It’s been only a month since author Kanchana Banerjee’s first book — A Forgotten Affair — released, and the author is overwhelmed that she is already flooded with responses from her women readers.
“I have been getting beautiful messages on Facebook and otherwise, on how the book has touched them,” she says.
Relationship and women issues are among the subjects that has always been of interest to Banerjee. “Although my work for the companies was out and out corporate. I used to write articles on human interest, on women issues, relationships, lifestyle. Relationships have always intrigued and interested me. I observe people very keenly. Relationships grow with you, you observe marriages of people whether its your friend’s, parents, in-laws.
“Even if it hasn’t happened to you, you know of people who it has happened to. People open up and talk to me. Sometimes they don’t even have to say anything, unspoken words, behaviour and expression say it all. What transpires between a husband and wife at a party with their meeting or not meeting tells you so much about their relationship,” says the 45-year-old writer.
Getting one’s debut book published can be an arduous task for many budding authors, but a three-minute pitch at a literature fest quite literally changed things for Banerjee, she says. “I began writing in the month of January 2014. And finished my first draft by mid September. That’s when I got to know that Bangalore Literature Fest were starting with a new venture at their festival called Lit-Mart, which was only for first time unpublished authors.
“We were asked to send a 300 word synopsis and on the basis of which, 25 people were selected to come to Bengaluru to make a 3 minute open pitch on the novel to a panel of commissioning agents and senior editors among others. A senior editor liked my manuscript and asked me to send the whole manuscript.She liked and began to push it in Harper Collins. I signed a contract in May 2015. It gave me the platform to leave an impression on lit agents and editors,” she says.
Speaking about her book, Banerjee shares that it’s more than just a love story. “The books on the face of it looks like a love story.It is partially based in Mumbai and Gurgaon. The issues that the story deals with strikes a chord with most married women. Its been released under the imprint of Harlequin which is why many people think it’s a love story.
“It’s a relationship, marital drama that talks about infidelity, emotional abuse that happens in marriages that happens to educated women in affluent homes who are married to very highly qualified men who are earning the big bocks, and how they minimise their wives. Its about ego and control in a marriage. I can only speak to women in our country, I am sure it’s a global phenomenon. Women in our country resonate with these issues.Very often, these things happen and they don’t even realise that they are being minimised,”adds the Gurgaon resident.
A person who enjoys stories in all forms, Banerjee confesses to be a voracious reader herself. “I love TV series, movies, books and I read for entertainment. When I write, I want to make it an interesting read for the readers. If I am not having fun writing and reading what I have written, then nobody will have fun reading it. The motive behind writing this book was not to send a social message but the intent was to write a book which people will like reading. And after reading the book, if something moves inside the reader, my job is done.”