages. I'm South Indian. I have dyspraxia and am on the autism spectrum. I longed for fantasy books with characters who embodied those traits–characters whose interactions with the world might, in some ways, mirror mine.
So I decided to create those characters. I'd start novels and stop after a few pages, or even just a first paragraph. When I look back at my old writing I'm torn between laughing and cringing–but I don't regret the worst stories I penned. Even the half-formed characters felt warm and alive to me, because I'd have poured my soul into them while writing.
Well, okay… maybe not so alive in Nat's case. But there's a lot of me in him anyway, and I've got the NAQT profile to prove it!
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
As I mentioned earlier, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez and Bapsi Sidhwa are two of my favourites. I've cried over "Water" and "Cracking India" by Ms Sidhwa multiple times, and when I picked up Garcia-Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude" I didn't put it down until I had read it cover-to-cover. Both have such lyrical, unusual ways of wording things.
I also can't go without a mention of Octavia Butler. Her books are nothing short of genius. I remember picking up "Kindred" when I was in high school and putting it down without finishing, because it was so graphically disturbing. Recently I read "Kindred" and the "Earthseed" series properly, and was blown away by the sheer brilliance of her writing. Her talent for constructing complex plots and messages without coming across as tortuous or confusing is something I truly aspire to.
Tell us about your writing process.
Step 1: An idea for a story strikes me, usually at an inconvenient moment like halfway through my shower or during a company all-hands.
Step 2: I frantically type said idea into the Notes app on iPhone.
Step 3: One month later, I find the idea and spend 10 minutes trying to figure out what the hell I meant when I wrote it down in the first place.
Step 4: Start writing. When I was just beginning out, I clung to the idea that writing wasn't something I could simply decide to do. I thought I had to feel some kind of mental lightning bolt to be able to write, which is why I left so many pieces incomplete–I didn't push myself to get something on the paper regardless of my state of inspiration. But when I wrote "Nathaniel Keene", I made myself power through the parts which felt less electric and didn't flow as easily, and realised that I was being a lot more productive using that strategy. So now, even if the storyline I'm working with is patchy and rough, I write anyway, and let the words carry me where they'd like to go.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
From when I was very young, I had a tendency to act out the movements and dialogues of characters in books I read. Descriptions of inflection and body language in text gave me a wonderful set of data which I subconsciously used in order to train myself to understand real-life inflection and body language. Even now, I do that–for the characters in the works I read as well as the ones I write. I am utterly unashamed to say that I talk to myself AS the characters, including any voice intonations and accents I'm envisioning. This is easier than it sounds when it comes to my current WIP, "Nritya"–most of the main characters are South Indian like me, and it's fun being able to write Indian-isms without feeling like my natural accent is being treated as a joke.
What advice would you give other writers?
This is cliché, but don't stop writing, even if someone tries to discourage you. Write for yourself: create stories and characters YOU would love to read. And keep reading beautiful literature. I learn something about writing with every new book I read.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I decided to self-publish "Nathaniel Keene" because I wanted to enter the Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook contest. I didn't win, but it was still a great experience–I painted my own cover art and my mother helped me catch any stray typos before my book went live.
For "Nritya" I'm hoping to get traditionally published. Although it's a far longer and more arduous process, I think it would be a really exciting journey to take!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I love that I'm seeing more varied cultures and views reflected in literature, but I think many genres–especially horror and fantasy–have a long way to go in creating a truly diverse body of work. My fond hope is that we'll see more and more authors of colour, especially people with disabilities and unique experiences!
What genres do you write?: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.