Saturday, September 1, 2018

On Writing: Interview with Neelam Saxena Chandra (#MyFriendAlex Post 1)

Today on Ón Writing' we have Neelam Saxena Chandra, who works as General Manager at Mahametro, Pune. She is an Engineering graduate from VNIT and has done her Post Graduation Diploma in IM &HRD and also in Finance. She has completed a course in Finance from London School of Economics. 

She has four novels, one novella and five short story collections, 27 poetry collections and 10 children’s books to her credit. She is a bilingual writer; writing in English and Hindi. She holds a record with the Limca Book of Records -2015 for being the Author having the highest number of publications in a year in English and Hindi. 


She has won second prize in a poetry contest organized by American Embassy and in a National poetry contest organized by Poetry Council of India, 2016. She has received Humanity International Women Achiever Awards 2018, Bharat Nirman Literary award in 2017, Premchand award by Ministry of Railways, Rabindranath Tagore International Poetry award, Soninder Samman, Freedom award by Radio city for Lyrics along with other awards and honours. 


She was listed in Forbes as one among 78  most popular authors in the country in 2014.



Welcome to Ón Writing', Neelam!



Follow Neelam via her Website 
 Facebook Twitter: @chandra_neelam Instagram: neelamschandra 


Was becoming an author always your dream or was it a particular event or incident that gave birth to the author in you?

Writing was a childhood dream, which I had forgotten in the assiduous schedule of my job and other commitments. However, I continued to spin new stories for children and would narrate them to my daughter. After a few years, my husband suggested me to take a step forward and send those children’s stories to reputed magazines for publishing. Their acceptance marked the beginning of a new era in my life.

How important are the names of the characters in your books to you? Do you spend agonizing hours deciding on their names?

Oh yes! Names of the characters are very important! If it is a special character, the name also has to be exquisite. If it is a bullying character, the name also has to be slightly different and so on. The names lend more credibility to the story and I do spend a lot of time deciding upon them.

What is your writing process like? Do you write every day? Is there a favourite place to write?

My writing process is very versatile. I do not have any fixed writing hours. If I get time, I write. After all, I am in a very busy profession and leaves me with little time of my own.
However, writing is so rejuvenating, that I can’t stay without it for long. It imparts enthusiasm in my heart and prepares me for my technical and managerial tasks.
I mostly write in my bedroom, directly on my computer.

What is different about ‘Tales from Venus’?

"A woman is a palette of hues and has various shades to her persona. She desires nothing, but love. If she feels loved, she shines, opens her wings and touches the sky; radiating the whole world. If she does not, she cribs for some time, may get angry too; but then finds her own horizons in the space provided. She does not stop anywhere. She is always adapting to the situations and then also modifying herself accordingly and learning to grow in the worst of situations.
‘Tales from Venus’ makes you aware of the various colours of a woman right from teens till she matures. There are tales that tickle your bones, tales that make you feel emotional, tales of courage, tales of treachery, tales that thrill you and tales that make you happy. Ultimately, you are bound to remain glued to the book because of the surprise element offered by each story."

Which is your favourite story in the book and why?

It’s really very difficult to decide upon a favourite story as such since all of them are my creations. Each story is different and unique. They are based on the common experiences in life in and around us. ‘The Choice’, ‘Priorities’ and ‘The Realization’ are the stories which should appeal to the readers the most.

Which do you prefer as a reader? EBook or Paperback?

I am slightly old-fashioned and I prefer a paperback. I love the smell of the pages, their touch and their antique value.

How long did it take to finish writing ‘Tales from Venus’?
The stories were written over a period of six months. I wrote them leisurely, without even realizing that these stories are likely to come together and form a book.

How important do you think is marketing in today’s world for any book?

Marketing is a field in which I am totally lacking and I think, I should be more active. I have seen many of my wonderful books not so popular, whereas, others offering literally nothing, very famous. However, being in a hectic job leaves me with no time for marketing and I am alright with the current position. Even without marketing, my books did reasonably well.

Please share a passage or quote from ‘Tales from Venus’ for our readers.
I am sharing a passage from the story ‘The Realization’


The chest was opened. One by one the things were taken out. Sheeba jumped in joy as she found her first dress, her first chappals and the dress worn by her during her first stage performance. She marvelled at Shibu's torn first uniform, his photos playing football and his first coat. There was a huge photo frame holding a photo of both the siblings embracing each other.

Sheeba looked at Shibu. He was sitting pensively. When he saw her looking towards him, he came and sat next to her with his head lowered. He mumbled softly, "Sheeba, I feel as if I am undergoing a complete transformation. These are real jewels for us. And I was after the embellishments! Seeing this uniform and coat and our photo together, I remember what our parents and granny wanted me to do. Lead a decent life. From today, I will try to do so. Will you help me, Sheeba?"

What are the three tips you have for readers of this interview who are aspiring writers?

1) Never give up. Keep writing.
2) Read a lot.
3) Know the rules well in order to break them.

Thank you, Neelam! Wishing you the very best for your future endeavours.



TALES FROM VENUS

"A woman is a palette of hues and has various shades to her persona. She desires nothing, but love. If she feels loved, she shines, opens her wings and touches the sky; radiating the whole world. If she does not, she cribs for some time, may get angry too; but then finds her own horizons in the space provided. She does not stop anywhere. She is always adapting to the situations and then also modifying herself accordingly and learning to grow in the worst of situations. 

Tales from Venus makes you aware of the various colours of a woman right from teens till she matures. There are tales that tickle your bones, tales that make you feel emotional, tales of courage, tales of treachery, tales that thrill you and tales that make you happy. Ultimately, you are bound to remain glued to the book because of the surprise element offered by each story."


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6 comments:

  1. its great to know about her. all the best.

    ReplyDelete
  2. She is a very impressive personality. I have always admired her discipline. Inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I loved the passage the author mentioned from the book 'The Realization'. I am definitely going to read it. Thank you for posting this wonderful interview of an inspirational women.!!

    ReplyDelete

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