Author: Vanitha Sankaran
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Mass-Market Paperback
The daughter of a papermaker in a small French village in the year 1320—mute from birth and forced to shun normal society—young Auda finds solace and escape in the wonder of the written word. Believed to be cursed by those who embrace ignorance and superstition, Auda's very survival is a testament to the strength of her spirit. But this is an age of Inquisition and intolerance, when difference and defiance are punishable "sins" and new ideas are considered damnable heresy. When darkness descends upon her world, Auda—newly grown to womanhood—is forced to flee, setting off on a remarkable quest to discover love and a new sense of self . . . and to reclaim her heritage and the small glory of her father's art.Browse the Book.
Get to know the Author of the Day.
What is the best part of being a writer? What is the worst?
Before I was a writer, I was a storyteller, only I never told my stories out loud. I’m much more proficient with the written word than the spoken, so most of my stories lived in my head. Being able to share the characters I create, the plots and the emotions with others is hands’ down the best part of being a writer for me. It’s a way of sharing my imagination so that you see what I see, hear what I hear. Of course, the worst part is the discipline it takes to get those words on the page. Most times what I write is not what I’m experiencing in my imagination, and it’s all to easy to find a much easier task, of course, that has to be done right now. Like the laundry.
Name one eye-opening thing you learned from your book research.
The town of Narbonne, where Watermark is set, actually had heretics living rather openly alongside traditional Christians. The area was pretty much a live-and-let-live community, at least until the Inquisitors got involved. And even then, though hundreds of people burned in nearby cities, Narbonne had only a handful of burnings. People really did protect their own.
Do you have a favorite motto?
All those who wander are not lost.
Do you have a favorite fictional hero? Favorite fictional heroine?
There are so many and they have changed over the years. When I was young, my favorite heroine was Alanna, from a series written by Tamora Pierce. The books were essentially about a girl who disguised herself as a boy so she could learn to be a knight—how cool! Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird continues to be one of my favorite heroines—she’s courageous and inquisitive and stands by what she believes. I have heroes too—Hemingway’s Old Man, for example. The difference is that I like my heroes to be understated but my heroines to shout out their courage.
Which fictional character would you hang out with?
The Great Gatsby, of course. Can you imagine the stories that man could tell?
What is one of your favorite book covers, your own or someone else’s?
I have to admit I am partial to my own cover. It truly is a work of art and so vividly portrays the subject matter and era of the story. I am one of those readers who picks up a book because the cover looks intriguing, and this is a book I would pick up!
What would readers be surprised to learn about you?
I tried very hard not to be a writer for many years, going so far as to get my Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. Strange thing though, when I started writing my dissertation, the then-first chapter of Watermark came out!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever learned by Googling your name?
If you could go backward or forward in time which would you chose? Why?
Forward, definitely. I can imagine, with the help of historical evidence, what the past was like. I would love to see if my predictions of the future bear out at all.
Vanitha, please tell us more about your recent release by Harper Collins “WATERMARK”?
Gosh, I could write a whole other book on this.:) The story behind Watermark was born out of a deep love I have always had for paper. My family tells me I always walked around with a sheet of paper in my hand, and not just any paper—it had to be blank. That doesn’t surprise me, honestly. I carry out a notebook and pen wherever I go now because even if I’m all alone with nothing to do and no one to talk to, I have whole worlds in that notebook. I can be anyone, talk to anyone, see and do anything.
Watermark is the story of Auda, the daughter of a papermaker in a small French village in the year 1320. Mute from birth and forced to shun normal society, young Auda finds solace and escape in the wonder of the written word. If writing was you only way to live life, as it is for the heroine of Watermark, what life would you choose to lead? What if that written life got you in trouble—would you continue it, or would you resign yourself to what fate had handed you? Watermark is about choices and freedoms as much as it is about love and about finding yourself.
If you could compare “WATERMARK” to your other books, how would you say it’s different?
Watermark is my first book. However, I am in the middle of writing my next book, about printmaking in the Renaissance and I can say that the world, and my characters, have gotten a lot more savvy.
Which do you find is most important to you as a writer, voice or story? Why?
Voice, absolutely. Both are important, don’t get me wrong. If the story is not compelling, I may not stick with the book, but voice is paramount to me. It’s a tired truism that all stories have been told in one form or another and there are no new plots left. If that’s true, then it’s voice that transcends the commonness of these stories to give the reader something unique.
Vanitha , please tell us where we can find you out in cyber world. For desperate readers, we just need to know…:)
The easiest way to find me is at http://www.vanithasankaran.com. My email address, Facebook page, and twitter handle are all there somewhere.
I know this is a difficult question with there being so many amazing authors out there to choose from, but who are some of the GOT-TO-HAVE authors in your TBR pile?
Honestly though, my favorites are the classics, with Hemingway at the top. In fact, I have purposely not read all of his works so there is always one more to look forward to! Of historical fiction, I am a huge fan of Sharon Kay Penman so anything new she’s written is automatically added to my TBR pile. I’m also a big fan of Brenda Rickman Vantrease since her subject matter dovetails with mine. For my illicit pleasure reading (blush), I can’t get enough JR Ward’s vampire novels. Those guys are definitely not my usual understated hero types but I love them anyway.
What’s next in the works for you? When can readers expect to see it out on shelves in their local bookstores?
Watermark just came out a few weeks ago; once the excitement wears off, I will be finishing my first draft of my next work, which concerns printmaking about a hundred and fifty years after Watermark takes place. We’re in the Renaissance, in Venice. People from all cultures with all sorts of things to say abound, and the Church doesn’t have much of an influence. But, everyone is always watched, always monitored, by Venice’s infamous Council of Ten. Makes for some delicious conflict!
I’d like to thank Vanitha Sankaran for stopping by and spending time with us, it’s been a blast getting to know more about you and your books. I wish you all the best and much success in everything you do. :-)
Thank you for having me here!
I am so thrilled to bring you Harper Collins debut author, Vanitha Sankaran. She has stopped by to chat and give a copy away of her beautifully written debut release, "WATERMARKS" To enter, I just have a few simple rules.
* +2 Leave a comment for Vanithia Sankaran including email.
* +2 Spread the Word! ( this means go out into cyber world and post it on any netwok sites that your are a member of, or on your blog or website. +4 Then come back and leave a link so I can verify the post.)
* Become a follower of Over the Edge! (+3 Already a follwer--You ROCK! +2 Become a follower.)
The contest is open to all and will be running until May 9, 2010. I'll be picking and contacting the winner directly on May 10, 2010. Please make sure to include your email with your comment. Happy Reading!