Author Interview- Malini Rajesh


Can you tell us a little about your book?

This book is a collection of short stories inspired by various prompts that explore how I communicate personal and specific instances through writing. I have attempted to capture my culturally unique memories and experiences in the ten pieces that have presented in this book. Writing these stories were unique opportunities to re-engage with  many of my cherished memories; the way I remember them and how I want to convey them. The first story has descriptions of my first Bharatanatyam recital, it revolves around self consciousness on stage. The second story Disquiet is particularly special because of its subtle discussion of mental health and discomfort. Another of my personal favourites is the story Soirée where I have experimented with trying to capture the thrill of a rising action and the satisfaction of a resolution without an absolute plot structure. One of the unifying threads in this book is the fact that it offers an introspective discussion of mundane, familiar things not commonly seen translated through literature. 


What got you writing in the first place? 

Reading and writing were integral parts of my growing up. Spending hours in the local book store was my favourite weekend activity.  After completing novels I particularly enjoyed, I would create spin-off stories with the characters I liked and try to copy the author’s writing style. My love for reading and writing have provided the much needed stability in a handful of situations like shifting schools, leaving friends and familiar settings. Writing acts as a quiet respite that allows me to engage myself creatively. While writing these short stories, I have experimented with creating ambiance as that’s something that I really look for in the books I read.


What was your impression of your first draft when you read it?

When I first saw the compilations of my short stories, I was thrilled to see the various themes I had written about come together. I had to edit the order of the short stories and work to create a sequence that interspersed traditional and more experimental stories. I worked on making the stories flow well and improving the readability by arranging unique themes and differing lengths of stories together. 


What was the best advice you got while writing? 

One of the things I was advised to keep in mind while I write was to maintain the integrity of a story. I often tried to write stories with settings in places I had not visited, trying to emulate the styles of foreign authors I was familiar with. While writing and editing these stories, I tried to draw on feelings and construct stories I could lend authenticity to. Initially, I found myself aggressively referencing American and foreign culture in my stories, and I had to re-work these drafts to cater more to a re-telling of things I had personally experienced. It was difficult to break the habit of shadowing foreign author’s writing styles in my stories, but once I did, I found it a lot easier to write about the new, more personal topics.


Who’s your all time favourite author? Which book of his/hers made you fall in love with them? 

I enjoy classics like The Picture of Dorian Grey and Lady WIndermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde, as the complexities of human character and interactions he examines were riveting. His subtle humour and the profound, dense, declarative sentences that are so definitive of his writing style always make his novels my favourite to read. I also had the opportunity to enact these as part of my Theatre course in school, which furthered my love for Wilde and his books.

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