‘Stilettos in the Newsroom‘ by Rashmi Kumar is well recommended novel, the review of which featured on BTL here lately. Tonight we have Rashmi Kumar herself featured on BTL, for a short discussion on life, books, journalism, etc.
About the author: Rashmi Kumar was born in Pune in a Maharashtrian family, attended Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University and graduated in English Literature. She later pursued a degree in journalism. Her first book Stilettos in the Newsroom, published by Rupa and Co demystifies the happenings inside in newsroom and presents a candid account of the seven years, she has spent in journalism, working with various newspapers.
[Source: Author’s website]
1. Firstly, congratulations Rashmi for your first book! Why have you decided to take up writing this seriously? What or who is your inspiration behind writing?
Thanks :) As to why I decided to take up writing this seriously is because other than being a journalist, I have also been a great observer. I love to observe things so deeply that at times I surprise myself for staring at a thing too hard or thinking about a subject too deep! So I had a raging desire to share my observations about a newsroom and its myriad journalists with everyone. I always knew I had to do something with writing but wasn’t sure what. There was a time when I considered joining an ad agency, but eventually ended up being a journalist. So, writing was not by default, it was a conscious decision to make a career out of it. Creative writing however, happened when a friend coaxed me into writing the first manuscript. I was too under confident to believe that I could ever be a writer because when you say the word author, you think of someone who belongs to a different league altogether.
2. A third person narrative or a first person autobiographical – you prefer as a writer? As a reader?
It really depends. There is no fixed pattern or style that I like. Moreover, the narrative always depends from one book to another.
3. Are you happy with the outcome on the sales volume of your book?
Well, I do wish it’s more and more and much more! :)
4. As a writer, do you prefer the keyboard or the good old pen and paper? Why?
Unfortunately, “the good old pen” is passe. Typing out your manuscripts is any day faster and more convenient.
5. What do you think about the current English writing scenario in India? Do you really think it is a good time to take on writing as a full time profession?
I think English writing in India has truly come of age. In fact, this is the best time for Indian authors and those wanting to be one. Today, Indian-origin English writings are easier to comprehend and so colloquial that any segment of reader can understand it and relate to it.
I totally feel that it’s a great time to take on writing as a full-time profession (and also fearlessly) because once you create a little space for yourself, it also fetches money.
6. It’s common for writers to experience ‘writer’s block’. What’s your take on it? How do you overcome a writer’s block?
The only way to overcome writer’s block is by pushing yourself to the utmost limit. In fact, even when that fails, work upon taking a short break, freshening up your mind, gathering all the creative energies and juices and bouncing back in action.
I have always overcome my writer’s block in a similar such manner!
7. I wrote in my review that “All throughout the novel, Rashmi was the quintessential Radhika.” How much close is your book to the story of your life?
Honestly, my book is part fiction and part autobiographical. While there are segments which are straight out of my real life, there are portions which are complete figment of my imagination. So, in a way, it’s close yet distant from my real life, the only challenge is to keep guessing what’s fiction and what’s not :)
8. How tough was it for you to get a publisher once the manuscript was ready? Did you have any certain publishing house in mind or have taken chances on as many as you can? Do you regret of not having a Godfather to guide you through?
Fortunately for me, Rupa & Co had already signed me on before my manuscripts were ready and it was a perfect agreement because I always wanted to be published by them — I think they’re great when it comes to a wide stable of variety-full literature–hence the choice.
I have ever actually felt the need for a godfather.
9. Do you believe that the success of a book depends much on the publicity that goes behind it? How did you choose to publicize your book in these days of social media networking?
Totally! You might write a masterpiece but if no one knows about it, then it’s not for public consumption! Either you write and just keep it to you and if not then keep your target audience in mind and look for ways to reach out to them and make them happy.
Thanks to people like you who are trying to publicisie the book in their own honest endeavour through social media networking.
10. What all off-line efforts have you taken to market your book? Organized events, contests, give-aways?
I haven’t done much in terms of an active book promotion but as and when people have shown interest in reviewing my book I have never said no, even if it means getting a negative one.
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