Tale of trials and errors-Bidisha Ghosal
My debut novel ‘The Rape Trial’ was launched in January 2020. It has been an exhausting but gratifying ride, as its success has exceeded expectations.The book has been Number One in Crime Fiction Bestsellers for 80 days straight! Today, I’m thrilled to share with you my author journey, in brief.
Telling stories has always been a part of me. I’m one of those writers who’s been writing ever since she could. At first I wrote poetry in Bengali, my mother tongue. My mother told me that I would show the poems to everyone in the house – we lived in my maternal grandparents’ joint family – and then throw them away. My grandparents had set up a library on the ground floor of their house. Everyone’s books would end up there, so I had my pick from my grandmother’s tastes, my mother’s, and my uncle’s (my grandfather only ever read medical books). From Tintin and Obelix comics, to Enid Blytons and Nancy Drews, from Mills&Boons to Oscar Wilde, I read them all, happily forgetting the time.
The genre I loved the most was detective stories, mysteries, crime fiction. I read a lot of Perry Masons and Agatha Christies and Sydney Sheldons. In my teens, this evolved into enjoying horror. I cut my teeth on Goosebumps and ended up becoming part of an unofficial Stephen King club in school.
For college, though, I studied Fashion Design in Mumbai. It was a three-year digression in my life, a little patch of off-ness. I course-correctedsoon after graduating, joining a local newspaper as a reporter. During my second journalism job I picked up two awards for my work. Soon after, I quit, and moved back to Calcutta.I decided to write my novel – the one I’d known so thoroughly I would write, it was barely a conscious thought.
The first novel I attempted was too much of everything. Too many characters, too many story threads, too many complications. I worked on it through eight drafts before realising it wasn’t going anywhere, so I set it aside. A few blank days later, the first half of ‘The Rape Trial’ popped into my head. It took me six years to finish writing it. During this time I also worked with my (now deceased) maternal grandfather to write his memoirs, ‘The Diaries of a Stubborn Homeopath’, for which I got credit as Editor. Just as my maternal grandfather took the self-publishing route, so did I. It saves time and authors have much more control over the material than with traditional publishing.
‘The Rape Trial’ is a story I couldn’t not tell. The story got its claws into me and just wouldn’t let go. Fingers crossed, it reaches the century mark as the Number One Bestseller. To find my work so loved and accepted by common readers is a dream come true!