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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Author Interview: Devika Fernando: A German Citizen Born In Sri Lanka: When I See Your Face

Almost as soon as Devika Fernando could write, she imagined stories and poems. After finishing her education in Germany and returning to her roots in Sri Lanka, she got a chance to turn her passion into her profession. Having lived in Germany and in Sri Lanka with her husband has made her experience the best (and the worst) of two totally different worlds – something that influences her writing. Her trademark is writing sweet, yet deeply emotional romance stories where the characters actually fall in love instead of merely falling in lust. What she loves most about being an author is the chance to create new worlds and send her protagonists on a journey full of ups and downs that will leave them changed. She draws inspiration from everyone and everything in life. Besides being a romance novel author, she works as a self-employed German web content writer, as a translator, and as a faithful servant to all the cats, dogs, fish and birds in her home. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or thinking about writing.

Welcome Devika!

Your real name and pen name?

I don’t use a pen name, I write as Devika Fernando.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

Although I was born in Sri Lanka, I grew up in Germany. Some of my best memories are from my early childhood in a small village in the mountains of Bavaria. There were more cows than people in the village, and enjoying nature was an important part of my life. I also have very fond memories of traveling to Sri Lanka for holidays regularly. Being greeted by all the new smells and sounds and sights, being pampered by the relatives on my mother’s side, and going to the beach were unforgettable highlights.

I remember we went to the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala one day, and watched a procession of all the elephants walking to their bath in the lake. I must have been about seven years old, and was so fascinated that I ran to the front and touched one of the baby elephants. Luckily, nothing dangerous happened. :-)

What career did you plan during your education days?

Most people thought I would become a doctor, but I had always wanted to study either languages or social sciences. I was interested in an Asian Studies or International Studies Bachelor degree from an Australian university, but life turned out differently – and I’m glad about it.

What languages you can speak and write?

German is my mother tongue, and I am fluent in English. Apart from that, I more or less know Spanish, Italian, French, Latin, Sinhalese and Hindi.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

Reading, anything and everything.

What hurts you most in this world?

I can’t stand injustice and violence toward animals.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

Adjusting to life in Sri Lanka after 19 years in Germany was a big challenge. I had a lot of help from my husband, and some of it came naturally. I didn’t know the language either, so I watched a lot of television to learn more about the country and the language.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

I’d love to be one of the famous bestselling authors, just to know what it feels like to have many published books, a huge group of devoted fans, valuable experience, and such a wondrously creative mind.

What is your favorite genre and why?

Romance, because I believe in true love, and because I enjoy reading about people learning to trust somebody with their life, and fighting for what they believe in.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

I have self-published two books so far, and the third one will come out at the end of this year.
WHEN I SEE YOUR FACE is my debut (contemporary romance): Cathy has had enough. Having run away from her abusive husband, she tries to pick up the broken pieces of her life in a remote village, focusing on her dream to start her own cake business. Finding true love is the last thing on her mind. When she comes face to face with a man who looks exactly like the one she is struggling to forget, life throws the biggest challenge yet at her: Should she give in to his charm and care or is history going to repeat itself?

PLAYING WITH FIRE (paranormal romance): Sparks fly when Felicia and Joshua meet. Discovering her inner fire and unleashing unimaginable powers makes her realize that all her life, she has been hiding her true self. When buildings burn and people are in danger, the tempting game of playing with fire becomes serious. Will their love and desperate struggle for control save her life, or will the fire magic turn itself against its mistress?

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

- authentic characters with flaws and strengths
- a captivating first sentence and last sentence (for each chapter, too)
- character development: at the end of the book, the protagonists should have changed and learned a lesson
- the hero and heroine must really fall in love and not just in lust

Is a high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

Definitely. You need to be able to envision the scenes in your head, to create worlds and problems, to listen to what your characters tell you.

Your dream destination on Earth?

There are so many places I’d love to visit one day. If I really have to decide, I’ll opt for Australia and New Zealand.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited / stayed.

I am a German citizen, but I was born in Sri Lanka. My father is German, my mother Sri Lankan, and my husband also Sri Lankan. I have lived in both countries. As for trips, I have been to Austria and Switzerland.

What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

What a difficult question… I think I like most about Germany how proper and logical and structured everything is. And anything you wish for is available. As for Sri Lanka, I like its natural beauty and its Buddhist background the most.

Your favorite color and why?

I love blue and purple in all shades. I’m not sure there’s a real reason for it. I associate purple with magic and mysterious things, so that might be why I’m drawn to it.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading?

I finished reading “The Summer They Never Forget” by Kandy Shepherd, which I enjoyed immensely. Some days ago, I started on the Spanish original of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Your favorite book and why?

It’s impossible to choose just one. I really love “The God of Small Things” by Arundhati Roy, “The Tale of the Body Thief” by Anne Rice, and “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen.

Your favorite food?

Pizza and chocolate :-)

What comes to your mind when you think of India?

A huge country full of fascinating cultures, intriguing history, and conflicts. So many people think it’s just one country where everything is much the same, but I know how diverse Indian life really is. I have some wonderful friends in India, and I’ve read some great novels by Indian authors.

Some quickies: (I’ve underlined what I choose)

Sun or Moon,
Laughter or Smile,
Morning or Evening,
Coffee or Tea,
Mountain or Sea,
Long Drive or Short Drive,
Silence or Conversation,
Water or Fire,
Air or Earth,
Mars or Jupiter,
Tulip or Rose,
Red or Blue,
Left or Right,
Glance or Stare

The last line of your autobiography would be…

Even in her next life, she’ll still be reading and writing.


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