Wednesday, February 12, 2014
An International Guest
Please grab a donut and your beverage of choice, and help me welcome Shuchi Singh Kalra as today's Wednesday's Guest. She wrote the light-hearted romantic comedy Done With Men that I reviewed here on Sunday. Shuchi lives and works in India, and I am so pleased to have my first international guest. While we're visiting with Shuchi here, I am at the Blood Red Pencil today talking about romance and sex. After all, they do go together.
Welcome Shuchi and please tell us a little bit about who you are and what you write.
I like to think of myself as a thinker and a dreamer. I live in my own idealistic little world and am cruelly jolted back to reality every once in a while when earthly responsibilities beckon. I am a proud military wife and mother to a beautiful two-year old girl.
I have been writing professionally for over seven years now as a freelance writer and editor, and I also run a small firm that goes by the name of ‘Pixie Dust Writing Studio’. While I have contributed to some anthologies in the past, Done With Men is my first solo offering. It is essentially a romantic comedy and I had tremendous fun writing it. I am keen to see how western readers will accept a story set in modern, urban India.
Are you a romantic at heart? Is Valentine's Day special for you? Romantic yes, but not hopelessly so – I do have my moments of cynicism every once in a while. I am not really big on “days” as such, because they somehow don’t fit in with my idea of romance. In fact I find them very cliché and pointless. But this Valentine’s Day is going to be special – very special!
Have you always wanted to be a writer, or have you come to writing after another career? What was that career? I have always loved writing but I never thought I would one day take it up as a career. Few people know this, but I was an Optometrist before I took to writing. I worked at a leading eye hospital in India and soon realized that peering into slit-lamps and prescribing glasses wasn’t my thing. My family thought I was crazy to dump a seemingly good career to become a full-time writer but looking back, I believe it was the best decision I ever made.
What is your fondest childhood memory? I spent my childhood in Libya, where my parents worked for some years before coming back to settle in India. We had this huge Spanish villa in a campus with a sprawling green belt around it. There I had my own make-shift tree house that I had built with palm leaves and some branches. It was pretty neat looking and quite sturdy too. I would sit in it all day with a bag of oranges and a pile of books.
How did you come to write in the genre you chose? I chose chick-lit/rom com for my first book because that is the genre I read and enjoy the most. Also, it was relatively easier to write about a theme that I identified with at a personal level. However, that does not mean I will never step out of my comfort zone – this is just my first novel and I would love to experiment and stretch my boundaries as I gain more confidence in my skills as a novelist.
What did it say about you in your high school yearbook? It says “The Tomboy”. As a teenager I always thought I was being all pretty and feminine (what with all the male attention) but I guess people didn’t see me that way (smile).
Shuchi Singh Kalra is an internationally published writer, placing work in popular magazines such as Femina.in, Good Housekeeping, Home Review, Parent & Child, Vista, Investors India, Dogs & Pups, Women's Era and Time 'N' Style. Her short stories have been published in anthologies such as Love Across Borders and New Asian Writing's upcoming collection. She is the owner of Pixie Dust Writing Studio, a writing and editing firm that services a global clientele, and the Indian Freelance Writers Blog.
You can find out more about her at her website, read her blog, and meet her on Facebook and Twitter.
Travel journo, Kairavi Krishna (Kay) has had it with men. After a series of disasters (losers, philanderers, leeches, mama's boys and possessive psychos), she is all too tempted to walk out on the prospect of ever finding love. Accompanied by her best friend and flat-mate Baani, she sets off for Goa, hoping to get away from her miserable love life and vowing to stay clear of the male species.
If you would like to ask Shuchi any questions, I'm sure she'd be happy to answer them. I'm hoping she might share what is going to be special about this Valentine's Day.