Hello Romila, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me. 🙂
First things first: how did you take up writing?
I started writing at the age of 13 in the year 1996 for my school magazine as I was approached by my Hindi teacher Mrs Rashmi Srivastava who saw the writer in me. I was hesitant as I had never written a single word before that because I was always a reader, but she encouraged and helped me. My first piece was in Hindi on the topic Unemployment which was approved and published and after that my mother discovered a prospective writer in me and she pushed me towards writing and today I have 21 years of experience. From school magazines to local newspapers to national magazines to websites to blogs to famous publications, I have written for all.
What was your very first attempt at creative writing?
My first attempt at creative writing was for my blog in 2004 June, titled ‘How would I be after 20years’. I think I still have this post somewhere in my computer. I am quite imaginative by nature and such ideas and posts are easily written by me. Another creative post ‘An autobiography of a 500 Rs note’ remains one of my best.
Where did you get the ideas for your stories/poems?
I am an observer. I don’t forget people, incidents, and experiences. These serve as a background for my ideas. Most of my short stories are inspired by people around me and micro fiction on Twitter – which I write a lot are my own experiences, heartbreaks, and achievements. For poetry again I would say the same. Very recently for a competition I wrote 5 poems in 60 minutes of 100 words each and I got the ideas from my book covers of both the books – a typewriter/flowers/coffee.
What in particular gave you the idea for The Three Flowers?
While reading about the phenomenon of short poetry which is one of the most intriguing forms of poetry on the Internet, micropoetry featured on Twitter caught all my attention. What is micropoetry, you might ask? It’s a genre of poetic verse which is characterized by its extreme brevity. Poets must create works that are 140 characters or less. To me, this idea of limited words was fascinating and challenging. Writing poetry is a wonderful way to jump start- your creativity that polishes your writing skills. A decade ago, I wouldn’t have dared write this sentence, much less declare myself a poetess, but now I have no qualms about it. I am really glad to call myself a well accepted, accomplished and praised poetess.
What made you want to write and publish a book on micropoetry?
Poetry was a genre I wanted to experiment with and be as successful as I am with fiction and non-fiction pieces of work. As Micro poetry and Micro stories had taken the world by a storm, I decided to do my 2nd ebook on Micropoetry. The only real rule for micropoetry is less, not more. I didn’t want to burden my readers with many hundreds of lines of poetry. Micro poems may or may not contain punctuation, capitalization, and other markers of English, set often in incomplete sentences, which was definitely challenging for me and I thought to experiment with this genre as I found out no much books are in the market on them. The result of my poems is surprisingly powerful and successful. Writing in 140 characters has taught me to slash sentences. It’s been a fascinating exercise. It has deepened my appreciation of my writing: it’s incredible to see how every single sentence, advances to the next line and how almost every sentence stands alone as a great poem all by itself.
Do you have particular schedules or writing routines when it comes to your work?
I have a habit of writing in advance; I very rarely do any on the spot writing. I write every day, at least 1000 words and today the word limit has crossed 5000 as I had much to write. It is all for the future. I don’t believe in deadlines, I am always before the date. I take small breaks in between writing so that I get refreshed with better ideas.
A lot of authors are taking the indie publishing route. What’s your view about it?
Indie publishing (Independent) is similar to Self-Publishing there is one bigger factor with one bigger person involved. This is you. You are your own publisher. You don’t have one. On the inside cover of your book it says: YOU, isn’t that pretty awesome? The most obvious pro of being an indie author is that you have total creative control of your work. One area in which indie publication really shines is in the publication of short or niche writing. If you know there’s an audience for your book, but it’s too short to interest publishers or won’t attract enough readers to gain their interest, indie publication may well be the answer. Creatively, indie authors begin in the wilderness, and no-one is coming to show them the way out. Absolute control over their work means getting to make all the decisions, but the flipside of that coin is that they have to make all the decisions. Traditional publication can take years, and there’s nowhere in the process where it’s a sure thing. As an indie author, a surprising world event, change in management, or competing publication from the same company won’t suddenly upend your plans. This might be particularly beneficial for stories that play off a recent event or trend – indie publication lets you fast-track your story and be first on the scene.
If your story got turned into a movie, who would you like to see star as leads?
I would like to see Konkana Sen Sharma as the lead for sure. Other stars never thought. She comes in my mind instantly whenever I think if my story is made into a movie.
What are your future plans for writing? Can you give out a teaser or two for your readers?
My next book is a collection of short stories – which are from one page to three pages long. I have been penning down these stories since 2013. A few of them were in my blog and some of them made me win Fiction contests. I plan to compile and bring them out in an eBook.
Do you have any particular authors who inspire your work?
Yes the very big name Dan Brown in novel writing and in poetry Dante Aligheri. I do plan to write a poetry book again which I would definitely write on the lines of Aligheri’s style. Among Indian authors in English it is Ruskin Bond without a doubt and I recently got complimented that his style of writing has been reflected in my work. This was huge for me!
What would your advice be to aspiring authors?
Determine what your writing goals are and when and how you’re going to make them happen, and if your plan doesn’t include actual words on paper within the near future, then rework your plan until it does. I do think it’s valuable to know what’s happening in the publishing world and what your audience is interested in. Think of your favorite writer. The one that constantly blows you away by their clever plot twists, their marvelous characterization, the way they make the words glow on the page. First drafts are always horrible and ugly. Don’t worry about that – it’s the same for everyone. Always keep a notebook and pen by your bedside. No matter how much you convince yourself you’ll remember that brilliant idea in the morning, you really won’t. Write it down because sleep has a way of giving you ideas and then stealing them right back.
What would be an ideal gift for you?
Let me make it as gifts – I love bags but I don’t mind adding more to my present collection, Journals, pens, personalized goodies, gadgets, books, stationery and bangles.
And finally, if there was a book you could turn into a movie, what would it be and why?
The last book I read was Jihadi Jane by Tabish Khair and I would like if this is made into a movie, with real locations of England, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Indonesia. Jihadi Jane is a story of two Muslim friends, Ameena and Jamilla, who live in England. They decide to join the fanatic forces in Syria and life is not the same again. And that’s not in a good way. It offers an insight into questions such as: why would educated, well-to-do people from the First World countries join ISIS? The thought-provoking book is a tragic, fictional story which might as well be true for many. The book helps to understand the process of brainwashing, the fanaticism and the ‘recruitment’ through social media employed by fanatics to lure vulnerable people. It also lays bare the horror of being a part of the terror gang. It’s heart-wrenching and painful.
Thank you once again for talking to BUZZ Magazine. I wish you all the best with your current work and future works. 🙂
Team at Buzz Magazine, it was wonderful interacting with you through these questions and I will come back with my next book to you. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
Romila says: I love being called as the blogging queen – a title I am proud of. I am an experienced blogger who has been around since 2004. Professionally I am a writer- Editor- Research Analyst and a Social Media Influencer. I am a voracious reader, devoted coffee-drinker, avid thinker and a fashion lover. Conversations with me are endless & joyful – the perfect combination! Just like my hilarious tweets, I am very witty person in real. I happily accept bouquets and brickbats on my writings.