Sulagna Chaudhary completed her Masters in Commerce. She is currently Associate Manager, Managed Security Services at Accenture Services Pvt Ltd. Let us know more about her writing.
What inspired you to start writing?
I have travelled fairly and worked across industries…my “in born habit” of talking to people all the time has helped me in getting to know a lot … about people, their lives and some “larger than life” stories. Stories that can leave one awed and wonderstruck!
While my observations and interactions over the years have been feeding my mind healthily, for a long time a thought has kept pinching me that “If I can be fascinated by these stories, so can be others.”
And hence, my tryst with the pen has begun.
What did you like to read when you were a girl?
I have been an avid reader from my childhood. My childhood blossomed with Enid Blyton, Satyajit Ray, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Tarashankar Bandopadhyaya etc.
Honestly my list is endless…
What is the greatest challenge in writing a book?
For me the greatest challenge is building and maintaining a time schedule where diligently I fix a slot for writing.
As it is, more about a flow of thoughts that could come in anytime, it is extremely difficult to maintain a time table for writing. However with a 5 year old princess who obviously needs my full time attention. a day job which while is exciting has got its own share of tightropes/ deadlines as well and owning a contemporary dance group, “Jhankar Beatz” (we perform Bollywood musicals both at corporate and social events) it was more about telling myself that I need to take some “time off” and pen my thoughts.
How much research do you do before writing the book?
It is of utmost importance that you believe in what you are writing….the bottom line is that the writer really need to stand by his/her own creation…and candidly the only way you will be able to do so is when you can validate each and every word in your story, obviously this only happens with diligent research and “real life” experience.
Thanks to all the mediums – Writers are able to receive feedback much faster…interaction with the readers are much more direct and “on the face” and this definitely means that more than anything the writer has to believe in what he is writing. At the end of it, it has to be an “honest” book.
What motivated you to write the book “Monsoon Masala”?
In one word, life! As they say, life is stranger than fiction.
After all if you ask me, I believe that even in the simplest so called “routine life” one can have a foray of “out- of- the- box” experiences which honestly sometimes supersede the best creation of imagination.
My motivation for writing Monsoon Masala has definitely been the people I have met, so called “common” and yet so special. The paparazzi might never be tempted to follow them, but according to me in their so called ordinary lives, they have achieved extraordinary and heroic feats.
Can you tell us more about your latest book “Monsoon Masala”?
Monsoon Masala is all about the twists and turns in the lives of two strongly opinioned individuals – Akanksha Dutta and Siddharth Chatterjee, and has just 1 take away, “Live each moment to its fullest so that when you retrospect, you don’t regret”.
A whacky love story which describes the madness and magic in the lives of these two individuals.
Siddharth Chatterjee – Mr Playboy…high flying career, parties, hot girls and loads of booze. Life can’t get better than this or can it?
Akanksha Dutta – Miss Perfectionist, who has fought against all odds and emerged as a winner, who detests the word “relationship” and wants to live life on her own terms only.
Multiple times they meet, they ditch, they bitch and bewitch each other.
And then, on 8th June 2004, Venus is in transit for the first time since 1882. Astrologers predict that this “celestial once in a lifetime” event will lead to the making of some great love stories.
Of course it ends with a surreal love story for these two individuals as well.
How did you come up with the idea of writing romantic fiction genre book?
Love never fails….it heals and hails! It’s my sincere belief in the power of love that has led me to write a romantic fiction.
After all, love stories are not always the “run off” the mill kinds…some them have bigger stories embedded like a tragedy, unsurmountable struggles, unanticipated situations…more often than not it’s the healing power of love and self-belief that not only helps you survive the same but also leads you to do the best that you can in that situation.
Kismet does take a turn, cupid does call…someone somewhere eventually reaches out to you, after all miracles are merely a stone’s throw away….you just need to believe in them.
Who are your favourite authors?
The list is endless right from my childhood favorites like Enid Blyton, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens to the works of legends like Rabindranath Tagore, Bakim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay .
I am in complete love with Jeffrey Archer, Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham, R.K.Narayan, Jackie Collins, Jhumpa Lahiri, Bikram Seth, Arundhati Roy, Amish Tripathi.
As I said, my list is endless.
How much time do you dedicate to writing on a daily basis?
Honestly it depends. As I said while I try to keep aside a couple of hours (atleast) daily sometimes just jostling with ideas, there are days (specially on weekends/ planned leave) when I spend hours writing.
Structuring the writing process is something I work on primarily after I have penned my thoughts and know that I am good to come up with my first draft.
What words of wisdom would you like to give to aspiring writers?
More often than not I have heard the statement that “today almost anyone thinks that he or she can be a writer (aajkal toh likhte hain).” While the statement is definitely not motivational, it is actually true!
With the plethora of paperbacks, flurry of publishers, diverse medium options I feel writing has been given a fresh lease and is bringing out a new generation of writers altogether …people who are gifted with the art of “connecting” but unfortunately who were not writing much and for the larger audience previously.
If someone says that quality is surely getting compromised, my thinking is that readers are not takers of everything that’s comes out.
In the flood of paperbacks…people still rate …they talk…and with social networking full on, the word or should I say, the judgment spreads!
And so my only 2 cents are don’t give up…write what you believe in…while commercial success is definitely the dessert to crave, personal satisfaction is the hunger you will satiate!! Honestly there is nothing sweeter than leafing through the pages of your own creation. And you never know your belief just might be something people believe in / identify themselves with.
After all one of the famous words of wisdom that stand strong through centuries happens to be “Pen is mightier than sword”!
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