About The Author – Born in a diverse country like India, Benita Patnaik belongs to the state of Odisha in the Eastern part of the country. She has had the privilege of growing up all over the country and thus loves to say, “I am an Indian rather than an Odia”.
She graduated with English (Honours) from Miranda House, University of Delhi. Her Post-Graduation in English Literature was a natural progression from the same University. She also holds a Diploma in System Analysis which she completed simultaneously with her PG.
A passion for reading and playing with words has led her to experiment with writing poems as a young person. She also is an active blogger ( more humor less political).
She has been a teacher for over a decade and has worked in the administrative side of Education for a couple of years when she decided that she would exhibit her storytelling expertise.
Her debut Novel “Real Dreams” was published in 2019 and widely appreciated, and her debut short story collection ‘Dare Me & Other Stories was published in 2020. Her latest novel Weave Some More” has just been published (June 2022) to a riveting welcome by her readers.
A gypsy at heart, Benita loves to travel. She has traveled all over India both as a child and in her early adulthood. She has also traveled extensively in Europe, North America, New Zealand, and Egypt. All the rich cultural diversity she has been exposed to peeps out in her writings. Married with two daughters, Benita presently resides in Mumbai.
1. Before we begin with the interview, I would like to extend a warm congratulations from our team for “Weave Some More.” It seems to have become quite a sensation soon after its publication. How do you feel about it?
Benita Patnaik: Thank you for the kind words. I feel really good about it, not only because it has been a success but also because the whole process of writing it has been very interesting and enjoyable.
2. As an author who has written a couple of books before, “Weave Some More” how was the experience different for you while writing your new work? What were the events that led to its creation?
Benita Patnaik: You are right, this is my third book. The process of writing this book has been entirely different from the other two in the sense that unlike the others I felt I was in control of the whole process. I began writing the book during the Lockdown period, I had plenty of time to really research and create my characters and places. The other two books were leaning toward the paranormal (in fact my second book “Dare Me and Other Stories” is a collection of paranormal stories), this book, however, is very realistic and explores real human emotions to give reasons to the actions committed.
3. After “Weave Some More,” how would you describe your writing experience? Was it easy, or was it difficult, or what went through when you wrote?
Benita Patnaik: Writing for me has always been a tumultuous experience. There are times when I write five thousand words at one go and others when I find it difficult to write even a hundred words. Whatever the experience I have always been a part of the story, either in the form of a character or as a bystander. I have felt the emotions of each of the characters I have developed. I have felt the elation and sadness, the hypocrisy and the gentleness and the depression of both the victim and the killer.
4. You seem to be using your skills and observations when you design the characters and plot in the novel. Did you have any other plot and character construction ideas or chose this in the first place in “Weave Some More”?
Benita Patnaik: I have traveled a lot, I am a very quiet person, so I have trained myself to observe and feed data to my brain. I also have the ability to retrieve whatever is required at a particular moment in time. To answer your question, No I did not have any other plot in mind when I created the book. About the character construction, I have plenty more to choose from, and as I wrote I have changed and tweaked them to fit my “parallel world”
5. You are known to be a poet too. Please share a little about your poetry and the subjects you write on.
Benita Patnaik: Well, I began composing poetry when I was in the seventh grade. I still have them! I began writing to assuage my pent-up emotions. As I grew older I obsessed with the conflicts we humans are faced with. Now I write very short poems that come to me when I see certain pictures. Though the poems are never about the picture per se but about the emotions that are intertwined in graphic form.
6. As an author of “Weave Some More,” would you describe yourself being influenced by other authors? Which author(s) would they be?
Benita Patnaik: I have always loved murder mysteries, so my all-time favorite is Agatha Christie. I also love authors like Vikram Seth, Dan Brown, and Brandon Sanderson. My favorite poets are Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, and Khalil Gibran. I am not sure they have influenced me but that’s for my readers to evaluate.
7. “Weave Some More” has introduced you as a promising writer. Can the readers expect more work from you in the future? Would you please share your plans?
Benita Patnaik: Yes I have already begun work on my fourth book. I am hoping to complete it before the end of this year and publish it early next year.
8. How easy or difficult was it for you to pick situations and build characters that would hit the sensitive nerves of the readers and also open their eyes at the same time in “Weave Some More”?
Benita Patnaik: Picking situations is relatively easy but building characters is a difficult process. Every time you think you have made a perfect character some narration goes and smashes that idea and you have to get back to the drawing board! In mystery stories, it’s important that you lead the reader to a seemingly correct conclusion but you are actually leading them away from it so that when the ultimate curtain is opened there is an element of surprise.
9. As a title, “Weave Some More” carries associations with different associations in multiple genres. What is the story behind its creation?
Benita Patnaik: I actually wanted to create a story that would be a kind of game for the reader…Like a treasure hunt. But as my Muse caught hold of my imagination, the plot line refused to be linear, and as it zigzagged its way I had to rename it to be as appropriate as possible.
10. How would you categorize “Weave Some More” as its appeal seems to be to a broad audience?
Benita Patnaik: Yes I do hope people from the age of 16 onwards will enjoy it. I know these days most prefer videos to books. But as a die-hard fan of books, I hope to stir some interest in reading. I really cannot categorize its appeal, but I do hope that the different facets that I have woven into the story will appeal to different people and all will be satisfied with one or the other or the entire story.
11. How would you describe your literary endeavours and all that went into your making as a writer before “Weave Some More” materialized?
Benita Patnaik: My main endeavors were through the blogs I have been writing for the last decade or so, which I publish through Blogspot and WordPress. Though they are on the surface humorous, I believe they have been interlaced with a bit of history and the common man’s struggle in his daily life. I have not yet published my early poems. I feel they are personal and I need to be mature enough to look at them through a poet’s perspective to be able to share. The two books which I wrote before are also unique in their own way and have taught me a lot about the process of writing.
12. There are so many unique perspectives in your “Weave Some More.” What is the most challenging thing about writing such complexity in a simpler version?
Benita Patnaik: “Weave Some More” would lose its charm if I were to make it simpler. The narrative post-reading it is simple, in fact, there will be many who will say “I knew it!”. It would be challenging to remove the ‘red herrings’ and still create the mystery that is there.
13. I wish you luck with your future ventures and hope to read more powerful and exciting books from your pen. Thank you for sparing your time.
Benita Patnaik: Thank you again. I do hope my next book will garner more attention and I can create a long-lasting character.
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