Interview by Nicole Melanson ~
Monideepa Sahu is a short story writer, novelist and columnist. She has authored two full-length books and been published in anthologies from around the world. Her fantasy/adventure novel for middle readers, Riddle of the Seventh Stone, has excited critics and the young at heart. She has also authored Rabindranath Tagore: the Renaissance Man (Biography, Puffin Lives series). Her short fiction has been accepted into A Rainbow Feast: New Asian Stories (Marshall Cavendish, Singapore), Behind the Shadows (Stories from Africa and Asia), The Killer App and other paranormal stories (Penguin), Music of the Stars and other love stories (Scholastic), Bad Moon Rising;: The Puffin Book of Mystery Stories, Diwali Stories (Scholastic), and The New Anthem: The Subcontinent in its Own Words (Tranquebar).
Monideepa’s fiction has also appeared in Temenos (Central Michigan University), Apocalypse (Northeastern Illinois University), Urban Voice and Hobart. She has been a Views columnist with Bangalore Mirror, and regularly contributes to Deccan Herald and elsewhere. She is Fiction Editor with Kitaab International.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
My first feature article was published in Deccan Herald in 1997. I went on to write hundreds of essays and opinion pieces. My first break as a fiction writer came in 2008, when my novel Riddle of the Seventh Stone won the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival open book pitch. It was signed on by Zubaan Books, and went on to be longlisted for the Vodafone Crossword Book Awards.
WHAT IS YOUR LATEST BOOK OR CURRENT PROJECT?
Rabindranath Tagore: the Renaissance Man (a biography for middle readers) was published by Penguin India.
Going Home in the Rain, a collection of short stories, is due soon from Kitaab International.
WHAT IS YOUR WORK ENVIRONMENT LIKE?
A little apartment crammed with memories, and tiny creatures that thrive in the dusty nooks and crannies.
WHEN DO YOU WORK? WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
I work whenever I can steal a few calm moments from the chaos of life. It’s usually around mid-day, when pressing chores are either done, or can be brushed under the carpet.
WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
I revise and rewrite, and set pieces aside for some time before resuming work on them. This helps me gain perspective.
WHY DO YOU WRITE?
Reading and writing helps me to make sense of the world around me.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I get inspiration from daily life, random encounters in public places, snatches of overheard conversations. Riddle of the Seventh Stone was inspired by a rat and spider scurrying in the backdrop while I was interviewing someone for a magazine feature.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF WHAT YOU DO?
It’s hard to accept that people’s attention spans are dwindling, that they will think nothing of buying pizzas or candy, but hesitate to buy books.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION AS A WORD ARTIST OR BOOK INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL?
Writers, intellectuals and the media play a pivotal role in disseminating information, molding public opinion, and positively influencing those in power. May publishers and authors rise boldly above the narrow bounds of commercial interests, sales strategies and advertising revenue. May artistic freedom thrive, and may the world never see another Charlie Hebdo carnage.
WHICH FEMALE AUTHORS WOULD YOU LOVE TO HEAR MORE FROM?
WHICH FEMALE AUTHORS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE INTERVIEWED ON WORDMOTHERS NEXT?
Thank you, Monideepa Sahu!
— Nicole Melanson
* Author photo by Dr. Siddhartha Sahu
And thank you, Abha Iyengar, for the introduction! Read Abha Iyengar’s WordMothers interview here
Like this author interview? Follow WordMothers or Subscribe to meet more great female authors!