Author Interview: Sudesna Ghosh

  1. Why are you a writer?

I’ve been in love with books since my babyhood. It started with my mother reading out loud to me, and then my reading habit got nurtured at the public library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My mother and I would visit every weekend and leave with a stack of books. I remember sitting on a bean bag in the children’s section, greediness taking over me as my fingers touched the spines. I was in another world with the characters that I wanted to be friends with.

Fast forward to my college days in Rochester, I was ecstatic when I got a job at the main library on campus. So, I’ve always preferred the company of books to humans. Being a writer was a great way to stay immersed in that world.

  • Are there therapeutic benefits to modeling a character after people you know?

Yes, there are many benefits to that. You know how many people like to write in a journal or diary daily? I think letting your thoughts out in writing makes one feel lighter. In Can a Fat Girl Get a First Kiss? Pamela, the main character is modeled after me. Writing that story was therapeutic as I based it on my own experiences with fat shaming and body image struggles. As for modeling characters after someone I know, that always makes me feel closer to the character and easier to visualise each scene. That removes some stress.

  • Do you like to create books for adults?

I started my fiction writing career with short stories for children. At the time, I was working on the features desk of a major newspaper and my senior encouraged me to write a story for the kiddie supplement. I went on to write many more stories for that publication and others. Once, a major Indian comics editor published a comic based on a short story that I’d sent her. It was a comics magazine for kids.

I started writing short stories and novellas for adults later on as a challenge to myself – most of my author friends were romance writers and I wanted to see if I could join the club.

I still write short stories for kids but less often than before. I think I like writing for all age groups. Variety is nice.

  • Do you prefer ebooks, printed books, or audiobooks most of the time?

Since, last year, I have been diagnosed with moderate hearing loss. Because of this change, I never use audio books. Between printed books and ebooks, I see no difference – to me, it’s the story that matters – not the medium. However, I have been reading most of my books on my Kindle device the last couple of years due to space constraints at home. Even after donating books to local libraries, I just don’t have enough space. Also, I am now used to instant delivery so that I can suddenly come across an interesting book on social media and get it in my hands in a minute.

  • Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

When I used a laptop, my cats would take turns to come and rest on the keyboard. Sometimes, they would add a line or two or more to my open document. Something like this: hadhdhddddd2222

These days, chronic pain has forced me to work on a desktop and one of my kitties wants to jump onto my lap and be hugged while I sit there. That means that I have to type with one hand and hug her with the other arm. She cries if I don’t let her on my lap while I’m at the desk.

  • How do you use social media as an author?

Over the years, I’ve developed a healthy relationship with social media. Basically, I try my best to consume content that doesn’t make me anxious or depressed. My timeline is filled with books, poems, art and cats. I use social media for book promotion which includes building my author brand. I also use it for entertainment and socialising. I’m not one of those people who belittles friendships based online. In fact, I have built strong, long-term friendships with other authors and cat parents on Twitter and Instagram.

  • How long have you been writing or when did you start?

I’ve been writing since my elementary school days when my class teacher encouraged me to write and share my stories with my classmates. As an adult, I started writing short stories for kids and adults in magazines and newspapers soon after graduation. In 2014 and 2016, I had my first understanding of book publishing when I was commissioned to write two nonfiction books by a global publisher. That experience taught me a lot about traditional publishing versus self publishing. Both have pros and cons.

  • What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

Read the writing rules but follow only what works for you. For instance, some writers edit after they write a messy first draft, and others like myself, like to edit each section before going to the next.

Read a lot of books in your genre to get a taste of good writing, smooth storytelling, the language, and your audience.

Me and most of my author friends had to learn all about marketing ourselves and our books on social media – you need to get on that before your book is published. That’s how you’ll have an audience for your work.

  • What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?

Contrary to popular thinking, I don’t call writer’s block laziness. As someone who has dealt with anxiety for years, I can promise you that there can be phases where your mind gets stuck. It could be stuck on a plot detail or uncertainty about the next scene. And of course, there are times when imposter syndrome keeps us down. I think the only solution is to allow yourself a break and then to get back into writing. Starting with short pieces and moving onto short stories and then longer chapters.

  1. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

You can find me reading on my kindle,  drinking iced coffee at a coffee shop, or hugging my cats. While I am an introvert, I spend time with fellow cat lady friends who also share my love for overpriced coffee.

Location: American living in India

Twitter: @sudesna_ghosh

Instagram: @sudesna_meow

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