1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your hobbies and interests.
I love gardening and traveling. Not only to Darjeeling. But also to Phoont-si-ling, Ok. No more Rhyming. I like listening to Parvati Das Baul, Ed Sheeran, A R Rahman, Kaushiki Chakraborty, Andrew Rieu, Rabindra Sangeet and Philippe Herreweghe. I love to read fiction and non-fiction books. I listen to them, also, when my hands are busy but my mind wanders and craves reading.
2. When and why did you start writing books?
Writing books was to compile most of my writings for my readers. I have been writing for myself, probably, since I was ten. Then, for friends when I was fourteen. For readers, I wrote when I was twenty three. First book happened in 2013. Then another in 2014. Then I keep writing a novel, which is yet to be published, another soon to be published novella and finally I published a novel in 2019 hastily. The same year, I published a collection of short stories. 2020 was a tough year and I could not publish my second and very ambitious non-fiction. 2021 is the year of back to back publication. Since August, every month I have a new book. I am late for the December book. I am hopeful to continue the endeavor till the middle of the next year. I write mostly to entertain my readers. If they have other takeaways from those write-ups it's their generosity.
3. What made you decide to tackle writing as a career?
I turned forty and realized that jobs would be closing on me. My nomad life would be stuck to OTT shows and books. And I would grow older with an anxiety of failing to pay my bills, So I turned to my long term habit of writing and use it for earning enough to pay my bills. Besides, it is more like doing something I love. Though, I am going through many things which previously I thought awful things to do. Things like posting everyday on social media. But when you have a flash fiction to offer every week, a new book cover every now and then and a book a month to the digital shelves, it's a lot to talk about besides, where I had been or what I have cooked or what nail polish would be great to paint my medicine boxes. (ha ha! you read correctly. I paint my medicine boxes with nail polish; sometimes.) Does this sound like my midlife crisis made me choose writing as a career? Even if that's true, I am loving my new career because it's what I love to do.
4. Which one of your books or characters is your favourite?
Tough call. I love them all. I love Fatima in Maternal Might for she embraced the unknown to revive her life. I love Reema and her quirks that made her the survivor and made me realize that there is no win or loss in the struggle of life. It's all about keeping yourself afloat. I love Shila for she made mistakes to give her another chance, though she lost her freedom in pursuit of liberty. She taught me to embrace small takeaways even in big losses. I loved the spirit of Doriya/Dhee for never saying die attitude. I love Pema for swan-like quality which never makes her despicable and the way she rose above all the things she did that society condemns. I love them all. A little too much. I cannot really single out one of them. Each of them made me evolve.
5. Which one of your books was the hardest to write and stretched you the most as a writer?
It was "How to Steal a Pond". It was reliving a tough phase of my life and reshaping the phase in a bearable fiction. It was the fight of a hitherto naive woman against corruption and building up her professional reputation and saving her life. It was a personal experience. It was the truth and ugly truth of life. It was difficult to detach my own feelings about those events and dramatize them to make them ludicrous and to transform them to something universal from a few very personal things.
6. Who is your favourite author and book?
Another difficult question. There are too many books that turned me inside out. Margarett Michel's Gone With the Wind and Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged were two of them. I would remember my feelings of reading Ernerst Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea for the first time till death. Not a single day I live without thinking about Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. References from Shesher Kobita and Raktakarabi by Rabindranath Tagore are my habits. I am mesmerized by the prose of Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe and ruthlessness of the prose of Disgrace by J.M Coetzee. Everyday I aspire to imbibe the simplicity of short stories by Alice Munroe. Then there was the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Konan Doyle.
7. What book are you reading right now?
I am a scavenger now. I am switching between Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and three non-fiction books for research to feed to one of my fiction works. Besides, I am reading digital marketing books. Also a bit of Manu Sanhita, Upanishad, Shreemad Bhagwat Geeta, Mormon Bible and Quran.
8. Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
Mostly people and their lives inspire me. I draw my inspiration from people. Often I find that I am listening to others and remembering whatever they are telling at face value, without judging. Later these narrations seep into my stories. Also, I observe conflicts and try to find resolution to them in my mind, in my writings.
9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Reading books (ha ha, repetitive and boring answer). Watching shows on streaming services. Cannot say much. I don't mostly have spare time, Especially, now with back to back book launches on my platter
10. Do you have any new books in the works?
Yes, I have eight books back to back scheduled to be published in each of the upcoming months. Since August I have published my non-fiction Indian Citizenship Decoded, two short read mysteries, Little Abode for Children and Street Facts and a short read literary fiction, Maternal Might. The upcoming ones are a novel Sierra Papa Yankee, Rescuing the Realm, Roronga Reunited, Fire from the Star, and two yet to be finalized titles..