Shiwani: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Alakananda: I used to write articles in my office magazines from the year 2000 onwards, and I do remember writing short stories during my school days. It was in the year 2012 I started dreaming of becoming a writer and in fact I had started writing a beautiful dreamy story of love and life, when lightning struck me and my writing was ripped by the emotions and situations that ravaged my life at that moment. When one day my cupboard & drawers were ransacked in my absence and my writing got stolen, my dream to become a writer changed to a rigid determination & promise to become a published writer.
Shiwani: How long does it take you to write a book?
Alakananda: The first book I wrote was not published as it was a gift for a son-cum-friend, who had played a major role in uplifting me from my dark days. The book had around 150 A4 size pages and It took me 3 months to write this book.
My published book took me over a year, as I am a working professional as well as was personally going out on the streets and serving the needy, hence I had to balance work-life. Besides, to write each story I had to get into a zone to pour my emotions.
Shiwani: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Alakananda: There is no work schedule as such. The moment I get into the writing zone and feel, I start writing. It can be any time, any moment… sometimes, while listening to music and sometimes due to rain & brewing coffee or the beauty and sound of nature would create the atmosphere.
Shiwani: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Alakananda: Every moment in our life is a story by itself. When an incident or moment touches the core of my heart, the idea starts forming. The incidents that have happened in my life or those close to me that have moved me emotionally get transformed into stories.
Shiwani: When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Alakananda: I started late in life. I wrote my first book at the age of 50.
Shiwani: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Alakananda: When not writing, I listen to music, painting, read novels, watch movies, go for a walk. I have also acted in a couple of short films and modeled for an upcoming photographer.
Shiwani: What does your family think of your writing?
Alakananda: My family is neutral about my writing. They have neither encouraged nor discouraged me from writing. I get tremendous encouragement and support from my sisters.
Shiwani: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Alakananda: That the universe comes together to make your dream come true, by itself is surprising and awe-inspiring. There is a lot that goes behind publishing a book right from the formation of ideas in your mind, and if you are determined, nothing can stop you. Nothing is impossible in life and dreams to do come true if you work towards it dedicatedly.
Shiwani: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
- Very importantly read books.
- Start small, like start writing short stories, small writeups
- Join writers group, it helps a lot when you are interacting with like-minded people.
- Take advise from other authors
- Observer and always taking mental notes
- Write down these notes and any ideas that come in your mind immediately, because you may forget it if you leave it in your memory.
- Writing and hiding it doesn’t help. Others should read what you have written. Hence, look for opportunities and ways of publishing them, even if you have to take help from your friends who may have a publishing house, or publish magazines for their organization where stories or writeups are open for any writer.
- Believe in yourself and your writing, and never stop working towards your dream.
Shiwani: Does your family support your career as a writer?
Alakananda: As mentioned earlier, my family is neutral about my writing. They have neither encouraged nor discouraged me from writing.
Shiwani: When are you writing your next book?
Alakananda: Stories have already started taking shape in my mind. I will start writing my next book soon. I hope to publish it in 2021.