Interview with Shilpi Somaya Gowda, Author of The Golden Son
22 Mar 2016
It’s the story of two childhood friends from an Indian village: Anil Patel, the “golden son” of his family, and a girl named Leena. Their lives start in same place, but then diverge when Anil goes to America to pursue his ambition of becoming a doctor, and Leena moves to another village to have an arranged marriage. Their paths cross again later in life, when they are adults, the stakes are higher, and everything is more complicated.
If you had to pick one place to vacation for the rest of your life, where would you choose?
Hawaii. Nothing beats the warm ocean, sand and sunshine for instant relaxation. I would spend all day paddle-boarding and reading.
What’s on your writing desk?
I have a very simple desk because I find it helps me think more clearly. Usually, it’s just my laptop, a vintage desk lamp, a container of pens and pencils, and a coaster for my ever-present cup of tea.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a foreign war correspondent. I thought it would be exciting to travel abroad and report from the front lines of dangerous places. I’m sure my parents loved that idea.
What fictional literary world would you most like to visit?
I would love to be a teacher at Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School. My kids might finally think I’m cool and I’d come back with all sorts of tricks to play on my family.
What will your next adventure be?
I have another novel simmering in my mind. I can’t say much about it, because I’m still shaping it and doing research on my subject matter, but I’m excited to sit down and start writing soon.
What’s your favorite quote or scene from The Golden Son?
There’s a scene at the midpoint of the novel in which one of the characters is subject to a violent attack. It was difficult for me to write through that brutality, and I still have an emotional reaction every time I read it. I don’t enjoy it, per se, but I’m proud of it.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
My favorite advice for life is embodied in the poem Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann from 1927. A couple of my favorite lines: “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself” and “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
Shilpi Somaya Gowda is the author of the new book The Golden Son.
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