Christina Daniels is the author of Ginger Soda Lemon Pop, a very unique and beautifully sensitive book that I read some time back. Ms Daniels graciously accepted my request to share some of her memories about the writing of the book. I hope you guys have fun reading Ms Daniels’ thoughts about Ginger Soda Lemon Pop, briefly touching upon a few other things as well. 🙂
How did Ginger Soda Lemon Pop come about?
Ginger Soda Lemon Pop is my first book. It was a story that began when I had just turned 20. I was a third year Communicative English student at Jyoti Nivas College in Bangalore at that time, and had always known that I wanted to be a writer. The first chapter of the book – my second attempt at writing a full-length novel – was born at the end of three wonderful intellectually challenging years of college life.
Like many first-time novelists, I returned to my earliest memories to write the book. But while the landscape was autobiographical, the events were not. So, as with most writing, the autobiographical morphed into the imaginary and other literary influences to create a work of fiction.
But having written the first chapter, I did not feel ready to write a full-length novel as I believed that my craft as a writer was still immature. So I put the book aside, and decided that I would come back to the story when I felt ready to complete it.
Yet, somewhere, the idea of Ginger Soda Lemon Pop still lingered in my mind. I already knew how it would end, and the characters that would appear on its pages.
Finally, nine years later, I did return to the book.
I had just got married at that time, and while moving my things from my mum’s house to my new home, I stumbled on the old idea that had been stashed away as the beginnings of a manuscript for so many years.
Now, as I re-read my early writing, the years in between gave me a new perspective. There were thoughts that could only have been imagined with the sincerity, intensity and freshness of a twenty-year-old. But there were also sentences that made me cringe at their lack of craftsmanship. I felt ready to complete the story, and I also knew that it had to be ‘now’.
I edited the first chapter, and then in a burst of passion completed the book over the next month. However, the time period is misleading because I had also lived the book in the intervening nine years. In fact, the one month when I worked on the manuscript seemed almost like a lifetime because I breathed lines from the book in every waking hour. The hours of sleep were few and far in between.
The end result was a novella called Gundumani, the title eluding to the little seeds that the protagonists of the book competitively collect in their growing years. It began as a tribute to the Bangalore of the 80s and before, but culminated as a portrait of childhood.
The next two years saw me beginning the hunt for a publisher, and the working with the publisher to bring my work into print.
The publisher suggested two changes to the book, which were left to my discretion. The first was to give the book a final chapter that brought the action to a stated conclusion. The second was to change the title from Gundumani to the more universal Ginger Soda Lemon Pop.
I agreed, and I believe that both decisions shaped the book for the better.
Since then, it continues to be a wonderful journey with Ginger Soda Lemon Pop. The experience of writing the book and watching it find its way in bookshops confirms to me every day that in life, there are no fullstops. Everything is connected.
Also, dreams do come true, if we hold on to them long enough.
What are your favourite pastimes?
Apart from writing, travel, photography, theatre, cinema, reading and music
Tell us about your favourite authors…
JRR Tolkein (for Lord of the Rings), Emily Bronte (for Wuthering Heights), George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans, Joseph Conrad (for Heart of Darkness), Albert Camus (for The Outsider), Ernest Hemingway (for The Old Man and the Sea), O Henry
Do you see the influence of any particular author/s in your work?
JD Salinger (in Catcher in the Rye) and Nelle Harper Lee (in To Kill a Mocking Bird)
Tell us something about your other projects..
I am currently working on a filmography that looks at Aamir Khan’s evolution as an actor, which goes by the working title ‘I’ll do it my way’.