It is a pleasure to be sharing with all the readers, an e-interview with Parul Sharma - the much acclaimed and appreciated author of 'Bringing Up Vasu' (reviewed here) and 'By the Water Cooler' (reviewed here).
Do you think you were destined to be an author or did the writing happen by chance for you?
Well, I have always loved writing but the way things were going, it seemed unlikely that I would ever make a profession out of writing. I did the usual thing - studied Economic (not Literature) in college, got a diploma in communications, worked for brands - before I finally decided to reach out for that elusive book. It was a risk, a huge one in fact but it paid off.
When did you realize, you have enough content to start on a big project like 'Bringing up…'? What all preparations went into writing your first book?
I did not have content to begin with. The content appeared as I sat and wrote. I am not a very structured person and that reflects in my writing. I don't have ready chapter themes or even characters before starting out. They come about once I commit myself to sitting at my desk everyday and putting in the hard work.
Which piece of writing turned out to be more fulfilling for you - 'Bringing up Vasu' or 'By the Water Cooler' and why? Are you satisfied with the end products?
I think I am a very long way from being fulfilled by any of them. Honestly, I can't bear to read them without cringing. That's just the way it is. Hopefully this means that I will attempt to improve on them in further books.
What is your dream project? What other things are you working on right now?
I'd like to write a funny travel book. I have a feeling I'd enjoy that. I am working on a novel right now and editing another script too.
How has been your experience so far in the literary world? Any highs or lows being a part of this space, that you would like to share here?
Oh I don't know how much a part I am of the literary world. I don't know many authors or people who work in the industry. It's liberating to be your own boss and do the one thing that you are good at but it's a lonely sort of place to be in.
There have been a lot of budding authors on the Indian literary firmament. Who among them are your favourites? What significant changes do you see in Indian literary scene?
Yes, you are right in that but I haven't been doing too much reading other than my old favourites. I plan to rectify that at the earliest.
I think there is something of a genre-creation happening in the Indian literary scene and publishers are open to books that don't fall into traditional genres.
Both your books are contemporary fiction, do you want to continue in this space itself or would you like to diversify in different genres as well? Which would be your preferred one if you think of doing so?
I am open to writing everything - mysteries, travel, non-fiction.
Who among these - the one protagonist in 'Bringing up Vasu' and two in 'By the water cooler', defines you closely as a person ?
None and both, I would say. There is a bit of me in each and every character that I have written about but they are not all me.
Would you like to share any potential pitfalls of this world with the aspiring authors ? Any suggestions?
Oh but I don't think I have reached a place where I can offer advice to others. I'd say, read 'On Writing' by Stephen King. He says it all.