Ever since she was four years old, Ishita’s bond with books was sealed. Not that it’s been very long since then. All of 15, Panchkula-based Ishita Agarwal is the proud writer of a novel called Lieable.
Having grown up listening to stories narrated by her father, a Haryana-cadre IAS officer, Ishita says that once she got hooked to books, there was no stopping her. “Once I had inculcated the habit of reading, the influence of writers such as John Green, Meg Cabot and Louise Rennison was an added advantage. Another factor that went in my favour was my visit to the US along with my dad.
There, when I was in the fourth grade, I met a teacher named Kimberly Schafer who made me realise that writing can be a lot of fun. That’s when I discovered an amateur writer within me,” smiles Ishita, a Class 10 student in a Chandigarh school.
Soon, the young girl had got down to the business of penning down her thoughts, though without the intention of getting her writings published. “The draft for my first book, which I called Her Heart Speaks, was written by me when I was in the fifth grade. But, it remains unpublished till date as it had an American backdrop and thus did not suit the taste of Indian publishers,” she says.
However, Ishita did gain a Delhi-based publishing house’s approval, though it was for her novel Lieable. In Lieable, the protagonist Janya — with whom Ishita says she can relate — possesses the peculiar ability to detect lies. “Lieable means the ability to lie. Initially, the title did not make sense to me, but my editor — of Om Books International — told me to stick to it. It took me a year and a half to complete the book and then I edited it almost 50 times. It also has bits about the father-daughter relation, some school drama and fantasy — it’s a complete teen read,” she says.
The young writer confesses it wasn’t easy to get her book printed. “At first, many big publishing houses refused to print my book as it is a children’s book written by a young writer. But then, there was someone who had faith in me,” she smiles, adding with a laugh, “As a teenager, of course I write all that I can imagine. But, one thing that’s common in all my writings is the ‘superpower’ effect.
Sometimes, I feel that life would have been so interesting if we all possessed some superpower.”
Though she believes that books are “exaggerated versions of real life,” Ishita also thinks they portray some parts of reality. “I wonder why some people lie. At times, this trait in others puts me off completely. I know that sometimes one has to lie a little bit to keep loved ones happy, but our lies shouldn’t hurt others. That’s why I wrote an ‘exaggerated’ version about a girl with the power to detect others’ lies,” says Ishita.
The young girl, who is writing another book, says she believes in coming up with crazy ideas and then adding the superpower effect.