Nikita Achanta is 19 years old presently and authored her books “A Beautiful Catastrophe” and “Wrecked Souls” at the ages of 17 and 18 respectively. She is currently in her second semester, studying liberal arts at Jindal Global University after having completed her schooling from Mayo College Girls’ School. She maintains a weekly blog, and other than writing, her interests include listening to music, playing video games and guitar, and doing volunteer work for animals. Her strength to express her emotions has inspired the writing of the aforementioned books, and she hopes to continue writing till her hands give in.
An interaction with Nikita
- What sparked off the idea for your latest book?Tell us something about yourself that not many people are aware of.
– The only thing many people are not aware of is perhaps my weaknesses, and trust me, you should nevertell or show your weakness to anyone. Also, I have major trust issues and commitment issues – that’s something I don’t think many people are aware of.
- – Moving to boarding school was not an easy task for me, and I had always used writing as a refuge whenever I felt alone, so my time at boarding school honed my writing skills which is when I planned on writing a book about this very experience – the environment, the people who shaped me and made me who I am.
- How important is the commercial side of writing and promoting your book as opposed to the sheer joy of the creative art of expression?
– The day I finished writing the book felt like a reward in itself as I was going through one of the worst periods of my life, accompanied by writers’ block as well. But my voice is one in 7 billion and that it needs to be heard, just like everyone else’s, which is where the commercial side of promotion comes into play. What I feel and write might be what several other teenagers might be feeling as well. We all deserve to be rescued.
- If an aspiring writer asks you for just one golden advice of wisdom, what would it be?
– Don’t give up. I was rejected by several publishers before actually having my book published, and so was JK Rowling (12 publishers declined Harry Potter). Keep at it, keep pushing. Give it time, take your own time, you’ll make it. Also, don’t ever think of not getting it published and just keeping it as a word document on your laptop. Strive. Failure does not define you as a person – it only molds you.
- If you were marooned on an island with just one book, which would it be and why?
– Richard Bach’s This is one book which has taught me a lot about life and people, even though it is confusing when you first read it. The book was handed down to me by my mother and I cannot thank her enough because this book helped me grow wings, and when I thought my wings were being clipped off feather by feather, this book helped me fly once again.
- If you were not a writer, what would you have been?
– A regular student going to university, since I am in my second semester right now. But if you look at it from the future’s perspective, I do not know what I would have been. Writing is my greatest passion and I can honestly not imagine my life without it. I’d like to answer this question by saying that this is it for me. There is no other “if”.
- Did you have a support group like family, friends or colleagues who believed in your passion for writing?
– My family has been there for me for as long as I can remember. They even believed in the bizarre idea of a teenager from a very small town becoming an author. Everyone deserves the freedom to be themselves, and that is what my family has always given me – wings to fly, unconditional love, unconditional acceptance.
- How much of your book is autobiographical where characters reflect your personal experiences?
– Truthfully, 95% of my book is autobiographical. All the characters and the incidents – all of them actually took place. It’s all real.
- What comes to your rescue when you are faced with the notorious “Writer’s Block”?
– Listening to music has always helped. I take out my frustration and anger by singing at the top of my lungs with headphones blaring Pink Floyd or Green Day into my ears at maximum volume. Yeah, that helps.
- Aside from writing, what are your other passions?
– I have various hobbies which include listening to music, playing Xbox, reading books, maintaining a blog, playing with (and photographing) my dog, playing the guitar, and sleeping.
- What is your life philosophy?
– Is it okay to say that my “life philosophy” isn’t as concrete right now? I’m only 19, but I do believe that dreaming is the most important part of starting to achieve something. And to dream, you need to sleep, so you should never disturb a young achiever during nap-breaks. But on a serious note? Grow. Grow as much as you can till you cannot anymore. Absorb experiences and make the best out of them. Run, if the situation demands it, but come back and untangle the vine. Take your time.
- In your personal context, is writing about escaping the reality or embracing it?
– I think it’s about both. Before I actually got into writing, I used to read a lot to escape from reality, because I never really had “friends” or someone I could count on before I went to boarding school. But when I did begin writing, I realized that reality cannot be escaped no matter how much you want to – you’ve just got to make the best out of the worst, for which you need to accept the truth, and reality is the only truth there is. It’s one of those things I could never explain to 10-year old me because it’s something you learn yourself as time passes by – you need to grow.
- A brief extract from her latest book.
I kneeled down in front of her and her eyes were squeezed shut.
“You question my ability to learn from my mistakes, but I can try. Let me fix this. Please,” I sniffled, the tears not coming to an end. “My hands shake and they tremble and the tears just don’t stop. I know I could be more clever, I could be stronger. But I’m waiting for the day when you’ll come back and say, ‘Hey, maybe I should change my mind’. And if it is over, please tell it to me on my face.”
Skye opened her eyes and looked at my face and then she looked away, she used her right thumb to wipe off her left eye, and she then said, her tone low, “It’s over.”
And she got up and she walked off to the house.
And I kept sitting there, my eyes hurting, my chest aching even more, just that the ankle didn’t hurt anymore – it went numb.
And I fell hard.
And that’s when it rained.
It rained that day and I simply sat outside on the steps to the backside of the auditorium, with my jacket on and my hood over my head, my knees clutched close to my chest.
And I felt numb.
I was so tired of the rain falling softly on the ground, just enough to wet my feet but not enough to let me drown.
I’d been lying in bed, wishing I had never woken, begging god to rid my head of every word Skye had ever spoken.
I looked at myself in the mirror, and I couldn’t help but wonder one thing, “Did I create this monster?”
Nothing really mattered.
All I knew was that I was slowly and gradually losing a grip of everything I once had a control over.
My nails were black. My eyes were bloodshot, and my heart was bleeding black too, probably.
Skye didn’t patch me up. She didn’t cut me lose. The rags were turning red. The stitches were falling apart; I was hanging by a thread.
Skye wasn’t there anymore.
There was no one keeping me sane anymore.