Your novel ‘The Wild Cat’ is hugely relevant in contemporary times. Was it a conscious effort to create awareness amongst the youth about the cyber dating world?
The idea stemmed from personal experience of losing my privacy to an unknown person on the internet. I was deeply affected by that incident. It made me dig deep into laws on cybercrime, cyberbullying, and others.
Next month I am launching a radio podcast and youtube channel where I will sit down with some of the victims to share their experiences.
Please tell us a bit about your writing routine.
It may come as a surprise, but it took five years for me to finish the trilogy. I have done a lot of research and interviews for me to understand the laws. Interviews with paralegal teams, lawyers, politicians, and victims of cyber abuse, cyberbullying, sex trafficking, revenge porn, and domestic violence.
On a regular basis I suffer from writers block, it overwhelms me more when I read about stressing issues. I love to travel and indulge myself in extreme sports which helps me recoup.
There is a slew of dating apps cropping up every day. How can we educate children/youth to use them judiciously?
I believe schools, parents and social media policy play an essential role in warning teens/young adults. But some of the dating websites have objectionable privacy and operational policy. I fail to understand in countries like the United States where prostitution is illegal, how in the world we are running virtual prostitution. That is just one aspect, and the tabloids are running news concerning partners sharing personal images under revenge porn. That can happen at any age to any gender!
Are we rhetorically telling please dont click pictures with your partners unless you are fully dressed. Is this the new norm?
I believe that non-consensual sharing of images is a punishable offense.
What is the one thing that we in India lack in the reading culture compared to the United States?
During my last visit to India, in September 2017, I found that the grocery stores do not have a separate section for magazines and books. All the major stores in the United States like Harris Teeter and Walmart have decent aisle space for books and magazines.
You are also an entrepreneur. How does that help you in your writing career?
It gives me the confidence to get going and show my abilities.
The Wild Cat is going to be a trilogy. Is it tough to keep the content relevant to sequels?
I can say certainly not for this one! I will have to come up with short story series after the trilogy.
About the Interviewee: Taanya Sarma is an author, poet and an entrepreneur. An ambivert true to form, the depth and duality of Taanya’s personality are evident throughout her writing.The genesis of ‘The Wildcat’ trilogy stems from her desire to warn naive young women about the pitfalls of the online dating world.
Taanya’s goal is to see her series of novels published and available in multiple languages as far reaching as countries like India, China, UK, NZ, SA, Australia – and, of course, in her home country the United States. When shes not writing, Taanya is most likely thinking about writing – or spending time with her adopted dog, playing the guitar and piano, sketching, biking, snorkeling or participating in some extreme sports like parasailing, skydiving, or bungee jumping.