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Bestseller novelist Padma Viswanathan

Not many debut authors get to see their novels make the best-seller list and when Padma Viswanathan’s husband sent her an e-mail about her being at number 6, at first she thought it was a joke e-mail.

“I thought it was one of those e-mails in which an image is Photoshopped onto another, you know, like you have been photographed with Putin or something!” she laughs. “But seriously, it feels surreal. It feels so gratifying that a book I took 10 years to write – a book for which my grandma was the inspiration – is being received like this. It’s amazing that so many people identify with it – not just Indians, but also Westerners – and see the moral conundrums in The Toss of a Lemon as relevant.”

The process of writing, says Viswanathan, is different for every writer. “I don’t know anyone who would say it’s easy. It’s hard, but it’s fun. And it takes over your life! You are confronting yourself through your writing. Hemingway said he hoped to write one true thing a day and people don’t realize how hard that is. Writing is my way of making sense of my world. It’s enormously rewarding.”

Viswanathan’s writing awards include residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Banff Playwright’s Colony and the first place in the Boston Review Short Story Contest.

Posted: Oct 6, 2011

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