24 July, 2015

#Interview with Paulami DuttaGupta, #Author of Pinjar

About the Author:
Born in Shillong, Paulami Duttagupta (Loreto Convent and Jadavpur University alumna)  is currently based in Kolkata. She has worked as a journalist (TOI & The Shillong Times), radio artist (AIR Shillong), television analyst (ETV, Sony AATH, Akash Bangla), and copywriter. But amongst all these, her favorite job is that of a ‘dreamer.’ She has written novels- Pinjar, Unplanned Destiny and Ri. She is also the screenplay writer of the national award winning Khasi film – Ri Homeland of Uncertainty. Her short stories and articles have been published in various anthologies and magazines. Currently she is working on her second film and a couple of books.

Interview with the Author:

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I used to write ‘Once upon a time’ stories as a toddler and then rhymes on Cricket in high school. And then I wrote features for The Times of India and Shillong Times and scripts for AIR. But then there was years of Writer’s block. I took up writing seriously after a 5-6 year gap. I would write a lot of fan fictions and that is when I felt I could actually write. Maybe that is when I decided to be a storyteller. 

What inspires you to write?
When I am writing commercially, there is no bigger inspiration than a deadline. A script or an article needs to reach on time and inspiration oozes out from all quarters. But when I am writing a story or a novel I draw inspiration from little things in life, political situations, cinema and of course heart breaks. 

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
My current story, a manuscript that I have just finished is on the various layers a creative mind has. The idea is inspired by my first rejection note and a host of geniuses who have fought pathos and disillusionment in life.  And then there is my story in the multiple writer anthology – Rudraksha. It is the first try at mythology and my story is on the much awaited Kalki avatar. 

Is there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Yes of course. Sometimes you feel too full and need to write. But those stories are either too personal or too badly written. Then there are stories that I wrote to send for publication but then lost the will to send. 

Tell us about your writing process.
I try to write every day. It doesn’t need to be a fiction. If my mind is too blocked then I try to write at least an article or a blog post. 

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I read all the time, but not necessarily fiction. There’s a lot of political and social commentary    on the sub continent, books on cinema or cricket. But if you ask me to name just one favorite author it will be Jane Austen. I’ve always felt her stories have a timeless appeal and her characters have different layers that can fit into every society.  And there’s one book that I read whenever I feel rotten. Coelho’s Veronika Decides to Die. Then there is O. Henry and R.K Narayan. The simplicity of their writing can probably never be replicated. 

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
To write everyday and not care about those rejection slips. 

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?

The same. To write everyday and not care about those rejection slips. 

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
Ah. This is easy. Hugh Grant- Emma Thompson- Alan Rickman- Colin Firth 

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
The entire collection of Indian mythology books, stocks of matchboxes and a Pigeon to help me send an SOS in Bollywood style. 

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
My free time is usually movie time or coffee time with very close friends.  There’s a huge jheel near home and I do go there for walks. You can just sit there and occasionally the water touches you feet. There are people all around, but you can just pretend to be nonexistent and enjoy ‘me’ time. This is a luxury in a metro.

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I would want to live in a small village somewhere in the foothills of Himalayas. The very idea is overtly romantic. 

What do you have in store next for your readers?
My next book is coming up sometime around September.  There’s romance and there’s a psychological journey that my protagonist undertakes. I hope readers find it different from my previous book that was on terrorism and the issues that create it. 

About her Books:

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