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Interview with Shalini P Sawkar

Shalini P Sawkar
The Murder of Jay Shekhar

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?
A. I’m a fiction writer from Bangalore. But apart from writing, I also enjoy making art, and I’m currently taking painting lessons from my sister Soumya.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
A. Of course, you will. I’m working on a couple of stories, contemporary fiction, and thrillers.

Q.3 Where do you get your ideas?
A. I draw my inspiration from various sources, for instance, from something that has caused me pain in the past, a piece of the conversation, and from places, I have traveled.

Q.4 What advice do you have for writers?
A. Keep reading, keep writing and keep chasing your curiosity! Be open to learning. You can pick up something new from anywhere.

Q.5 Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A. Generally, I let the story take its own path, and stay true to it. As long as I find it appealing, I’m sure the readers will too.

Q.6 If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
A. I’d say keep walking, you’re on the right path.  

Q.7 What are the most important magazines or websites for writers to subscribe to?
A. Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’ is a must-read for writers or any creative artist. Websites I would say It provides multiple options for one to send in their writings.

Q.8 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. Depicting the true shades of emotions of a character from the opposite sex are quite challenging.

Q.9 How do you select the names of your characters?
A. Oh, that’s a fun activity. You’ll find multiple Google pages on my computer with baby names and their meanings. I choose the name based on the place, nature of the character and so on. Sometimes, I have even changed the names mid-way through a story when I felt it didn’t suit the character.

Q.10 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A. Absolutely. I love to know what readers think of my stories. Fortunately, I’ve received mostly good reviews. From a bad review, I take what is positive, and see if I can improve in any area in my next story. If not, I let it go.

Q.11 Does your family supports your career as a writer?
A. Haha. Somewhat!

Q.12 What do your fans mean to you?
A. Everything! I’m so grateful to readers for showering my books, and me with love. It keeps me motivated to continue writing even on darker days.

Q.13 How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
A. I’ve written 3 so far, The Murder Of Jay Shekhar, The Witch of Strawhorn, and The Code Of Conduct In Her Shoes. Well, each one had its own significance in my life while I wrote them, so it would be unfair to choose one.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. I like to add twists in my tales, an element of surprise; somewhat similar to an unreliable narrator.

Q.15 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A. I think to be able to make my childhood dream of becoming an author come true, is my best accomplishment so far.

Q.16 What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
A. I have not come across anything unethical so far. 

Q.17 Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A. Since my books were traditionally published, I didn’t have to look for external editors. The publishing company, Srishti Publishers and Distributors helped with the edits.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. J K Rowling and Sidney Sheldon, two authors I constantly read while growing up.

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. It had a deep impact on me, for the protagonist Howard Roark’s core beliefs in individuality, creativity, and standing up for oneself. Haven’t come across a stronger character since.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. I’m enjoying every bit of my journey as an author, from spinning tales in the isolation of my room to hearing what my readers think of them. Recently, I had been invited to judge a creative writing event and had the opportunity to interact with some talented aspiring writers. Grateful, and looking for more such experiences.  

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