Amrita’s started her formal education from South Point School in Kolkata. Later she graduated with a first class in sociology from Presidency College and topped it off with another first class in the masters programme from Calcutta University.
Amrita Mukherjee started her career at The Asian Age. Subsequently she worked in The Hindustan Times, The Times of India and ITP Publishing in Dubai. She quit full-time journalism in 2011 and started writing her book and also started freelancing for various international magazines and websites. She also blogs about social issues with a focus on women.
She had sent her manuscript only to Rupa Publications and they accepted it. She thinks that’s her greatest achievement, to be accepted by one of the largest publishers in India at first shot. Let us know more about her writing in her own words.
What inspired you to start writing?
Every day is a new experience for a journalist, which is worth writing about and that is what I wanted to do. But when I started writing my son was 10 months old, I had lost my brother to cancer 10 months back and I had quit my job. Writing was my refuge from the mental turmoil.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
The Diary of Anne Frank is a book I read at 13 and it changed me as a person forever. Bengali author Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay’s Chander Pahar (Mountain of the Moon) had a similar impact on me.
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
For someone like me it is the consistency. I am multi-tasking so furiously that there are days I don’t get to write at all and there are times I am at it all night. This way you tend to lose the thread which is truly agonizing.
How much research did you do before writing the book?
The part where the book moves into the Egyptian Revolution I had to do thorough research to ensure I didn’t go wrong in the dates, incidents and details.
What motivated you to write the book “Exit Interview”?
I have worked in a number of organizations and I have always felt that you can never tell the truth while you are filling in the form for the exit interview and sometimes in the modern world it is even advised not to tell the truth because you tend to burn your bridges and ruin your own reputation.
But there are so many grievances that people want to write about. The idea of writing Exit Interview came from there. Anyone who has worked in the corporate world or a large organization will be able to identify with this book because the story stems from the truth that can’t be told.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Exit Interview”?
Since the book is out and people have already started reading and reviewing it I will tell you all the things they have said : “It’s a racy read”, “a page turner”, “keeps you hooked till the end”, “about a plethora of experiences”, “visual” and most have said “it can be turned into a feature film.”
It is about the journey of fictional journalist Rasha Roy and how her career and life oscillates between extreme highs and lows. Exit Interview tackles sexual harassment in the workplace, nepotism and the consequences of a shocking expose. It has a woman as the central character but has very strong male characters, who are very real, funny and even eccentric. The narrative moves through three countries but remains convincingly connected.
How did you come up with the idea of writing fiction genre book?
Writing fiction is very satisfying because it’s your imagination at work tinged with loads of truth.
Who are your favourite authors?
The list will be endless but I keep going back to Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, Arvind Adiga’s The White Tiger and Amitav Ghosh’s In An Antique Land.
How much time do you dedicate for writing on a daily basis?
As I said earlier I am inconsistent.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Get someone, who will be honest and critical about your writing, to read your work before you send it to a publisher. In my case it was my husband and he actually made me change the ending and I am glad he did that.
You can buy her book: