Writer’s Destination Interview
Eshan Sharma, Blogger and an Author
Today's Guest: Anupam Patra, Author
Hello Sir, Welcome to Writer's Destination.
Q1. Please tell us something about yourself?
I was born and raised in Cuttack, Odisha. I finished my schooling and graduation there. Studied science and then law for a career. I love the study and the profession of law, but if I were to tell you the truth, it was always actually arts that I wanted to pursue. I’ve tried to hold onto it in whatever shape and form that I can. When I am not working, I am reading, writing or watching cinema. If you wish to know me as a person, then the following lines by J.L. Borges may help you.
"They speak of humanity. My humanity is in feeling we are all voices of the same poverty.
They speak of homeland. My homeland is the rhythm of a guitar, a few portraits,
An old sword, the willow grove's visible prayer as evening falls.
Time is living me. More silent than my shadow,
I pass through the loftily covetous multitude.
They are indispensable, singular, worthy of tomorrow.
My name is someone and anyone.
I walk slowly, like one who comes from so far away he doesn't expect to arrive."
Q2. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I often feel I am unable to do justice to what I really want to say. It is the falling short of my own abilities that scares and annoys me.
Q3. How long have you been writing?
I remember discovering fondness for writing when I was in the twelfth standard. It was during this time that I read a lot of novels and fell in love with the beauty of written words. It didn’t take me long thereafter to attempt writing my own stuff.
Q4. How long does it take you to write a book?
Promises of a firefly was written over a period of eighteen months. I do take a while to finish my drafts and then I do a lot of rewrites.
Q5. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Well, it has to be the way I get stuck with the various ways of expressing a particular event or a scene.
Q6. How did you begin writing? Did you intend to become an author, or do you have a specific reason or reasons for writing each book?
I had never thought of writing a book. Till I met Mahua Ray Das, a phenomenal artist herself, who on our very first meeting decided to push me towards that goal. She was cynical about my writing but gentle in her guidance, even when I was hostile to her suggestions. She set my sail on that course. It was not easy. I was constantly mired with problems but she never gave up, even when I was forcing her to. Her contributions for this book are immense. The journey for this book began with her eliciting a promise from me in a small book café in Bhubaneswar in August 2015, the promise that I’ll give her a book of my own one day.
Q7. What inspired you to write your first book?
The things I experience watching the lives of others around me, the voices within me – they all push me to write stories. They compelled me to write my first book.
Q8. Please tell us something more about your upcoming book?
I haven’t begun working on one. But I am guessing it would be on life and love.
Q9. What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My debut book, no doubts there.
Q10. What’s something you are really good at that few people know about?
I would prefer to leave this for others to say. Especially those few who know about it.
Q11. Can you share with us the best way to reach you and where to learn more about your books?
I try to pen short verses on facebook. Here’s my facebook id - Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/anupam.patra.7
You can also learn about my books on Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35524980-promises-of-a-firefly
Q12. Whatwas the hardest part of writing this book?
When a writer is able to catch the tone of his characters in ink, and everything is flowing out smoothly from his pen, it is the most complete he will ever feel. But when it doesn’t happen that way, there is barely anything he can forgive in this world. Then there would be work and health conditions and lack of imagination and all sorts of things that would make me want to shut everything for once and for all. I don’t know about others but for me, writing is walking down an untaken road where there are equal chances of confronting delight and despair. But you brave that chance because you want to bring to life moments you think deserve to be experienced by your readers. When you’re penning those mistakes, regrets, hopes and love your characters find on pages, you are creating experience, and you cannot create any without letting it touch you. I have always only written in one method, one hand dipped in ink and the other in shades of life. It’s a fulfilling endeavour. But it comes with the risk of emotional turmoil.
Q13. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
I think the future of writing and reading is very promising in our country. So many young authors are coming out with their works. It’s a very encouraging sign.
Q14. If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
Oh, I would definitely read a truckload of more books than I have and perhaps also join a writing course.
Q15. Let me now ask something about myself, how was the interview?? Some thing you want to say about me?
You are a very talented person, Eshan. Your book proves that. You’re full of enthusiasm and conviction. I wish you all the best for your future endeavours. I enjoyed answering your questions. They have been meaningful and challenging to answer.
Q16. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to read, travel and spend time with my family.
Q17. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Q18. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
As I said, I have not begun working on any.
Q19.What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?
That people connected with what I wrote. It was truly a pleasant surprise.
Q20. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
Well, you’ve asked all that there is to ask. (smiles)
Q21. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
I am a beginner and therefore not actually in a position to give advices. But I believe that every person trying to write should write with honesty. There is no good or bad writing as long as you can bring out the voice within you truthfully on paper.
Q22.Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
About the book, I’ll say this. Since the book was published, I’ve been asked about its theme. I'd like to say that the stories in Promises of a firefly are not light tales or have cheerful narratives for they intend to show us our boundaries regardless of the occasional heroics life affords us. Now, that is not necessarily tragedy. It could be something as simple as truth. Some of these truths, we are likely to have seen or heard around us. And as one of my readers told me over e-mail, there is this element of hope that can be found if the stories are read carefully. I want readers to find out for themselves. And if they are able to remember the stories, recall their moments when they are not holding my book - that would be a great thing for the storyteller in me.
It was really a privilege interviewing you. Hope you enjoyed the interview. If you have any feedback please let me know. I hope I will get another chance of interviewing you in future.