Wednesday 4 January 2017

Questionnaire with Sujata Parashar

So, for this month  featuring  author from Indian Literary                                 world  is Sujata Parashar 

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Your profession and your hobbies!!
I’m a curious person. I like to explore, question and seek. Because of my army bringing up, I have imbibed a few basic traits you associate with the army and which could be quite irritating at times especially in the creative arena. The prominent of them being; my sense of punctuality and straightforwardness. I appreciate simplicity, fair - play and open-mindedness in others. I’m grateful for everything that I’ve in life but most of all for my parents; they’re my pillars of strength. I’m proud of my son, Lokevidu – a sensible, sharp and sensitive boy.  Besides writing, I like to talk, try out different world cuisines, listen to music, and love traveling.

1.     How did you first get involved in with writing, are you an imaginative person?
Yes, I’m a highly imaginative person and that is, perhaps, the only reason that I was enchanted and pulled into the world of creative writing. Writing for me is a medium to explore, express, entertain, and engage with myself and the world. My first book, ‘In Pursuit of Infidelity,’ happened by sheer luck. And what more, I wasn’t ready to receive so much attention and accolade for that book and the others that followed. It helped me recognise and appreciate a part of me that lay neglected all these years.  

It was while doing a social project, I got the seed idea for my first book and without thinking why I wanted to put it into the paper I began writing. Soon I realised it was turning into an engaging tale and I wanted to share it with my friends and others. Without delay, I took the next step and approached a few reputed publishers. Rupa and co. agreed to publish the book and that’s how my literary journey began.

2.     What do you find most challenging about your writing?
My greatest challenge is to clearly express my thoughts. While my storytelling abilities is my strength, I find my style of writing lacking the persuasion and articulation that I admire in many of my contemporaries. However, I understand that this is a gradual process and I must pursue it relentlessly if I want to go from good to great.

3.     What do you do when you are not writing?
I call myself a professional gypsy. In the late nineties, after completing my post-graduation in travel and tourism management, I started my career in the civil aviation sector and worked with a European Airline, SAS. A lot of the credit to what I’m today goes to my experience at SAS. After my marriage, when I shifted to Singapore, I worked for a Business Resort and simultaneously completed my Masters in Human Rights. Later, when I moved back home, I joined the social sector which I’d had a brush with even before leaving India and had done short stints with two reputed NGOs of the country although working in different areas, Prerana and ACCORD. 

Upon my return to India, I was invited by Empowering Minds, a Delhi-based NGO, which focuses in the areas of Mental Health and Education, on their executive board. I started working with them also on a project to project basis. Currently, I’m a national trainer & a lay psychosocial worker for one of their important mental health projects for the bleeding disorders community.  I also do freelance writing for various other institutions, corporate houses, and literary magazines, online journals et al. 

4.     How do you keep coming up with material/content for your story?
I don’t have an appropriate response to that. It just happens. A word, a sight, a situation…anything can trigger the imagination and a story starts taking shape in my mind. But curiously there’ve been times when I felt like giving up and then somehow I got a clue on how to proceed. See, I believe we’re all gifted. This is my gift and I’m fortunate I recognised it and now using it to engage and entertain people.

5.     Any specific tips you have for new writers who want to make it big in the world of published books?
If you’re seriously passionate about writing don’t look at other writers. You can read them, admire their work but please don’t imitate them or let them overwhelm you. Instead, focus on yourself. Give your best to the world. Mind you, give your best!

6.     What’s the best thing a writer can give to his readers?
From a fiction writer’s perspective, a good story. A story that’ll transport the readers to another world and make them forget their worldly – woes for a while and just enjoy that time they spend reading the book. From a poet’s perspective, something to evoke deeper emotions and feel connected to other fellow – beings and understand their joys and sorrows. This could happen even with prose. But poetry has the power to nudge, touch and heal a heart almost immediately with a few well - chosen words strung together in the form of a verse.

7.   A lot of people are interested in writing for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from writing? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?

It is a well – known fact that most writers don’t earn much. The situation is even grimmer in current times. A full – time writer has to work doubly hard to earn her bread and butter. It is always better to have a stable job. Even if it is a job in the publishing/writing industry.

8.    What motivates you most in life?
Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, children, and Mother Nature.

9.  The majority of the readers tend to take sides due to religion and such other considerations.

Don’t like to talk about this matter.

10.     What is the story behind the name of your book?
My next book is a story of the triumph of human spirit against all odds. In this case, that of a woman who rises from the ashes to reclaim her life.

11.    What are your views on increasing plagiarism?
Any creative person will agree that stealing someone else’s ideas or work and passing it off as one’s own is wrong and must be condemned. However, in this increasingly digitalized era, it is easier for writers and others in the creative field to poach other people’s work or ideas without remorse. Some don’t even consider it stealing. Just a tweak here and a word change there and they happily accept it as their own work. But just like staying in someone else’s beautiful house doesn’t make one the owner of that house similarly lifting other people’s ideas doesn’t make them the creator of that work. By doing so, the only person they fool is themselves.