Recently I got this opportunity to have a candid conversation with Bina Pillai, author of the book “Under The Mango Tree”. Over the chat, she shared a few things about the book and herself, her journey with her book, her passion for writing. She has some wonderful advice for upcoming writers.
“Under the mango tree” written by author Bina Pillai, is the story of an Indian woman, her dreams, her sacrifices, her efforts, and her combat with hurdles of life for self-respect and independence.
So, let’s start with the fun conversation
And yes, don’t forget to get your favorite drink or snacks with you 😉
Hello Bina Ma’am! Tell us something about you and your book.
I’m Bina Pillai, in love with life, passionate about people, love, and nature. I love knowing about people, and helping them if they’re in need. My strength is tolerance and perseverance. I’m a good listener, and good at multi-tasking. I’m passionate about everything I do. I enjoy traveling and learning about different cultures and traditions. I’m a foodie and like all the cuisines, especially Thai food. I can easily converse with a man just the way I can do with women so I have male and female friends. I have never had an opportunity to say ‘#Me Too’ because men normally give me respect and treat me as their equal. I like organizing events though I have stage fright, and normally like being behind the scene.
I had a dream as a child to become an author someday but that happened only when I turned sixty. My first book published book was ‘Lyrical Rhythms of My Heart’, published by Notion Press. I was happy to receive the National Rising star award for this book in the category of Art & Culture at a grand ceremony in Hotel JWC Marriott.
My second book “Under the Mango Tree” was published in November 2019. I’m delighted this book has done very well among the readers and I have sold more than one thousand copies. This book is set in an abusive marriage and chronicles. Diya’s strenuous journey from her teens to her sixties, and how Diya fights all her battles alone with one mantra “I CAN.”
This book definitely has the potential of inspiring so many people out there. How did the idea of writing this book strike your mind?
I wanted to write a book and I was inspired by my own life and the people around me. I thought when it’s genuine it would touch a reader’s heart. I have touched upon social issues in this book because I find many women and some men caught in the whirlpool of life, giving up on life easily. I wanted to give some strong messages to them and inspire them.
Authors have their own journey with their book right from writing it down to getting it published. Would you like to share your bittersweet journey with this book?
My journey was exciting. I believe once we have a strong plot the rest of the story becomes easy to pen. I knew my plot was strong. However, it was partly biography so it was an emotional journey though I could remember every detail vividly. Sometimes, I would cry while writing but writing is a good therapy so it also heals. When I started writing, “Under the Mango Tree,” I had lost twenty thousand words from my mobile notepad. It had got deleted, and so I set it aside and then wrote poems for my poetry book, “Lyrical Rhythms of My Heart.” At the end of the year I had written sixty poems so decided to publish the poetry book first.
However, I had not forgotten UTMT and then went back to those twenty thousand words, and I was surprised very soon I had penned down all that I thought I had lost. I wrote the titles of all the chapters first, and wrote the story according to each chapter remembering to start the next chapter where I end it. So I could maintain the perennial flow till the end of the book. The story is set in the 1970s era, though I could remember even the smallest detail, I had to do some research too so that I don’t get my facts wrong. I was lucky to find a good editor in Dhivya Balaji, which made the work easier. We agreed on everything so it was easy to work with her. Editing is an integral part of the polishing process. I had wanted to publish my book traditionally, and I went through a literary agent, Suhail Mathur. I was happy to get ‘Big foot Publications’ for this book.
After losing twenty thousand words and starting afresh, this clearly shows your love and dedication for this book.
Now, this is something that your readers will love to explore about you, so tell us what do you enjoy doing apart from reading or writing books?
I’m very good at multitasking. I love photography, cooking, gardening, traveling, baking, interior designing, event management etc. I had designed my own home along with my daughter. I take up social causes. I taught primary school children for three years. I was the committee member of our housing society, and looked after Housekeeping for 8 years.
You mean all-rounder. It’s very well said that, once a woman decides something to do, there is nothing that can stop her.
Would you like to share something about your other books?
I had published my poetry book, “Lyrical Rhythms of My Heart” in 2017 and won the National Rising Star award for it in the Art and Culture category. The book did very well and is available on amazon. I have two more books on the pipeline. “Nuggets of Wisdom” is my next book which is a collection of short stories with an inspiring message at the end. Another poetry book “Mystical Dewdrops” would be published next year.
That is really great! Looking forward to reading more such masterpiece from you.
So, here comes my last question for you. What will be the one advice you want to give to budding writers?
“Keep reading books. The more one reads the better you can write.
Go for traditional publishing. Your book has more value than self -publishing.”
Thankyou so much for all your time and such candid answers Bina ma’am and it was really fun talking to you. I wish you all the best for ‘Under the Mango Tree’ and hope the message that this book is trying to convey, reaches its intended audience.
Check this book here