Books have been my companions since childhood. My parents and teachers encouraged me to read as much as I could. Amar Chitra Katha comics, Chandamama and Champak; soon gave way to Readers’ Digest, mystery novels by Enid Blyton; Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mystery novels; followed closely by the mushy and romantic, Mills & Boon novels. Later, classics by great litt√©rateurs like Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Munshi Premchand; the great Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare, and the philosophical novelist, Paulo Coelho; were devoured by me. Thrillers by Sidney Sheldon, Agatha Christie, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Robin Cook, Roald Dahl; and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle‘s Sherlock Holmes series are my all-time favorites. Jeffrey Archer and his works have also played a key role in helping me develop a penchant for reading.¬† I am a proud bookworm!

What sparked off my passion for reading was, undoubtedly, a chance criticism by my eighth standard English teacher at school! She challenged me to write the answers in my own words, instead of relying on the usual rote learning method that was (and still is) so commonplace in the great Indian education system. Stung to the core, I started brushing up on my vocabulary and language skills by reading everything that I could lay my hands on! I filled up notebooks with as many words as I could. The dictionary became my constant companion. Thanks to my continuous learning, I gained confidence in writing essays, articles, poems and stories.

Priya Swaminathan, Author of 'The Mysterious Basement of Summer City'

After my BS, I obtained a Degree in Communication and Journalism from the Pune University. It was the best decision of my life. I have been freelancing from then till date. I have several published writings to my credit in reputed publications like Woman’s Era, Alive, Sakaal Times, and many more. I contribute to prestigious travel-websites like Holidayiq.com and TripAdvisor.in. I maintain four blogs and have published nine ebooks and paperback novels on Amazon. I have won several writing competitions, including a novel-writing contest, organized by Vishwakarma Publications, Pune. I won the second prize for my debut novel titled The Mysterious Basement of Summer City. My reading habit had spurred me to become an author!

I love reading books for information, inspiration, insight, motivation and entertainment. Conversing about bestsellers is a great ice-breaker at social events. Bonding over books, with friends and family, at leisure, is a pleasurable experience. To encourage budding talent, I conduct creative-writing classes too.

To sum up, I can’t imagine a life without books. My tryst with reading and writing is sure to be a life-long affair!

It was quite an inspirational story, Priya. If you feel the same, do let us know in the comments below. Do you have a story to tell as well? We’d love to hear!

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