Writing gives your imagination full expression - Swati Kaushal

Writing gives your imagination full expression - Swati Kaushal

An MBA from IIM Calcutta, Swati Kaushal's life took an U-turn when she decided to be an author! Today, with the success of a few bestsellers, she is sharing with us bits and parts of her story and how she discovered her true calling!

1.How would you describe Swati Kaushal in 3 words ?

Inventive, Spontaneous, Optimistic

2.You've done your MBA from IIM Calcutta, and then worked with Nestle India Limited and Nokia. When and how did you first discover writing as your passion, which was so different from the career path you had actually chosen?

I’ve always enjoyed making up stories, events, characters… But when I was growing up, ‘writing novels’ was never considered an occupation or profession; it was at best a ‘hobby.’ So I started my first book Piece of Cake, as a hobby ten years ago, while taking time off from my ‘work’ as a brand manager. I wrote Piece of Cake because I thought it would be fun to string together a story about a young woman in the workplace and share it with my friends. I didn't know then that I would publish it, and that it would lead me down the path of becoming a full time writer, which is, thankfully, very much a profession!

3.All your books so far has had a strong female character as the protagonist. Is that a conscious move or does it happen spontaneously?

It started spontaneously with my first protagonist, Minal Sharma, and my second, Ani Rai. I wanted to tell their stories; in some way, they were part of me. Now it is a conscious choice; I enjoy creating strong women protagonists, even though they may be nothing like me. Maybe because I feel that in fiction, as in most things, women are underrepresented or wrongly portrayed. I feel the world needs more stories about strong women, written from a woman’s point of view.

4.What do you feel is the most rejuvenating aspect about writing?

That you can make a fresh start every day. The possibilities are endless. Writing gives your imagination full expression.

5.From the corporate to the creative world, what has been the most challenging thing you have encountered in this journey?

The biggest challenge has been, and continues to be, the fact that you are alone for most of the journey. I love being around people; working with people. But when you’re writing a novel; you have to work alone. I miss the collaboration and camaraderie and energy of the workplace.
But once the book is ready, and you can share it with the world, it is a completely surreal feeling. It makes up for all the isolation and agony, sweat and tears that went before…

6.What are your forthcoming books that you are currently working on if you can share with us?

Lethal Spice, my fourth book, and the second in the Niki Marwah series, will be out in April this year. In it my heroine, Superintendent of Police Niki Marwah, investigates a sensational crime that takes place at the Gaiety Theatre in Shimla, in the middle of the taping of a TV reality show!

7.Now-a-days, writing has become intricately associated with marketing. According to you, does this business dimension in any way hamper the liberating feeling that writing gives?

When I write a book; that is all I do. Just write. Thinking about marketing when you are writing can be very distracting. But once the book is complete, it is nice to be able to share with readers, and participate in the discussions around it.

8.Your books are viewed as "chick lit novels", a genre that is hugely popular in today's times. What is your concept of a "chick lit"?

Personally, I don’t like the term ‘chick.’ I really don’t know what people mean when they refer to ‘chick’ lit. Are they talking about all books with a female lead? In that case all books with a male lead would be ‘rooster’ lit or ‘cock’ lit. Sounds a bit ridiculous.

9. What does women empowerment mean to you?

Empowerment to me means independent thought, speech and action. When women formulate and articulate their own ideas and opinions, independent of what their parents or husbands or any other people tell them to believe, I think they are empowered.

And when women make independent choices, such as the choice of partner, of whether to marry or not, of what profession to pursue, of where to live, of how to conduct oneself, and when we don’t feel that we have to justify our choices to anybody; then we are truly empowered.

10. Are you glad to be a woman? Why?

I think that it is a gift to be a woman in modern times, and I am very grateful to be a woman. If I were to be born again, I would ask to be a woman all over again. As a woman, I have enjoyed everything that life has to offer. The joy of a wonderful loving family and amazing friendships, of love and romance, of professional fulfillment and creative abandon, of giving birth and becoming a mother. As a woman I've had the best of both worlds; both in the workplace and at home. I’m the boss. I rock. I rule. And you can ask my husband and my kids if you don’t believe me!

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