SHRUTI UPADHYAYA introduces her debut novel, WHITE NOISE, and her second effort, THE CHOSEN MANY
In a freewheeling chat with Citadel, SHRUTI UPADHYAYA introduces readers to her debut novel, WHITE NOISE, and also sheds light on her second tome, THE CHOSEN MANY.
Tell us a little about yourself...
I have a vivid imagination and a flair for writing, so much so that I have always surrounded myself with literature. Also, I am a dreamer by nature, so I live in my own little world. At any given point, my head is brimming with multiple stories; for which one lifetime may not be enough to tell them all. (laughs)
What made you take up writing as a career?
I was always fond of writing; I used to write essays and poems in schools for competitions. As for the love of the English language, I was always interested in attending literature classes. During my college days, I started a blog wherein I used to write poems, and also wrote for The Times of India (Calcutta and Pune). However, I never thought I could write fiction until the year 2015, when I started to write short stories. Consequently, I wrote three short stories; each story was meant to explore the various relationships that women could share with each other. As regards my debut novel, White Noise, the story idea came to my mind in February 2016.
What are the different challenges you had to face in the beginning of your career?
A career in writing isn’t all that easy, because there isn’t any dearth of creativity around us. However, if you truly believe that your writing has something unique to offer and your stories have the power to engage readers till the very end, then you must go for it, and that’s exactly how I didn’t succumb to the challenges that came my way.
Out of all the books that you have had read so far, which book is closest to your heart? Why?
It’s difficult to pick one book, because there are so many! But, if I had to choose one book that I’ve read in the last five years, and that continues to stay with me even today, is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. It is a story set against the backdrop of the Nigerian Civil War. It is so intriguing that I still go back and read certain parts of the story. On a whole, it is an absolutely brilliant tome.
What drew your attention to write on the chosen subject? I wanted to primarily write about a woman who is so consumed by her man that she refuses to see beyond him. I wanted to write a love story, but I also wanted to write a thriller, and so I wrote a romantic thriller. If you ask me why I chose to write something like this, I honestly wouldn’t know; because my ideas come from a mysterious place and I never know the source of where my stories originate. What message does the book convey to the readers?
The book is a tribute t o writers like Haruki Murakami and Sylvia Plath. There is no message per se. However, the idea is to give the readers a fast paced story that they will relish till the very end. Tell us about your encounters/ challenges while writing the book.
The biggest challenge is to stay in the creative space, to not lose momentum. There were days I didn’t want to socialize or go out, because I wanted to stay in my story. Also there is a risk of getting too attached to your characters and when the story ends, you find it difficult to detach. How interesting was it to work on this project?
It was extremely exciting to work on White Noise. I started the novel by developing my plot and defining my characters. Then, I thought of my ending. While writing the story, I didn’t have second thoughts, which is why I could write it quite effortlessly. All in all, I just followed my line of thought and the rest happened quite organically. Any memorable incident that you recall while in the process of working on the book? I wanted to write a chapter against the backdrop of rain. But somehow, I couldn’t start the chapter. I remember one night I woke up in the middle of the night and realized it was raining outside. That’s when I sat and wrote the entire chapter. I felt extremely inspired. I can’t forget that night! Tell us about the upcoming projects you are currently working on.
Currently, I am working on my second book; it is going to be titled ‘ The Chosen Many’. The story revolves around a girl who finds it difficult to choose. In fact, she doesn’t want to choose, because she believes in multiple realities. She doesn’t believe in a permanent forever; she believes in several little forevers. What is the unique selling point of and why do you think readers should pick up your book? White Noise Anyone who is looking to read a fast-paced thriller embedded within a unique, dark romance should pick up White Noise. I am certain they won’t regret it. Narrate any memorable feedback that you got from your readers... My readers have been extremely kind and they keep posting wonderful things about my writing all across social media. I remember someone called me after reading my book and said that the experience of reading White Noise was like watching an opera that made them feel like everything in the book was actually happening to them. How easy or difficult is it to become a published author?
I can only speak for myself when I say this - it wasn’t so difficult. Thankfully, I found a publisher who not only wanted to publish my book but also shared the same wavelength as me. I believe the relationship between a publisher and a writer is imperative. If you share a great professional rapport with them, it’ll make the process much easier and quite enjoyable. Concluding, what writing tips would you give to first-time writers?
The most important thing is to write what you want to write, what you believe in and what comes naturally to you. Also, it’s imperative to keep going. If you believe in your work, you will eventually find a publisher and your readers will appreciate what you put out there.