Monday, March 10, 2014

Author Interview: Shuchi Singh Kalra: Done With Men

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As a freelance writer, she has worked with several print and online publications, both in India and abroad. Her bylines have appeared in, Good Housekeeping, Home Review, Investors India, Dogs and Pups and Womens Era, to name a few. She has also worked with corporate clients such as The Princeton Review and Skyscanner, apart from many medium and small businesses.  As a rare honor, a popular international blog recently put her on top of the list of “12 Highly Successful Non-Native English Freelance Writers”. She lives a rather nomadic version of happily-ever-after with her husband and livewire toddler.

A warm welcome to Shuchi!

Your real name and pen name?

I write under my real name – Shuchi Singh Kalra

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

My fondest memories are of my home in Libya – it was a beautiful Spanish villa with a huge green belt behind it. There, I had my own tree house and a hammock. I used to spend all my afternoons in the tree-house with my dog, a bag of goodies and a stack of books.  I wish I could relive those moments again.

About your education

I did half my schooling in Libya and the other half in Lucknow. I then went to the Bausch and Lomb School of Optometry in Hyderabad to become an Optometrist. After I got married and moved to a remote Kashmiri town with my fauji husband, I took up Masters in English Literature for the sheer love of it. I’m so glad I did because of all the things I had studied till date, I enjoyed this the most.

What career did you plan during your education days

I belong to a family of academicians, mostly doctors and professors. Both my parents are independent medical practitioners, and following in their footsteps seemed like a natural choice. I realized quite late in life that I wasn’t really cut out for the profession, and that writing was my true calling.

What languages you can speak and write?

Hindi, English and a smattering of Punjabi

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

I think it is Life itself – I tend to observe people and situations very closely, and then imagination takes over.

What hurts you most in this world?

The general attitude of apathy that people have – towards everything. From crime against women to depleting natural resources and everything in between, most people seem to be unmoved by anything that does not concern/impact them directly. I would like to take this opportunity to salute all those who are taking an initiative and trying to make the world a better place in whatever way they can.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua probably – I could use some pampering right now!

What is your favorite genre and why?

I always turn to chick-lit whenever I am in the dumps or just in need of something that doesn't require too much brain power.  There is something strangely uplifting about these books – perhaps because the characters are so relatable and are going through the same life problems as you. I just wanted my first book to be entertaining and fun, which is why I chose this genre.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

While I can call myself an experienced copywriter and editor, I am very new to fiction writing. Some of my short stories have found a place in anthologies such as ‘Love Across Borders’, ‘Stories for your Valentine’ and New Asian Writing’s upcoming collection. Done With Men is the first time I am going solo as an author.

What are your forthcoming writings?

I am working on a couple of other manuscripts. Hopefully, I should be out with my next book soon.

What are your future plans?

I don’t have any fixed plans as such. Right now I just taking each day as it comes. I’m game for whatever opportunities life throws my way.  But yes, I am definitely going to write more books.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

I strongly believe that a good book is one that is written with honesty, without being a slave to pre-set formulas. When I write, I write from the heart and I just let the words flow. I know for a fact that if I don’t enjoy writing the book, I can’t expect the readers to enjoy reading it. 

Your dream destination on Earth?

I really want to cruise down the Amazon once in my life.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed.

I was born in Lucknow and moved to Libya with my parents when I was three. I returned to the homeland as a teen and spent my growing-up years in Lucknow and then Hyderabad. I love traveling and have travelled across 4 continents to more than 15 countries, the latest being Maldives.

Your favorite time of the day?

Afternoon – when everyone is asleep.

Your zodiac/ sunsign?


Your favorite color and why?

I love vibrant colors everywhere – in my life, at home, in my wardrobe. If I have to pick one, it would be green.

Your favorite food?

I’m a complete foodie and I dig everything from roadside paani puri to sashimi.

Some quickies:

Sun or Moon: Moon

Laughter or Smile: Laughter

Morning or Evening: Evening

Coffee or Tea: None

Mountain or Sea: Sea

Long Drive or Short Drive: Long Drive

Silence or Conversation: Silence

Water or Fire: Water

Air or Earth: Earth

Mars or Jupiter: Mars

Tulip or Rose: Rose

Red or Blue: Red

Left or Right: Whatever!

Glance or Stare: Ignore

What three words come to your mind for each –

Technology: Makes life easier

Life: Travel. Freedom. Family

God: Karma. Peace. Love

Humanity: Beacon of hope

Terrorism: Rooted in religion

Racism: An unfortunate reality

Childhood Abuse: Disgusting and Intolerable

Love: Has many forms

Parenting: Overrated. Overwhelming. Irreversible. Sucks (sorry, today is just one of those days)

Old age: Still far away

The last line of your autobiography would be...

Take it or leave it…

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