Q&A with Anuja Chandramouli

Anuja Chandramouli's latest book is Yama's Lieutenant and the Stone Witch.

Q Why do you write?
Reading and writing are my absolute favorite pastimes. For me, they constitute my happy place and are a safe space where I can take off whenever the real world gets to be too much.

Q Describe your favourite writing space.
Until I get around to buying a Chalet nestled deep in the Swiss Alps, which combines old-world charm and cutting-edge technology to automatically cater to my every need be it back rubs, hot chocolate or pedicures on demand, I’ll have to say it is a little space I cleared up in my bedroom.

Q Your favourite word?
Keister. It is far more elegant than buttocks wouldn’t you say?

Q Do you have a writing schedule?
Not really. Mostly, I just try to ignore the voice in my head that insists I get cracking to avoid last minute panic and finally pay heed only when it builds to a shattering crescendo.

Q Ever struggled with writer’s block?
All the damn time. I live in constant terror that the last word I’ll ever write has already been written. It aggravates my stress — eating condition no end and is entirely to blame for the Writer’s Bum syndrome I am afflicted with.

Q Do you keep a diary?
Yeah… but it is hardly the stuff, award-winning memoirs are based on. It is mostly lame in the extreme.

Q Best piece of advice you’ve ever got?
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum (Don’t let the bastards grind you down). Thank you Margaret Atwood.

Q What inspires you to write? Do you have a secret trick, or a book/author that helps?
Writing has become as natural as eating or breathing, so I don’t usually wait for inspiration to strike like a bolt of lightning while the seraphim herald its coming with an ecstatic chorus.

Of course, there are time when I want to smash my laptop along with MS Word to smithereens, quit writing and become an idler in possession of the fabled goose which lays golden eggs. When that happens, I tell myself that there are authors out there who have written hundreds of books without making heavy weather about it and perhaps I should stop whining and keep on working.

Q Coffee/tea/cigarettes – numbers please – while you are writing…
Two cups of extremely milky coffee with lots of sugar, to help me power through the many obstacles that beset authors.

Q Which books are you reading at present?
Waiting to get started on Steven Erikson’s Malazan series, since George R.R. Martin is being annoyingly tardy and I refuse to get my fix from the lousy show which stole him away from his writing materials.

Q Who are your favourite authors?
Veda Vyasa, Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, George R.R. Martin, Terry Brooks, Bill Watterson, Baradwaj Rangan and more recently, J. Mathrubootham.

Q Which book/author should be banned on grounds of bad taste?
I don’t think any book or author should be banned outright. Those who feel a piece of work is in bad taste are welcome to condemn it to the high heavens but I draw the line at preventing others from reading whatever they feel like.

Q Which is the most under-rated book?
There are too many books and too few readers. This probably explains why there are far too many deserving books that go unread. It is a crying shame!

Q Which are your favourite children’s books?
Anything by Enid Blyton and Amar Chitra Katha.

Q Which classics do you want to read?
There are so many that I have been meaning to find the time to read — Joseph Hellerman, Leo Tolstoy, Kafka, Hemingway to name a few.

Q Who is your favourite literary character?
Taita from Wilbur Smith’s Ancient Egypt series.

Q Which is the funniest book you have read?
Krishna Shastri Devulapalli’s How to be a Literary Sensation.

Q Which is the most erotic book you have read?
Rosalyn D’Mello’s A Handbook For My Lover.

Q Which book do you wish you had written?
The ones I am going to write in the future which will hopefully fetch me a fortune and a slew of awards. I wish they were written already.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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