When she was five, she read My First Book – 2 Minute Stories’over and over again when finally her mother told her, “Write something of your own!” And thus it began. Sharada M Subrahmanyam began to write short stories, but soon came a time when she got bored of them, since they were short. At 13, she wrote her first novel and now at 16, she is going to launch not one, but three novels. The first two are part of a series and the third is the first part of a five-part long saga.
“I started with the first book at the age of 13 and I finished it in one-and-a-half years. I was really annoyed at everything. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do and so I decided to create a world, where people can control the uncontrollable. Since nature is the epitome of uncontrollable, my characters and plot evolve from it,” says Sharada.
The Elementals - The Beginning and the End and its sequel The Elementals – The Quest, hailing from the fantasy fiction genre, contain 12 core elements of nature including Earth, fire, Sun, the moon and stars. There are a few people, who can control these elements and they are called the elementals. The novel’s protagonist, Ella, also an elemental, battles a common enemy. The sequel, which is the period after the battle, is a thriller. The five elementals leave on a quest to gain knowledge on how to defeat the enemy.
The third novel is again a fantasy fiction, but this time, the world is made of five elements and has got a historic, adventurous plot. “The theme of my novels is that light and dark co-exist. You can’t have one without the other,” she adds. However, while Sharada set out the journey of adventure, there were times when things did not fit the theme and the flow of her stories.
“I did go through writer’s block. At times, I would write pages and then realise that it didn’t go with the theme. I would delete everything I wrote that day from my computer and start again. It was frustrating and it went on like that for days,” she said.
Her method to revive her imagination, creativity and flow of thought was to re-read from the scratch and catch hold of the broken trail of her thoughts. “Reading my own work inspires me to keep going,” she says.
Sharada reveals that she never let her parents or her brother anywhere near her while she wrote. She would lock herself up on holidays and lazy afternoons to work on her stories. Only after she was done with the first book, she went up to her mother and said, “Ma, I finished writing my first novel and I think I want to be an author when I grow up.”
Sharada’s books haven’t been edited by professionals, as her mother Chitra reveals. Chitra wanted them to remain the way they were — written by a 13-year-old— without losing its originality.
Sharada is not the only gifted writer in the family. Her 18-year-old brother has also written a novel. “I tell my brother that you wrote one, and I’ve written three already. He tells me, Yea, you are pretty good. My brother is incredible and my aim is to be better or at least as good a writer as him,” she says. While her three books are ready to be launched at Amethyst on August 1 between 4 pm and 7 pm, Sharada is already writing her fourth novel — Water’s Melody — the second part of the five-part long saga called The Heart of the Elements.