Hello Shuchi, thank you for being a part of IWI’s Incredible Women Writers of India 2016, and sharing your journey as a writer.
How would you define yourself?
I am an old nomadic soul in search of a place where I’d belong. Mildly complex in the head, a little dark and a little light, with an imagination that will stop at nothing.
What was your childhood like? Any incidents form your growing up years that shaped you as a person?
Most of my childhood years were spent in Libya and I have very fond memories of the place. I had a lot of company but very few friends. I was a recluse for the most part, and preferred spending time alone in my tree house with my books and my thoughts. The world outside rarely fascinated me – I was more in awe of the parallel worlds existing in my head. I believe my introversion is largely responsible for my love for reading and writing.
When did your journey as a writer/poet began?
I have been writing for myself for as long as I can remember. Be it random passages, poetry, personal journals or stories, there has never been a time in my life when I wasn’t writing. However, I became a professional full-time writer only in 2005.
Do you have a muse? If yes, who or what acts as a catalyst to your writing?
Not a person or a thing in particular, but any kind of strong emotion or upheaval that I go through is safely stored away in the recesses of my mind to be used as inspiration later.
Do you plan out your work or just go with the flow?
For my freelance writing projects, I am super-organized and disciplined because there are deadlines to be met. For fiction writing, I tend to go with the flow, because it is something I like to do when I’m completely relaxed and tuned-in to myself.
For you, what’s the easiest thing about writing and the hardest thing? Do you have any weird/funny writing rituals?
The easiest thing is writing and the hardest thing is writing something another person would want to read. I don’t know if it is weird or funny, but I get this surge of inspiration whenever I am sitting in a moving object – a train, bus or flight. It’s probably because I feel most at home when I’m in transit.
Do you get writer’s block? How do you battle it?
Like I said, for my professional assignments, I don’t allow myself the luxury of writer’s block. What needs to be done, needs to be done in the stipulated time. So I just sit at the desk and do it. Fiction is something I do for passion so I allow myself more leeway there, although I realize I need to carry forth the same discipline in this department too.
How have you evolved as a writer since you have started? If you could give one advice to yourself, what would it be? What are you working on now?
I would like to believe that I have evolved, even though writing is an art no one can truly master. There is always scope for improvement and learning. The more you write, the better you get at it. When I read something I wrote years ago, and compare it with a recent piece of writing, I can notice the difference. My writing now has more depth and maturity. Of late I haven’t been able to read as much as I’d like to. I’d like to change that because nothing sparks ideas and imagination like a good book in hand.
Right now, I am working on a couple of manuscripts. One of them is an expansion of a short story I wrote some time ago for New Asian Writing’s annual anthology.
What’s your opinion about the future of writing/reading/the publishing industry in India?
I believe that there are more writers than readers these days. There are so many avenues for entertainment that people take to books only when they are really passionate about reading. Nevertheless, reading is something that will never ever go out of style. The mode of consumption may change though, and by the looks of it, the publishing industry is evolving alongside to keep up with the trends.
One liners: Favorite food… Chaat
Favorite Book… Wuthering Heights
Favorite author… There are way too many
What are you afraid of… Losing my loved ones
What makes you angry… Lies and betrayal. Can’t deal with it.
Childhood crush… I guess I didn’t crush on anyone hard enough to remember J
Things that you can’t leave without… If I have to leave the house, I’ll need my phone and lip balm. If I have to leave the world, I’d rather go empty handed.
Any message or advice you want to share with our readers?
The world needs more love, compassion and kindness. Do everything you can to spread smiles and lend a hand to those who need it.
To follow her work check out her Facebook Author Page:
Please Note: This interview has been conducted online via emails by Rhiti Bose for IWI.