1) What/who inspired you to start writing?
I stumbled onto the entire concept of writing by chance. A friend told me about it. Then I started writing a blog. And I loved the feeling of words appearing magically on my notepad or on my screen. I got addicted to that feeling and before I knew, I was hooked on!
Plus, the fact that what I write, my thoughts, my ideas, could go to a larger audience made me take writing a little more seriously. One thing led to another and suddenly it was time to sort of take the plunge and write!
2) Tell us a little about yourself.
Let me use a few sentences here. Actually 5.
I am from Delhi but live in Mumbai.
I am old but I still think like a 18-year old.
I want to just sit and write but have to go for a day job that pays my bills.
I want to stay rooted at a place but I want to never stop travelling.
I claim to a grammar nazi but I dont really have that strong a hold over my own grammar!
3) What is your favourite genre?
Crime! And mystery. Lot of action. I am big fan of fast-paced stories.
And when not crime, I like to read biographies.
To be honest, I don’t get as much time to read as I hope to have. Whatever little I get, it goes in catching up on research for my next characters. So, I now get to read at most a book a week. Prior to taking up a job, I was reading upto 3 books a week.
4) Which are the books and who are the authors you favour the most?
It’s a long list. The ones I can think of immediately are English, August by Upamanyu Chatterjee amongst Indian authors. Gone Girl is brilliant. I love To Kill A MockingBird. I am a big fan of Alexandre Dumas and especially The Count of Monte Cristo. I also like the Jack Reacher series.
I know its an eclectic mix. Blame it on friends who recommend books and force me to read them.
Sometime back I made a list of top ten books. Its at http://septemberthe22nd.blogspot.in/2014/09/10-books-that-have-stayed-with-me-over.html
5) What are your hobbies?
I like to drive. I like to read. I love playing poker. I wish I could get better at it though.
Oh, I love to travel and I love talking to people. Having said this, will any of your readers, in some exotic country, want to host me in their homes for sometime? I promise I will not be a nuisance 🙂
More than hobbies, I have recently started with these 6-month projects. I pick up something and try to spend 6 months on it. If something good comes out of it, great. If nothing happens, I move on to the next one. The next projects that I am keen on taking up are swimming, guitar, yoga, get fitter and running. It’s a long long list!
6) Perfect holiday destination?
Damn this is a wrong question. Here I am trapped in office and you are asking me to think of places to travel. But since I’ve agreed to answer your questions, I think the perfect destination for me is the road. I love the feeling of being on the road, headed towards I don’t know where!
But if I were to choose a location, I’d say any place that is cold. Like Himachal. Like Panchgani; I love it. I can totally retire there if I can. I want to go to North-east but haven’t been there yet.
Or the Nordics.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit. Of the places I’ve been to, I’ve loved San Francisco, Prague, Copenhagen and London.
7) Describe a perfect writing day.
A perfect writing day would start at about 5. I’d go for an hour long walk. While walking, I would listen to my favorite music. I would then head to the nearest Starbucks and order a Java Chip Frappuccino. Plug in my headphones to my music and write.
I would write till noon. I would then have my lunch, go home, sleep for a bit. Without any alarms of course.
Whenever I wake up, I would want to go for a dip in the pool but I don’t know how to swim. Its on my to-do list for 2015. Come back from the pool, head to Starbucks again and write till it closes.
Of course a lot of this is wishful thinking. I neither have the luxury of time, nor I have unlimited bank balance to fund those 200 bucks a pop coffees. But then, as they say, you never know. I may just have it some day!
8) Which is the best part of writing a story?
The ability to play God has to be the best part. I also love that my characters can do things that I can never do. If I can’t get the pleasure out of doing things, I can definitely get borrowed pleasure of seeing my children (aka characters) live through those experiences and emotions.
9) How much inspiration do you draw on from real life experiences, with respect to plot, characters etc?
A lot! most of my characters are inspired by real people. I may or may not know them though. I tend to remember interesting people that I come across and when I write, I try to think of those interesting people and then mould my characters.
When I say a character is interesting, I mean there is something quirky, something memorable about it.
10) Who among the characters you created do you like the most and why?
I don’t think I can answer this one. Every character, large or small, is dear to me. It’s like asking someone to nominate one of the children as your favorite.
Having said that, I probably will become a very bad parent. Because I definitely like Rujuta more than the others! Why so? You’d have to read the book to figure out.
11) What kind of impact do your stories have on you?
My stories? Impact on me? Fair bit. Like I said, I want my characters to do things that I can’t, I tend to get lost in those stories. So while working on the stories, I get emotional if my character does not get what s/he wants. I get happy when they find the love of their lives. I fall in love when they see the person that they know, they will spend the rest of their lives with. Hope you get the drift.
For me, my characters are everything! Stories, places, plots dont really matter. What matters is characters. Thats where I start writing and that’s where I end!