Today on creative mom series, we have a mom who completely changed her field and followed her passion. A passion for writing made her an author. Let me introduce to you – Preethi Venugopala, a Civil Engineer by education and a writer, avid blogger and artist by passion. She worked with the Dubai Metro Rail project till 2008 as an office engineer with Obayashi corporation, Japan. She quit in 2008 after becoming a mother and rediscovered her passion for writing and art.
Now, she is a full-time writer and freelancer. Let’s get to know her more.
What is your background?
First of all, thank you for having me here on your blog, Deepa!
I completed my B.Tech in Civil Engineering from Government college of engineering, Kannur. I worked as a Civil Engineer for a few years and then took a sabbatical from my job after my son was born in 2008. But somehow, I couldn’t imagine leaving my son in the company of strangers to return to work and hence the sabbatical became a prolonged one. Meanwhile, because I loved books I took a post-graduate degree in English Literature. That made me fall deeper in love with English literature. I started blogging in 2013, and from then on writing became a passion.
When did you decide to become a writer and started writing books?
Once I started blogging, I joined Indiblogger and Blogadda and began participating in the various contests, writing prompts, campaigns etc. Through these, I met other bloggers and among them, some were published authors. A pan India writing contest was announced in one of those blogs and I participated in it and won. Once I got good feedback on my stories, I began writing in earnest to complete my first novel which I had begun writing together with blogging.
Did you attend any classes or did any professional writing courses?
As I said, MA in English literature was the first step I took when I decided to become a writer. But the best course I attended was the Creative writing and Mentoring course at Anita’s Attic conducted by eminent author Anita Nair. Getting to know the nuances of writing and also getting feedback on my own writing from a brilliant writer like her was truly a blessing.
What genres are your books and what drew you to this genre?
I have tried my hands at various genres like Children’s fiction, Science Fiction, Inspirational stories, and Romance. But as I love to read and write romance more, I am concentrating on that genre more these days.
What all struggles you faced initially or still face in this business?
I didn’t really face many struggles. The journey has been quite a pleasant one if I ignore a few unpleasant things done by some fake friends. It was a difficult phase when that happened because in this field we can’t survive without constant support and assurance from friends.
We can ignore a harsh review coming from a stranger, but when it comes from a friend, it hurts. As it is, all creative individuals are their own worst critics. And newbie writers are easily forgiven for the mistakes they commit. After all, they are newbies. For me, I got a taste of bitter criticism quite early in my writing career and it almost killed the writer in me.
But thankfully, my book proved to me that readers were liking what I wrote. I have received so many letters from readers, random reviews from strangers on Amazon and Goodreads and also personal messages on Facebook praising how much they loved the book.
Actually, those initial vitriolic reviews made me want to become a better writer and were the reason I joined Anita’s attic. The encouragement, appreciation, and support I received from there (both from Anita Nair and my batchmates) made me return to writing with renewed enthusiasm.
From the writers who visited Anita’s Attic, I heard tales of backstabbing and public shaming. I understood it was quite the inevitable thing if you are a writer. If we are creators, we need to develop a thick skin. Not everyone is going to like our book. Thankfully, today I am able to look back and be grateful for those early lessons of reality.
I have published four books after that, two of which are children’s books and one, a short story collection, which landed me a traditional publishing contract from Juggernaut books and another a novella, A Royal Affair, which has already become a bestseller on Amazon.
What is your favourite book from your own works and why?
It is of course ‘Without You.’ It is my first creation and hence will always have a special place in my heart.
You are a very good artist too. Tell us something about your artwork.
Art is my way to relax. I began painting as a way to deal with the sadness after my father passed away. I had attended some drawing lessons in childhood but had not tried drawing after that. So, I create art using pencils, charcoal, acrylic, crayons, watercolour and oil paint. My most popular ones are the portraits I have drawn. I also do a bit of crochet, quilling, digital art using photoshop and amigurumi crochet.
Most important tip for other aspiring authors?
Mostly when you venture into writing, you would be accompanied by high expectations and also deep-rooted fears. And then a lot of critics will come in.
People who have never written a single story in their life will tell you how to write the perfect story. There would be elitists, who think the only genre that is readable in this world is the genre they read. If they love thrillers, they will look down upon every other genre. If it is literary fiction they love, don’t even dare to show them your romance or thriller book to them.
I won’t say don’t listen to critics, we need to hear criticism. But don’t hear criticism from people without credentials. I look forward to hearing from critics who are good writers themselves.
Often critics strive hard to tick all the checkboxes of what they think should go into a book. It is like they expect to read the book they couldn’t write. They want your characters to do things that they think is right.
The only thing we can do is to wish them the very best. May they write that perfect book, the one that is flawless from page one.
What is your vision? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am a person who can’t make long-term goals. The maximum I can plan for is maybe next six months. But I hope that within next five years I will go mainstream. I dream of being financially independent via my writing.
What is your inspiration?
I walk through life willing to learn new things. If I become interested in something, I always dig deeper. I try to learn from the masters in the field. One thought process that inspires me is that there is always a better way of doing things. And someone else is already doing it. You just need to find that person and learn from them.
What lesson do we learn from Preethi’s journey?
Preethi’s journey is inspirational and we can all learn a lesson from her. At some point, we all get disheartened and lose hope quite early but it’s always better to not look back and ignore all the negativity. As moms, we are already superwomen who do everything effortlessly. There should not be any place for negativity in our life.
Thanks Preethi for sharing your story with us!
You can contact Preethi here –