Hello Avantika, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me. First things first: how did you take up writing?
I honestly don’t know, rather don’t remember. My mom has pieces of papers with my scribbles and it’s from when I was 4 or 5. I had written rhymes on my first Barbie doll, a favorite dress, the first rose that bloomed in our garden in Shillong. So, I genuinely don’t know how I took up writing, I guess it happened the other way round. Writing took me up.
What was your very first attempt at creative writing?
I started with writing for small time magazines, but I will consider my big break to be the one with Westland Publishing, when they offered me to write for the Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul series. I have written for a number of their titles, but The Bridal Pyre: NainamDahatiPawakah is my first independent novel.
Where did you get the ideas for your stories?
Regular people and their regular lives. Because every regular life in itself has something extraordinary. My book, The Bridal Pyre: NainamDahatiPawakah is about a very ordinary girl, Meera. When you read the book, you being an educated Indian woman will identify with her. But how she handles the challenges thrown at her by life is what makes her unusual. Such are many other people whom I find worth writing about and worth reading about.
What in particular gave you the idea for The Bridal Pyre: NainamDahatiPawakah?
The protagonist of The Bridal Pyre is a combination of real woman I have come across in my life. A part of Meera is me, another part is perhaps my cousin, and another a dear friend. We all had these issues in our lives which were going unaddressed. Someone had to address these issues, so I chose to do so.
Do you have particular schedules or writing routines when it comes to your work?
My writing process is that there is no writing routine or schedule. I am very impulsive when it comes to writing. I might be in the middle of my dinner and a thought could strike my mind. Till the time I do not pen it down, or rather type it down, I do not find solace. I cannot think for hours and write deliberately. Words need to flow through my mind. That is how it works for me.
A lot of authors are taking the indie publishing route. What’s your view about it?
I have nothing but best wishes for any and every author. We all are struggling to narrate a story that demands to be told. As long as one doesn’t resort to plagiarism for fame, everything is fine.
If your story got turned into a movie, who would you like to see star as leads?
Oh Wow! I never thought of it. May be myself as Meera..hahaha… no just kidding. I don’t know. I think Ranveer Singh will make a great Abhi. DeepikaPadukone is my favorite actress among the new lot. Again, she has the kind of personality and physical features to blend into Meera.
What are your future plans for writing? Can you give out a teaser or two for your readers?
I am writing a collection of love stories. One book with 7 stories, you may call them love stories too, but they are not restricted to romantic love, but all kinds of love encompassing human existence. Of course romance plays a vital part in driving these stories home but this will be the kind of love or romance you would want to hold on to. Still working on it.
Do you have any particular authors who inspire your work?
Jhumpa Lahiri. There is something about her writing that keeps me occupied for days after having finished the book. It’s sad that she has only written 4 books in her career so far and I pray every day that she settles on writing more books in English. I have also read the translation of her Italian book, In Other Words.
What would your advice be to aspiring authors?
Oh, I am too new to give anyone any advice. But then for any form of fine arts, I think it is important to be original. I guess everyone should have their own style of writing. The same thing doesn’t work twice.
What would be an ideal gift for you?
Give me a book that will make me cry – but don’t give me a cheesy boy meets girl love story.
And finally, if there was a book you could turn into a movie, what would it be and why?
Well, if I had it my way, I’d turn my own book, The Bridal Pyre – NainamDahatiPawakah into one. Why promote someone else’s when my own baby can use some?
Thank you once again for talking to BUZZ Magazine. I wish you all the best with your current work and future works.
Avantika is a corporate professional who gets drunk on good reads. And after having devoured Khaled Hosseini, Erich Segal, Jhumpa Lahiri and Paulo Coelho, she has finally figured out that writing is the only thing she would find solace in. She also has a crazy end to her personality with zero tolerance towards social hypocrisy and the open denial of truth that prevails all around. A regular contributor in the Chick Soup for the Soul series, blogging for some of the most popular websites, and experimenting in various forms of writing, she has finally worked out her first book, The Bridal Pyre – Nainam Dahati Pawakah. She speaks her mind through everything she writes and doesn’t pen a word down if she doesn’t mean it. So, only if you can face reality, read her book.