Author Interview - Chitrangada Mukherjee

Meeting author's and speaking to them would bring out the best from them. I have had the opportunity to meet few of them in person and few over the internet(Mail, WhatsApp etc). Today I had the opportunity to meet Chitrangada Mukherjee who has authored #SecretDiaryOfAnIncurableRomantic ( You could find the review here)

I have tried to reproduce her wordings(as I recorded her answers for my questions).

1. What motivates you to write?
What motivates me to write is that I can't do anything else. The only craft I know is writing and if I don't, I feel like I'm falling into the annals of darkness in my mind.So writing keeps me positive and makes the world a brighter place.

2. How did you feel after publishing your books?
My first book was an eBook which I published on Amazon. After waiting for months, one of the publisher did revert as they liked the manuscript and wanted the marketing plan. I was not aware of any back in 2014. I did not come up with a good enough marketing plan and eventually it got rejected. Then I was approached by another publisher who asked me to wait for few months. It was then, I approached  a friend of mine who helped me to publish my first book(eBook) on Amazon Kindle which was a psychological thriller set in a North Eastern State. The journey was a little difficult but it taught me a lot.My second book which is a humorous tale of a widow in Chennai was accepted by a leading publisher within a month of writing it. Secret Diary was published in October this year and I'm happy and excited with the reviews and feedback.

3. What are some of your favourite novels and authors?
I don't have any favourites. I take inspiration from Agatha Christie, Gillain Flynn, Kamala Das and Otessa Moshfeigh.

4. Is there a specific reason for naming your novel?
Yes. Interestingly I started with the title first as I was convinced that the protagonist is a die-hard romantic,closet alcoholic and the story stays true to the title, till the very end.

5. Where do you write from? Do you go to some specific place like beach or the hill side?
No. I don't go anywhere. I write from my home. I have a specific corner. I lie down on my bed, take my laptop and write, if I feel lazy. If I get an idea all of a sudden, I stand up and write. I mostly write from my bedroom.

6. What inspired you to write the books in general? Any tales to tell?
I want to tell my kind of stories. I believe tales which are inspired from the complexities of life. I do not like the mushy, filmy romance. and my aim is to stay away from writing these stories.I also feel comedy comes from pain and acts as an armour to shield pain. A combination of realistic romance and comedy is what I intend to write. You can call it a romcom, chicklit or contemporary fiction.

7. What was your biggest learning experience throughout the writing process?
I suffer from an impostor syndrome and always had doubts as to whether I could write - am I good enough? After writing Secret Diary and after reading the reviews and feedback, I realised I can write. I also realised that I can make people feel different emotions, strongly and I can make them laugh, which is the icing on the cake. 

8. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in as a writer?
I love this question. I feel that every writer should be asked this question. Every writer has a story to tell. Question is - you have a story but what is new to tell? With book releases happening every now and then, writers need to find a way to connect with the readers.What I did do right is - I did my research. 

9. Any best piece of writing advice that you would like to share with new or struggling writers?
You need to know your genre. You need to do the research. It ultimately narrows down to why a reader would consider picking up your book.

10. Something personal about you, people may be surprised to know
I am always hooked to music and you would never find me without my headphone. I may forget my keys and get locked out, But I would never step out without my headphones.

11. Any future books that u would like to discuss now?
I have written about 8-10 manuscripts in the past 1.5 years, which I thrashed. Finally, I have a story that I want to turn into a novel and I'm working on the book, right now.

12. What other profession excites you the most?
Though I would want to write for the rest of my life, if I had a chance, I would like to do stand-up Comedy. 

13. Any special mention about your reader(be it with reviews/feedback or anything else)?
I have a few. A  reviewer who gave me a 5/5 star and mentioned she never wanted the book to end and was sad when it ended. Another one is Sankalpita Singh, one of the top book bloggers who asked me to not stop writing-ever. Video blogger Manpreet loved my book. There are many more girls from Kolkata and one of the girls said she wanted to hug me as she could not stop crying after reading my book. Though I want my readers to laugh, she ended up crying.

14. Do you write the story at a stretch or do you take your time to complete it? If you take a longer time, wouldn't you be forgetting the story? How do you tackle it?
I don't write my story at a stretch. I am a temperamental writer. On a bad day, I do not write but on a good day, I write 3000 - 4000 words. Before writing, I start my day by reading along with a cup of tea. Without reading, I don't write. When I write a story, I live in that world/with the characters so I never forget the story. 

15. Traditional or Self-Publishing? Why?
I had self-published my first book without any investment as it was an eBook. I wouldn't recommend it because when it comes to traditional publishing, you have the backing of a brand which our makes your work credible and helps you to market your book in an effective way.

16. How is the response so far for the book?
This book is a tale of contrasts - New Asian Writing, called it a "hybrid tale as it has happiness and sadness". The book is doing pretty well. The reviews are good. Amazon ranking is good. Right now it looks good as it is just been a month and a half and I feel that you need a year to gauge the success.

P.S. For those who are not aware, you can get the autographed copies of the book from Starmark, Higginbothams, Odyssey stores in Chennai.