Passion, compassion, and imagination: three qualities of a writer

Sujata Parashar Is a well-known author and poet. Through her writings, she aims to tell an engaging tale and touch a heart, besides expressing her views on important issues often brushed under the carpet in a conservative society. Here’s more.

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Bestselling novelist, short-story writer and poet, Sujata Parashar became widely popular with her ‘Pursuit’ series and has so far written twelve books across genres. This postgraduate in human rights, however, has a rich and diverse work experience. Apart from authoring bestsellers, Sujata is a psychosocial trainer and the founder of a talk-therapy based platform, The Talk-It-Out-Express;a platform to enhance emotional wellbeing. Here’s more on this multi-faceted author…

Journey so far…

“I started off as an accidental writer. My first novel, ‘In Pursuit of Infidelity’ (Rupa, 2009), did extremely well and catapulted me into the world of writing. Over the years, I’ve experimented with different writing styles and forms and evolved as a writer. It has been an amazing journey of self-discovery so far. Writing has also made me more compassionate and accepting of others or so I would like to think,” tells Sujata.

On writing about women centric themes…

“I don’t consciously write women-centric stories. Being a woman myself, it comes naturally to me. However, I’m a feminist at heart, who feels strongly about women issues and the challenges they face in a patriarchal society like ours. Thankfully, things are changing. The modern Indian woman is going through a period of transition. She is educated, sharp, aware, and even financially independent. On the other hand, she is still in shackles in the name of tradition and culture. Young women today, however, understand that they have to be their own saviours in order to progress and lead a wholesome and happy life. And my stories reflect these thinking and attitudinal changes as seen in them,” shares Sujata.

Different stories, different genres…

“I write across genres. As I mentioned above, I became popular with my first novel, In Pursuit of Infidelity (Rupa, 2009) which explored intricacies of man – woman relationship outside the institution of marriage. So far, I’ve written four novels under the ‘Pursuit’ series. The latest one came out last year and is titled, In Pursuit of Mi Amor (Vishwakarma Publications, 2021). It is a mature romance and explores the healing power of love. The story is inspired by my work with the Hemophilia community in India, especially my close observation of the young men with hemophilia who undergo massive relationship challenges due to their disorder. The book is a tribute to these young brave hearts who deserve to love and be loved.I’ve also published three poetry books under the ‘Poetry Out and Loud’ series, a collection of short stories, ‘That Woman You See,’ a socio-political thriller, ‘The Temple Bar Woman,’ which portrayed a sexual violence survivor’s determination and gumption to bring her perpetrators to book. My latest is a nonfiction, ‘Going Solo – Raising Happy Kids,’ a hand guide on single parenting,” she shares.

Blessing in disguise…

“The covid-19 lockdown turned out to be a blessing for me as a writer. I released two books, a fiction, In Pursuit Of Mi Amor (Feb 2021) and a nonfiction, Going Solo- Raising Happy Kids (Sep 2021) and I won two prestigious awards; the A3F Best Fiction award 2021 for my novel, ‘The Temple Bar Woman,’ and PVLF Author Excellence Award 2022 for my nonfiction, Going Solo – Raising Happy Kids,” shares Sujata.

Languages you write in…

“I write in English but my nonfiction, ‘Going Solo – Raising Happy Kids’ might be translated in Hindi and Marathi soon,” tells Sujat

Aim as a writer…

“My aim is to tell an engaging tale and touch a heart,make my readers feel vibrant and positive about life. At times, the aim is to also to express my views on important issues often brushed under the carpet in a conservative society like ours,” shares Sujata.

Hardest part of writing…

“I am a pantser. As opposed to a structured writer, I plan very little. I’ve a loose idea about the beginning and the end of a story but that’s about it. I write my stories totally unaware of what will happen from one chapter to the next. My characters are my guide. I pay attention to my characters while developing them which is mostly before I start writing, I have a rough idea of what kind of characters are needed to carry forward a story and make it work. The characters evolve as the story progresses. But in the end, it is them who drive the story to a large extent. So developing my characters well is the biggest challenge I face while writing a book,” she shares.

Advice to aspiring writers…

“There are three things that a writer must possess – passion, compassion, and imagination. Everything else can be learned or acquired!” she says.

What next?

“My next will be a fiction,the last book in my ‘pursuit’ series. There are a couple of other short writing projects in the pipeline,” tells Sujata.

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