Sharon Gupta is an Indian Civil Servant and a writer. She is married and has a teenage son. Her articles and short stories were published in leading Indian newspapers and magazines over the years. She self-published a historical fiction novel in October 2000. Besides writing Sharon loves reading, music and playing the guitar.

How was your experience with the Juggernaut writing platform? Do you have any suggestions for us to improve it?

I loved the Juggernaut writing platform. It’s interactive and easy to use. Suggestions for improvement? Perhaps you could offer more options for the cover.

What is your writing process like?

Meticulous and well-planned! I do a lot of research and then work out the broad plot details before actually beginning the first draft. I love writing in long hand and use my laptop only after two drafts.

If you had to pick three books that inspired you as a person and/or writer, which ones would they be?

Ah, picking just three books is hard but let me try. One: The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy; Two: Shakespeare’s Hamlet (will include it even though it’s a play, not a book); and three, Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. And a fourth, if I may, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

How important is it to you for a good story to be good writing as well? Do you think the two are mutually exclusive?

The two are definitely not mutually exclusive! I feel it’s all important for a good story to be written well, too. In fact, a mediocre plot can be redeemed by great writing.

What is your favourite genre of literature? What do you like about it?

Shakespeare and Crime Fiction. I’m one of those strange people who read Shakespeare for fun! But my favourite genre is Crime Fiction. I love it for the element of suspense and for the way it portrays people under pressure. Something’s always happening and the lead characters are usually in stressful situations. This brings out the best and worst in them.

How do you see literature as a force for change?

Literature has always been a force for change. Just consider the great Russian masters; their works were hugely influential. Homer, the father of Greek poetry, can be credited with creating Greek culture…almost. Our words have an amazing creative power. We can use them for making a difference and it doesn’t have to be in a preachy way.

How important do you think it is for people to read? What are the benefits of reading, in your opinion?

Oh my gosh, I can’t imagine my life without reading! It’s one of the most important aspects of a child’s life. It helps a person to learn about new lives, new civilizations, new places. It builds character by showing us how other people react to challenging situations. I’m ever grateful to my Dad who told me, when I was just seven years old, that if I start reading books I’ll never be bored in my life. My mother introduced me to Shakespeare when I was very young by buying comic versions of Shakespeare’s plays. Can’t thank them enough.

What or who inspired you to write?

Enid Blyton and my Dad, Swaranjit Sen! The Secret Seven series were the first I recall reading and that got me hooked. My father was an Indian Police Service Officer. He retired as DGP some time back. I was fascinated by his work as a Cop. That got my imagination going. I wrote my first story, The Mystery of the Missing Treasure, when I was ten. My siblings and I with names changed were the lead characters in it!

If writing were a super power that allowed you to influence people with your words alone, would you want it?

Oh, yes. Sans doubt!

You can read her book Contract Kavita here.


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