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Interview with Shania Guha

She was born in Mumbai and presently resides with her ex-pat family in Dubai, UAE. Since childhood, she has had exciting narratives of characters and developed an interest in writing short horror stories for kids. As a young writer, her tales are wonderfully woven to keep the mystery and thrill of horror entwined in simple-yet-gripping storytelling. 

Apart from writing, she has interests in comic satire, illustrations, and football and is passionate about learning history. She aspires to be an archaeologist. She is also an active member in various social non-profit groups raising awareness for social causes for which she has won a few accolades. Nowadays, she is busy penning her subsequent work, as yet untitled.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I am a History geek and love watching historical documentaries. I also like to listen to rebel and patriotic songs alongside heavy metal, and my favorite heavy metal band is Sabaton from Sweden.

Q.2 What inspired you to write Jump Scare?
Since childhood, I have always loved stories of urban legends, ghosts, and the ideas of monsters. Nowadays, we have online indie horror games such as Five Nights at Freddy’s and Poppy playtime, alongside short horror stories which most inspired me to write and create my own settings and stories.

Q. 3 Are we going to read more from you in the near future? Any new project you’re working on?
Yes, I am in the middle of penning my second book, yet untitled.

Q.4 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
For me, it wasn’t that difficult. I grew up with an elder brother. Also, I have lots of friends who belong to the opposite gender.

Q.5 Do you plan out your book before you start writing, or do you just write and see where it takes you?
I have a basic plot in my mind and then build it along as I write my stories, and sometimes I may add a character or change a setting.

Q.6 How long, on average, does it takes you to write a book?
It depends on how many stories I’m compiling in one book. Currently, my focus is on short story collections, which can take 6 months to a year to complete.

Q.7 Is it vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
Yes, indeed, it’s pretty vital to reach out to the correct audience as this is a children’s book. My marketing is focused on parents and children of the age group 8-12 years old. I am also connecting with authors of children’s books, social media influencers, and book reviewers to reach out.

Q.8 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
In the future, if not writing, I would probably be an Archaeologist and happily dig past civilizations, and of course, as all kids think the dinosaurs and the treasures!

Q.9 Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
Since I like heavy metal, I listen to a whole playlist of heavy metal songs while I pen down my thoughts.

Q.10 What draws people to horror novels? Why do we as readers like to be scared?
Horror novels have their own following, and many readers like to be scared because of the sudden adrenaline rush and arousing curiosity. Horror stories generate your fear of the unknown and have mysterious cliffhanger endings.

Q.11 What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
I do have a massive fear of the dark and would always put a nightlight on, or I would rush up the stairs the moment I switched off the lights.

Q.12 Do you remember the first horror book you read?
It was by R.L. Stine called Goosebumps Most Wanted: The Night of the Puppet People.

Q.13 What three things can a reader expect from your book?
In my stories, readers can expect cliffhangers, unknown entities, and anomalies in familiar settings.

Q.14 Among all the supporting characters in your book, who is dear to you and why?
I honestly have two, but the dog Casper is one of my favorites.

Q.15 Who designed your book cover? How do you select them?
The book cover is done by my publisher, but the idea and selection for the book cover were presented by me. It represents a clown with a mischievous yet evil expression. A lot of people have a fear of clowns, yet it draws attention and is always a point of curiosity.

Q.16 How do you select the name of your characters?
One of the characters was my real-life friend, and some are according to the stories' settings.

Q.17 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?
I read my book reviews, and it is very important for me as an author to get the readers' feedback. It helps me in my journey of writing. Jump Scare is my debut book, and I’m happy to get positive reviews. I also look forward to any kind of constructive criticism.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
I would like to meet the Sabaton Band members because they do heavy metal songs based on historical events, and the songs also introduced me to specific historical events I wasn’t aware of. I am just a massive fan of the band.

Q.19 What are you reading right now?
I’m reading the Shiva Trilogy, and I’m on the second one, The Secret of the Nagas by Amish.

Q.20 Share the experience of your writing journey so far?
My writing journey is a full roller-coaster ride. I love weaving stories from my imagination and connecting them with everyday life. There are moments when I get ideas about my stories and write them in a day, whereas sometimes, I get stuck in the climax or conclusion.

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