Sunday, January 29, 2017

An Exclusive Interview with Author Tejaswini Apte-Rahm

From best-sellers to short stories, writers are the one who keeps us engage with fictional characters. They keep us highly entertained & enlightened and through their eyes we see the world of imagination. 

However, it is more exciting to know the person behind that story, that book. Today I am bringing you an exclusive interview to enlighten with valuable insights when writing is in process and how the author brings us his/her share of short stories. After all, everyone has a story to tell. 

I am presenting Tejaswini Apte-Rahm, the author of These circuses that sweep through the landscape. Here’s the candid talk that we had:

Tejaswini Apte-Rahm

Q 1: Tell our readers about your background & how did you get into writing?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been scribbling for pleasure – a fragment of a poem, the beginning of a story, perhaps just a few lines of observation or character description. But I seriously started writing fiction just a few years ago. 

My career has always involved writing – I interned as a copywriter in an ad agency, worked as a journalist at The Asian Age and Screen magazine, wrote freelance articles for various newspapers, and then for ten years I worked as an environmental researcher and writer. So I have been writing in one form or another for all of my career. Even though most of this had nothing to do with writing fiction, it kept the wheels oiled – I learned to produce quality writing to a deadline, as well as to write in different styles for diverse audiences.
As far as my background is concerned, I was lucky enough to go to schools where creativity was part of the curriculum – I was at the JB Petit High School for Girls in Mumbai till the age of 13, and then at the United World College of South-East Asia in Singapore till the age of 18. At both schools, music, drama and creative writing were a natural part of school life, and this was a great foundation for writing fiction. 

Q 2: Which writers inspire you for writing?
I’m a great admirer of the short fiction of Roald Dahl (his short stories for adults) and Doris Lessing. Both are masters of the genre and show you the heights a short story can attain. They use language with the precision of a knife edge, to cut to the dark heart of a character. Doris Lessing combines that with a beautiful compassion for her characters. Both these authors have been an inspiration for me. 

Q 3: As a child, which books or fictional characters fascinated you the most?
I was a great fan of Enid Blyton’s boarding school and adventure stories. I read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte when I was 13 years old, and the character of Heathcliff made a huge impression on me. I’ve read it many times since. It showed me that evil does not need a reason to exist, that it can exist for its own sake. And that the writer does not necessarily need to spell out the reason for its existence. I like to write stories with characters that are made up of shades of darkness, where everybody is a bit of a villain. I’m pretty sure that’s a direct influence of Wuthering Heights.

Q 4: Where do you get ideas or inspiration for your writing?
I keep my eyes and ears open. Often seemingly ordinary situations are actually quite extraordinary. It depends on how you view them. Often the idea for a story comes to me as an image or a fragment of conversation. For example several years ago I came across a well-dressed man standing on the road, screaming into his phone. It was obvious that he was screaming at his wife or girl-friend, and I felt an intense dislike of him. I then started thinking about the circumstances in which his wife would have tolerated such behavior, and what social contexts they might find themselves in as a couple. That grew into my story Drinks at Seven, which features a man similar to the one I saw on the road that day. 

Q 5: What genre do you enjoy the most while writing short stories?
I enjoy writing stories which are slightly dark and twisty. I like to explore the shadowy boundary between dark and light – it is such a small step from one side to the other side. This has endless dramatic possibilities.

Q 6: What does your family think of your writing?
My husband is an enthusiastic supporter of my writing. I like him to be the first person to read a story when it’s done. He often reads multiple drafts of the same story, giving me his comments and suggestions. Since he reads widely himself, he is a valuable ‘first reader’. My daughter who is only six years old is already showing a lot of interest in reading and writing herself, which is great.

Q 7: Can we expect your next writing stint & if yes, what & when?
I’m now working on a novel. I’m enjoying the process of writing in a completely different genre, particularly since it involves a good amount of historical research. 

Q 8: Lastly, what writing tips would you like to give to upcoming writers?  
It’s important to have a disciplined writing schedule. Inspiration is not enough for producing good writing. You need to harness inspiration to writing techniques and experience, you need to experiment, you need to be prepared to throw away a lot of what you’ve written and start again. This can happen only if you write regularly, whether or not you feel inspired to do so. It’s also essential to read widely and across genres.

You can visit our author at or stay in touch with her on Facebook

Buy author’s latest book on Amazon or Flipkart

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