Sutapa Basu is the author of Dangle (published by Readomania), a psychological thriller that sees the stunning Ipshita struggle with a nameless fear, and which brought tears to bestselling author Amish Tripathi’s eyes. An author, poet and publishing consultant, Sutapa also won the first prize in Times of India‘s nation-wide Write India Contest. We asked her to tell us about how she writes:
Do you write on a daily basis? When and where do you write?
Yes, I do. I am afraid that if I start skipping writing on some days, it will become a habit and then there will be long gaps when I won’t write at all. While I don’t believe in writer’s block, there are days when I write smoothly and other days when words don’t seem to come but I still write. So I make sure I write for at least 8 to 9 hours every day. I write best during early mornings or late evenings when the house is quiet. I usually write at the desk in my study; I find my work proceeds faster at my desk surrounded by books.
Do you listen to music while writing? What’s on your playlist at the moment?
No, I need the quietness to think. But I do take breaks, which is when music really relaxes me. In fact, music often finds mention in my writing. Dangle has quite a few Tagore songs interwoven into the story. I am also fond of retro Bollywood songs. I also like Cole, Sinatra, Engelbert Humperdinck, Neil Diamond and ABBA. I am also fond of light Hindustani classical.
Tell us about your journey from editor and teacher to author.
Well, the journey was teacher, editor, author. I have been writing since I was a child. The difference is, now that some of those writings have been published, I can call myself an author. I have always been a compulsive bookworm. As I read other authors expressing their views so convincingly that they often turned or overturned opinions in their favour, I realized how powerful a medium writing is.
What has Readomania’s online writers forum showed you about Indian writing?
The online forum gave me an opportunity to display my writing to the scrutiny of a wide range of impassive readers, and to gauge objective reader opinions. What amazed me was the comfort with which writers were writing about Indian themes, in a language or syntax that was used and understood only by English-speakers/readers in India. It made me proud to know that Indians were not falling back on British or American nuances to express their thoughts. In fact, today, I find Indian writers living overseas picking up on local expressions. That, I think, shows the influence of Indian writers and readers.
Your debut novel, Dangle, is set in several locations, from Manipur to Indonesia. How have your own travels played a role in your writing?
I strongly believe travel is education. All the locales in Dangle, whether in or out of India, are places I have actually been to. I have been very fortunate to have travelled as well as lived in several places since childhood, and as I always wanted to write, unconsciously, I had been recording my observations somewhere in my consciousness. I think they just tumble out at the right moment when I sit down to write.
Sutapa Basu’s Dangle is now available on the Juggernaut app. Download it here.