Author Story Article Release
Hello author, on behalf of all the readers, we would like to discuss something about you and of course, your book as well. This conversation will help reader to know more about you and your debut book. Please give answers in brief.
Most welcome to Criticspace Journals, Author. We heartily congratulate you for being a published author. It’s really a great achievement. First thing, we would like to know about your basic info as a person, daily life, career so far and anything you would like to share about you with your readers.
Your Answer: I’m an MD in Clinical Microbiology from Seth GSMC & KEM Hospital, Mumbai where I later also worked as an Assistant Professor until August 2018. I quit my job because of a geographical move to Hong Kong in 2018. I am making full use of this sabbatical to explore where my words take me. I am now pursuing Masters in Fine Arts which is a full-time course in Creative Writing from Hong Kong University.
That’s really great; please tell us something about your journey of becoming an author. When you actually started writing and how was the circumstance? Did any person or situation influenced you to write your debut book or was it your childhood hobby of writing?
Your Answer: I was the English editor of my college magazine during my MBBS days. But then it took a backseat once post-graduation and life took over. I went back to writing in 2017 and blogging was my first step towards it. I remember my first post was more of a venting out of my pent-up emotions.
Moving to Hong Kong in 2018 seemed heaven sent. I’ve been writing on a broad spectrum of issues, from parenting to health and relationships to philosophy in fiction and non-fiction format, across various platforms like Momspresso, Women’s Web, Mumbai Psychiatry Clinic, The Daily Brunch and SheThePeople. I also have a weekly space on the online portal, The Wonder Women World, called Saturdays With Shivani where I try to connect with my day-to-day observations, experiences and musings hoping that they find their way to the readers. On the occasion of Women’s Day this year, I was awarded the Literoma Naari Samman 2020 for literature.
My first book, Hiraeth-Partition Stories From 1947, got published in August 2019. It’s a single author anthology with 24 stories written around partition.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly? Be descriptive please so that our visitors know about you little more.
Your Answer: Unless one feels strongly about anything, it is difficult to articulate. The reader is smart enough to pick. If the writer isn’t invested enough, the reader will not connect to the piece. I feel purity of intent, above everything else, will take a writer a long way.
How do you come up with the titles to your books?
Your Answer: My book’s title ‘Hiraeth’ is a Welsh word and it stands for longing or homesickness for a place which may be never was or to one which you cannot return to. My grandparents, all four of them, came to India after partition. When I came across this word, the book was nowhere in sight. The word stuck with me because that’s the emotion I have for my lost roots, for the bygone land of my ancestors.
Most of my stories are titled in Urdu, one because I find that language fascinating. And secondly, that’s the language my grandparents read and wrote.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Your Answer: Apart from a good command on the language, I think the success of any story is directly proportional to the how strongly the writer felt compelled to tell it. Your language may be simple but it will engage the readers if you are truly convinced with the story.
What comes first, the plot or characters? How do you develop your plot and characters?
Your Answer: All my stories in Hiraeth revolve around partition. They have been a part of me right from the moment I was born. The characters and the plots had been revolving in my head, waiting to appear on paper. In this particular, the plots were more or less laid out so the characters took precedence.
Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?
Your Answer: Yes, I am. My social media links are as follows if you would want to explore
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/shivaniwrites18
You can also follow me on
Please tell the reader something about your book. What is your message to those readers who have still not read the book? Why they should pick it up for reading?
Your Answer: People who know me say I am obsessed about partition. Maybe they are right. In my defence, as I’ve already said, my grandparents were uprooted because of partition. Almost overnight they had to pack whatever they could carry and flee from their home to a land that wasn’t theirs. They rebuilt their lives from scratch and slogged to give my parents and their siblings, a chance for a better life. I’ve always felt I owed it to them and to the millions others who moved across from both sides of the newly created borders.
The aim with which I wrote this was so that my daughter, nieces and nephews know where they are coming from. Though some stories are not appropriate for children, I think anyone from 16-18 and above should find it relatable at some or the other level. These are based on true stories with a fictional twist.
When I wrote this book, I was told that the people from Punjab, Bengal and Sindhis would be the ones who’d read it. I would like to believe that hasn’t been the case, considering the feedback I have received from all corners of the country and some parts of the world.
Everyone knows about the chaos and casualties that followed partition. But very few remember the stories of humanity, of people rising above their circumstances and helping each other. I wanted the readers to remember to these characters. And to learn from history so that we do not repeat these mistakes which makes it extremely relevant in these times.
And yes, the most important thing we would like to hear from you is what is your message to those new writers who have not yet started their journey of becoming an author? You have been their source of motivation, please convey your thoughts with them.
Your Answer: A couple of days ago, a blogger friend of mine called me a ‘success story’. It made me wonder if I deserve to be called that. I don’t think so. I have just begun my journey. The reason I joined MFA is to hone my skills because I know I have a long way to go. To all new writers I would say, be disciplined enough to write every day. Read like its religion and across genres. Be a part of a reading/ writing group. Have a sounding board that calls a spade a spade. Don’t be too attached to your words that you can’t look at them dispassionately. And lastly develop thick skin to face rejection.
THE BELOW SECTIONS CONTAINS SOME IDEAS FOR INJECTING A BIT OF FUN INTO YOUR INTERVIEW
Would you rather
Would you rather be in a room full of snakes or a room full of spiders?
Arghh… I hate both. But icky spiders any day over creepy crawlies.
Would you rather have an endless summer or an endless winter?
Winter any day.
Would you rather have constant nagging pain or a constant itch?
Between the devil and the deep blue sea, it would be the itch.
Would you rather always be an hour early or be constantly twenty minutes late?
An hour early. I judge those who aren’t punctual, very severely.
Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or live in a un-haunted cottage?
I am easily spooked out. An un-haunted cottage, without doubt.
Tea or coffee
Hot or cold
Movie or book
Tough one. BOOK between the two.
Coke or Pepsi
Morning person or Night owl
Social Media or book
This one’s easy. BOOK
Paperback or ebook
PAPERBACK. To hold and to behold.
All the best for your future and this book too! Thanks for answering my questions.
Thank you so much.