Saturday, June 23, 2018

Guest Post by Divyata Rajaram, author of 'If You Only Knew Me'

Is personal experience in a city/ country an important factor that influences the location / setting of novels?
Personal experience can certainly influence the location and setting of a novel and in fact can have a significant impact on the story itself. The genre of If You Only Knew Me as a social drama interwoven with a thriller wholly demanded an understanding of the social context of the Non Resident Indian diaspora.
Having witnessed the various social pressures and challenges faced by this community first hand, greatly helped me provide a detailed description of the situations the characters find themselves in. I do believe this understanding also lent a further sense of gravitas to the writing. If You Only Knew Me also attempts to explore the emotions and feelings of the characters as they struggle with the “bird in a gilded cage syndrome” – a life of seeming luxury and ease which, instead of ensuring happiness is fraught with insecurities, angst and loneliness.
Friendships are tenuous to say the least which is also representative of the transient feelings and relationships one experiences in a home away from home. The choice of Dubai as an ideal setting for such a story is because it is a modern contemporary location, brimming with mystique, the machinations of high society and endless drama at every nook and corner.
Living in Dubai has always filled me with a sense of awe at how the city has shaped and twisted lives and careers much like the shifting sands of the desert as described in the novel. There are those who are the players and those who are played. But they are all subject to the changing tides and circumstances that drive them toward their unique destiny.

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