Partridge India Author| Matilda Pinto, Fisticuffs of the Souls Pt 2
Partridge India returns with Matilda Pinto, author of Fisticuffs of the Souls
Which influences have inspired you, with regard to your writing style and your book itself?
I believe, it is not the style that determines the story but the story that determines the style. In the better part of my story, the main characters, deceased, revisit their past. The flashback technique was opportune to look at life in retrospect. The milieu that these major characters hail from further influences the word choice and sentence structures, adding to the style. Occasionally, a character breaks into the vernacular, using choice invectives to get even with her opponents.
The author’s voice, is an amalgamation of many influences, experiences and a lifetime of selective reading. At the time of writing the novel, I was coursing through Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone and Robert Fulghum’s All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. The two books don’t compare, but they did help me to balance the serious with the candid. Depending on the requirement of the narration, the story is interspersed with dialogues, diary entries, and letters. The narrative is full of word pictures, descriptive scenes, stories, but majorly it is persuasive in showcasing the idea that if you wish to go to heaven, you better look out. You can’t get there alone, your karma will go with you, the good and the bad, friends and foes, animals and birds. Our salvation will have to be negotiated through them, God refuses to have anything to do with it.
My book maneuvers through the ordeals of two women who are at it.
What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers about your book?
Read the book to discover how even niggling everyday issues like food, family ties, stories of local gods and deities, religion and rituals become significant enough to merit a writer’s attention. Nothing and no one is trivia.
The core-message of the book is, life is inclusive. Take everyone along, no matter how futile or vain one is. Our salvation depends not on our karma alone. It can never be worked out in exclusion. Deliverance is not any one person’s monopoly, but the entitlement of all. The animals around us count too. The story has a pair of cats, a hen and a rooster, a frog, a pig and more. English is the language of their conscience.
Are you working on a sequel to your book?
No. I’m working on a set of short stories to catch my breath.
Are there any events, marketing ideas or promotions planned for your book?
I believe a book or a story must speak for itself. Did Valmiki have a promoter, Shakespeare a Press release? Notwithstanding, I plan to have a local book launch to let my folks know that a new arrival is on the shelf, a book about them, by one among them. I plan to reach out to the student community online and by word of mouth and various social groups of which I’m part of. And here I’m sending a missive through the wind, Go Book, Go.
What was your favourite part of your publishing experience?
The process was like negotiating your way through a dark maze. Now that it’s almost done and with time to take stock, I must concede that it was a great learning experience. I hadn’t realized that selecting a title for the book is like selecting a name for a new born baby. It must sound good, feel good and be good. The Cover Page image took longer than the time taken to write the book. Finally, when it comes together, it all comes together and there are no two ways about it. The experience was exhilarating. Writing for self is a personal experience, but when I made the choice to share it with the readers, it took on a dimension that I wasn’t prepared for. The additional inputs I had to submit, the Modification Galleys I had to resubmit to the Publishers took the wind out of me. The Publishers took charge and waited by me tirelessly to complete my writing and reviews.
The most pleasant part of my publishing experience however was to see my story in print and as a newbie it has catapulted me to cloud nine.
What did you think of your Partridge experience?
Courtesy was their hallmark. Everyone on board was professional, and patient. They kept after me with phone calls and mails, nudging me to meet deadlines. Kudos to the entire team.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Nurture the art of story-telling. Stories could be from folk-lore, history, fables, mythical one’s, from scriptures and personal stories too. Somewhere you’ll end up striking gold. You’ll write stories or wind up inspiring someone else to write them. Stories will keep our toddlers and teens hovering about the fire-place in the company of mothers and grandmothers. My book is one big story with hundreds of smaller one’s finding their way in. The mercurial anchovies, the vulnerable Seethe, and even a door-to-door fish vendor become part of the tale.