Honestly, I don’t remember. All I know is that I’ve been writing ever since I learnt to string words into sentences. Even when I couldn’t write, I’d make stories on the go. My family brought me up amidst wonderful stories. My granny and aunt didn’t sing lullabies. Instead, they sang stories to me when it was time to sleep. They bribed me with stories to get me to do something. I think it was natural that I started writing my own very soon.
What was your very first attempt at creative writing?
I wrote a short story about two identical twins for my Dadaji (grandfather). It was his birthday gift. I was seven. But even before that I wrote. I wrote letters to all my dolls so they wouldn’t miss me when I went to school leaving them behind.
Where did you get the ideas for your stories?
My stories are more often than not inspired from real life. What I see, hear, feel — everything ends up in my stories. But as a child when I wrote, my inspirations came from the stories my Dadaji told me. We had a deal. Every Sunday he told me eight stories and based on that I wrote one for him in return. What in particular gave you the idea for All of Me?
All of Me is a compilation of some of my previously published short stories. These stories had appeared in various anthologies and journals in the course of a year. Some of my friends wanted to read all the stories but at one go. It wasn’t possible since these were scattered all over. That’s when I came up with the solution — all my stories in one place in the form of a solo collection. Publishing it as an e-book seemed logical, so I went ahead with the idea.
Do you have particular schedules or writing routines when it comes to your work?
I try but fail miserably at maintaining any discipline for my writing. When I was writing my novel, I sat for an hour diligently every day. That was the first draft. The second draft saw me doing anything but writing. The writing schedule has been a downhill ever since. Now I write either when I feel like it or if there’s a deadline.
A lot of authors are taking the indie publishing route. What’s your view about it?
I’d been apprehensive about indie publishing for a while. Though I don’t advocate it, I think it’s better than not getting a publisher all together. Provided one has a strong social presence, indie publishing could be the answer actually. Reputed publishing houses take too long to read the manuscripts. Indie publishers on the other hand are eager to accommodate. But one should be very careful while consenting to an indie publisher since there are way too many frauds these days.
I think KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is a better option since there’s full autonomy.
If your story got turned into a movie, who would you like to see star as leads?
I’m a die-hard SRK fan. No matter what the story is, my dream cast includes SRK, Ranveer Singh, and Fawad Khan. For the female character I can only think of Kareena Kapoor. Now, if you had asked me who the playback singer would be, that is something I am absolutely sure about. It has to be Atif Aslam. What are your future plans for writing? Can you give out a teaser or two for your readers?
I’ve two unfinished manuscripts that I work on every now and then. Actually, there’s more incomplete work in my caddy than I dare accept. I want to write but then procrastination takes over me and or work load overwhelms me and I find myself only dreaming about writing.
Here’s the blurb of my upcoming novel, ‘Matters of the Heart’
Memories define us but when we die they are wiped clean. We become new personalities when we are born again. But what if we were born with our past memories intact? Or with a part at least. Imagine a palimpsest—two different stories trying to unfold at once. One that should have dissolved but doesn’t, twines with the new that suffers along. A single lifetime interspersed with two very different memories. Between reality and foggy retentions layer upon layer of thought and reverie are inscribed that do not belong to the present but to an unknown past whose existence even is unknown.
And caught up in this vortex is a young painter- Rini- whose life is a rollercoaster ride. “Seven suicide attempts in seven years” –she is summed up as a freak, a misfit. Yet her lover- Aritro- finds her befitting. Their’s is a love story that spans through the mortal and the otherworld. It is the shadow of another lifetime- of Srija’s- that spells pain and loss for them. She claims her existence and struggles for an individual identity apart from Rini: an unheard crusade that leaves behind turmoil and uncertainty laced by the fear of loss.
Three stories weave themselves together and hinge on each other to complete the journey that was destined to be. It is a journey that takes those involved through a tale of relationships, loss, emotional conflicts, sacrifice and immortal love. Love that stays behind even when everything else perishes.
Do have any particular authors who inspire your work?
There are so many authors whom I love reading and re-reading. But when it comes to someone who inspires my writing or my style of writing, it would be Jhumpa Lahiri. I’ve idolized her from the moment I read ‘Interpreter of Maladies.’ I’ve been told that my style resembles hers and though I think this is an exaggeration, I can’t help but gloat a little. *winks and blushes*
What would your advice be to aspiring authors?
Read. Read as if your life depends on it. Be picky about your selection. Read only those writers who are better than you. And write, of course. Don’t write with the aim of getting published. That will come later. Write because you want to. Write because you’d not be at peace until you did. Improve that manuscript for the umpteenth time and believe in your work.
What would be an ideal gift for you?
This one’s a no-brainer. The ideal gift for me is books. And chocolates. I feel I can gorge on both of these and never have enough.
And finally, if there was a book you could turn into a movie, what would it be and why?
Can I name my own book? Well, if you answer in the positive, then I’d say I want to see my novel turned into a beautiful movie. The first reason is because it’s my baby and I want loads of success for my baby. On a serious note, I think my story has something different to say. I don’t think there’s a movie, or a story in that case, on the same lines as my soon to release novel, ‘Matters of the Heart.’ I can promise you it’s not a typical love story. Hope the blurb grabs your attention.
Thank you once again for talking me. I wish you all the best with your current work and future works. 🙂
Title: All of Me
Author: Jonali Karmakar
Blurb: ‘All of Me’ is a collection of thirteen little stories that have been gleaned from real life as well as imagination. Exploring a range of genres, these throb with everything primal to human nature: fear, angst, joy, love, and longing. Some stories are designed to elicit smiles, chuckles, and maybe even a belly laugh or two whereas some are meant as a reality check. Universal in nature, each story provides a glimpse of what women empowerment or a lack thereof can mean in a person’s life.
From a small hamlet in India to the roads of Australia; from a mother’s betrayal to a daughter’s confession; from romance to heartbreak, learn for yourself the what, how and whys.
Originally written for anthologies and ezines, these stories have been revisited and updated for this new collection.
Author Bio: Jonali Karmakar is a fiction writer with a Masters in English. Writing is not just her passion but her way of dealing with life. She loves being able to escape into the worlds she creates. Everything that she writes becomes a part of her and she wants her readers to know the woman behind those words. In addition to being an educator, she works as a content editor for a local news portal. She has been providing editing, proofreading and translation services for the past few years.
Jonali’s work has been published in several journals, anthologies and poetry collections both national and international. An avid reader, she loves flipping pages of anything and everything on the table and reviewing the same on her blog Eclectic Moods. She feels that reading and writing are the flip sides of the same coin. Writing is her way of communicating with the world. When she’s not writing or teaching she loves to experiment with her paintings.