Sundari Venkatraman, self-published her first book, The Malhotra Bride, on Amazon Kindle at the age of 53. Now, at the age of 59, she is breaking age barriers yet again by becoming the best-selling author of 52 novels, not just in India, but also in Canada, United States, England, and Australia!
Sundari’s love for books and literature roots back to her childhood. Born in Tamil Nadu, she grew up in a household that encouraged education and literature. She loved reading fairy tales, Phantom, and Mandrake comics. What really made her a passionate reader, however, were books by Charles Dickens, and Mills and Boons. She was fascinated by the romance featured in their books, but felt disconnected from the western culture they were centred in. So, she began to imagine the characters from an Indian perspective, and went on to apply this imagination in her own novels.
She always aspired to be a novelist. Unfortunately, when she was younger, writing wasn’t a conventional career. So just like her father, she graduated with a B.Com degree, got married, moved to Mumbai, and started working as a department administrator in a school.
While working at the school, her passion for writing was rekindled while reading a few essays written by students, and was surprised at their creativity. She immediately knew she wanted to do the same – express her inner creativity. Her responsibilities at that time, however, kept her from acting upon her desires.
Soon after, she resigned from her job and went on to work as a copy-editor, writer, and blogger for tabloids and food-tech companies. She continued to prioritise her responsibilities towards her family over her own dreams of writing a novel, until one fine evening in 1999. At the age of 40, she felt rudderless and questioned the purpose of her life.
That evening a story was conceived in her mind, and she wrote 14 pages straight. Despite a heavy workload at work, in just 35 days, she had completed the first draft of her first book, The Malhotra Bride. Over the next 6 months, she wrote 2 other novels Meghna and Madras Affair!
Her joy was limitless, but getting these books published was another big challenge she had to face.
Since the internet wasn’t very accessible in the early 2000s, Sundari used Yellow Pages to reach out to publishers and sent her manuscripts to publishing houses through mail. She waited for months or sometimes even an entire year for a response. Sometimes, she even got rejected right away. The most heartbreaking rejection was from Mills and Boons, who rejected her manuscript in the final round of assessment. After 28 rejections, she had almost given up hope.
However, in 2010, Venkatraman turned to blogging on the internet. She started publishing a few chapters of her book weekly, and 4 years later at the age of 53 was introduced to the idea of self-publishing by a friend. She felt inspired by Mark Twain, the author of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, who had also made his debut during his later years. Sundari Venkatraman self-published her first romantic novel The Malhotra Bride, on the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, and never looked back.
Her book received a lot of love. Since then, she has become an extremely acclaimed author, both nationally and internationally, with 52 books to her name. Sundari will turn 60 this September and hopes to bring her number of published books up to 60 soon, as well!
Sundari’s books are known for their unique characters with their distinct voices. When asked about the inspirations behind her characters during a GoodReads Q&A session, she said that she derives inspiration from the people around her to build her characters.
Sundari Venkatraman’s journey from being a school administrator to a best-selling novelist is truly unique and inspirational. She is living proof that age is just a number. Her life teaches us that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and start something new!
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