Sumeetha Manikandan, author of Ponni's Beloved, speaks to Sanchita Sen



What makes an epic? Know from the author, who herself took on an epic challenge to translate a classic. Read on to know more

History, intrigue, treachery, secrets, betrayal, love, infatuation, ambition and huge dollops of chivalry, war and humour – an epic is often the amalgamation of all this and more. No epic has a happy ever after… that’s only for fanciful M&B writers I guess. All epics end with a tinge of sadness that makes you want to delve into it again and again.

Sanchita: The reviews of this book has been great! You took on translating an epic! Was it an epic challenge? If yes, what were they?

Sumeetha: It was an epic challenge and it still is because I am still translating volume 4 and there is still one more volume to go before I complete this series. Language, humour, detailed descriptions of life thousand years ago… the project has been replete with challenges.

Sanchita: What according to you are the right requirements for making an epic?

Sumeetha: History, intrigue, treachery, secrets, betrayal, love, infatuation, ambition and huge dollops of chivalry, war and humour – an epic is often the amalgamation of all this and more. No epic has a happy ever after… that’s only for fanciful M&B writers I guess. All epics end with a tinge of sadness that makes you want to delve into it again and again because you would rather live in that period when things were happy and right in the world.

Sanchita: Who is your favorite author and why?

Sumeetha: I have many favourite authors. Kalki Krishnamurthy tops the list among vernacular authors. Followed by Venkatesh Ramakrishnan of Gods, Kings and Slaves fame. I love K.M. Munshi’s books. His series Krishnavatara remains my favourite book of all times, even today. Ken Follet is yet another author who has perfected the art of pulling the reader into an era of his choosing.

Sanchita: What do you think is the need of the hour in the present milieu of storytelling?

Sumeetha: There are many excellent classic novels written in vernacular languages – Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and also Hindi. These need to be translated for a wider audience.

Sanchita: Sneak peek into your next project

Sumeetha: I am working on three different projects. Two are romance novels and one will be a historic fantasy novel. I am a slow writer and I write whenever the mood strikes me amidst the many writing projects that I undertake for my freelance clients. So I guess these will see the light of the day by the end of this year (fingers crossed)

Rapid fire round (First thought that comes to mind on hearing these words)

a.      Classic: Ponniyin Selvan
b.      Translate: Sivagamiyin Sabatham (My next translation project)
c.      Literature: Shakespeare
d.      Heritage: Thiruvalluvar
e.      Eclectic: Keats, Shelly and Byron


About the Author

Author Sumeetha Manikandan


Sumeetha Manikandan is a top bestselling romance author whose novellas ‘Perfect Groom’ and ‘These Lines of Mehendi’ (which was published as a paperback novel called ‘Love Again’) have been on the top of Amazon India charts ever since its publication. A bookaholic, thinker, feminist and a daydreamer, she reads across genres and is a crazy fan of history, romance and science fiction novels.

An avid reader of historical novels, she has been translating Kalki Krishnamurthy’s classic Tamil novel Ponniyin Selvan for the past ten years and hopes to translate more of his novels to English.

Sumeetha is married to filmmaker K.S. Manikandan and lives with her nine-year- old daughter in Chennai.

Her book Ponni's Beloved is available at:

Amazon.com                    Amazon.in                    Amazon.co.uk

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