I had a fetish for writing since my school days. Words conflicted in my mind and I would scribble in the back pages of my notebooks. In each examination, I would often opt for the short story in the English Language question paper, and then I would bite my nails thinking what if the teacher didn’t like it. I believe writing has to come from within, like love. You need to feel a strong urge.
What was your very first attempt at creative writing?
Remembering the first attempt is almost impossible because I started writing at a very young age. But I can recall those afternoons when I sat in the balcony and wrote stories and poems until dusk. I was the kind of kid who sneaked out of the bedroom after my grandmother fell asleep, and I watched the kites battle for survival. I dug up the soil of plant pots and hid shells and coins under the roots, thinking someday someone would find them and think they are treasures. Both my grandparents were avid readers and we have always had a good collection of books at home. So I think it all began there… at home.
Where did you get the ideas for your stories?
The characters of my stories usually are born out of people I meet and come across in real life. I have a habit of observing people, conversations and incidents around me, even when I am travelling by a slow tram and through the large window I see a city coming alive through smoke, noise and voices. I write realistic fiction so I like to add a lot of reality to my plot.
What in particular gave you the idea for Little Longer Than Forever?
I was switching jobs in Mumbai in the monsoon of 2010 when I first thought of writing a story. But it didn’t work out. A year and a half later when I was working in a news channel in Delhi, I thought I could write a novel. I deleted everything I had carefully saved in a folder in my laptop. I started writing a new story, and I finished it a year later when I had already shifted back to Kolkata. I wanted to write a simple yet extraordinary story of love. LLTF is a very ordinarily simple tale of love and hope.
And because of the title, we can safely assume that there will be more books in the series?
I had thought of a sequel to Little Longer Than Forever, but now I am unsure as to if I would write it at all. I have other plots in mind and I am working on two books already. But yes, if I ever feel sure of writing a sequel, I will go ahead with it. Actually I feel I have grown as a writer mentally over the last few months. I think I will have to grow a little younger again!
Do you have particular schedules or writing routines when it comes to your work?
I don’t have any particular schedule of writing routine. I write whenever I feel there is something in my mind that needs to be written down. I have written plots on the phone at midnight, in mails to self, and even on tissue papers. But yes, writing is a constant task for me. That’s my discipline. In my mind I am constantly thinking of stories, characters and how to write them down.
A lot of authors are taking the indie publishing route. What’s your view about it?
I think every good work needs to be published. We need to move forward with time. Nowadays a lot of young authors are exploring the indie publishing route. A lot of young writers are coming out with good stories.
If your story got turned into a movie, who would you like to see star as leads?
I would never want Little Longer Than Forever to turn into a movie. 288 pages aren’t enough drama already?!
What are your future plans for writing? Can you give out a teaser or two for your readers?
I am almost done with my second book which is an anthology. It is a collection of ten short stories, and each is about an aspect of human relationship. I have tried to bring up several issues through characterisation and dialogues, and I am working hard on it. I have begun writing another novel and it is in its nascent stage.
Do you have any particular authors who inspire your work?
I have Murakami on one side and Ruskin Bond on the other. So imagine where I am stuck. Inspiration is everywhere. I feel we have to absorb it from the books we read, from the noises we hear and from the people we meet. Even a sudden rain can inspire.
What would your advice be to aspiring authors?
Believe in yourselves, make thinking a continuous habit, and never ever give up writing. Success sometimes takes time to come to you, but it will surely come. You have to feel ‘book’ed for a lifetime.
What would be an ideal gift for you?
A workless weekday. And it has to be very, very cloudy.
And finally, if there was a book you could turn into a movie, what would it be and why?
There is a short story from my yet to be published anthology that I would really want to see on screen someday. The name of the story is ‘Macarons of Mathura’.
Aryani Banerjee: Born in September, 1986 in erstwhile Calcutta, writing poems and stories was an innate hobby. She completed her schooling from St. Paul’s Boarding & Day School and then her graduation from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. She wrote for newspapers and magazines and anchored for youth programmes on satellite channels for a while, before pursuing a Post-Graduate Diploma from Times School of Journalism, New Delhi. It was during this time that her sincere journey with words began. Juggling between her job in the television media and her hobby as a travel columnist, she decided to pen down books. She has also edited and written chapters of a couple of political biographies that went on to become bestsellers.