Anita Nair is the bestselling author of Ladies Coupe and other novels. British author Ian Rankin named her Chain of Custody as one of his best novels of 2016. With her new story The Missing Piece recently published on Juggernaut, we sat down with her and asked her about the art of the short story, and Anita’s Attic, her writing workshop:
Do you write every day? Where and when do you write?
Yes, I try and write every day. I am a morning person so I prefer to work early in the day. I do have a study in my various homes but I can write just about anywhere, be it a plane, a restaurant or a doctor’s waiting room.
Do you listen to music while you write? What’s on your playlist at the moment?
Yes, I do. Jeff Buckley, Abida Parveen, Leonard Cohen and Bhupinder Singh are on my playlist at the moment.
What is your go-to site for distracting yourself? Or do you refuse to browse the internet while writing?
I go to Twitter each time I need to take a breather in between my writing.
Do you have any sort of pre-writing rituals or superstitions?
I write long-hand and have three pens, one for literary fiction and poetry, one for crime and one for children’s literature. So I use these pens depending on what I’m working on. I don’t have any superstitions or rituals apart from filling my pens with ink each morning and lighting a stick of incense.
What is the most important piece of the puzzle in a short story?
The trick in getting a short story right is knowing how to begin it and when to end it.
Tell us about Anita’s Attic, your writing workshop. How did it start? And what’s the response been like?
I started Anita’s Attic in 2015, as a response to the numerous requests I received for mentoring writers. However, I didn’t think it was possible for me to do so on a casual basis unless the writer was willing to invest in it. I have had four seasons this far and have worked with 45 writers on their manuscripts. Several of them have managed to place their short fiction on various platforms; two of them, who have completed their novels have had their world accepted for publication…so it’s been wonderful seeing my writers emerge from their pupae.
Three things all new writers must do to be published.
- Write well on a subject they have a comprehensive understanding of.
- Work on the crafting diligently.
- Be original and not be afraid.