"My books have set me free" Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, Author - Faraway Music

"My books have set me free" Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, Author - Faraway Music

Dynamic author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu talks to us about her recently published book, Faraway Music, other books in the pipeline, her views on authorship and womanhood.

1. How would you like to describe yourself?

I like to describe myself as a 'rebel romantic,' with my writing providing music in the mundane. I am an eternal nomad at heart, I need to get away compulsively, every few months. I love writing poetry, shopping for earrings and silver in the quaintest of places (read villages as opposed to slick city stores), cooking mutton (it's more complex and I enjoy breaking it down) and of course watching mushy movies and getting all gooey.

2. Tell us about being an author – what made you write? Did you always want to become an author since childhood?

Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted to be a writer, just growing up pushed back my dream by a few decades. My earliest literary works were poems composed in the shade of the krishnachura tree in the sprawling balcony of my Kolkata home. I was an only child and found words to be my friend, an easy escape route - a passage connecting my thoughts to everyday happenings. However, the decision to be a full time writer happened a year and a half ago, when post an indulgent Australian holiday - alone, I just knew that I had to write. I honestly had no idea then whether I was going to it full time - but I just felt a compelling need to write the story of Faraway Music. I needed to be consumed and feel whole in a sense - something that only writing makes me feel.

3. What inspires you to write the books you have written so far?

Actually that is a tough one. Inspirations are diverse and tough to really pin down randomly. I am perhaps most inspired by people. And over the years especially in my long standing career as a journalist, I have had the chance to listen to so many stories, being brought face to face with people from all walks of life. Their story, the intricacies of my own life, the myriad cities I have lived in have possibly been lent a canvas to my thoughts.

4. Please tell our audience about your book Faraway Music.

On a long-haul international flight acclaimed writer Piya Choudhury tells the one story she hasn’t yet told – her own.. Loved and indulged by her mother and grandparents, but haunted by the mysterious absence of her father, Piya grows up in Kolkata, a gifted and impetuous child who pursues her studies with the same passion as she does her adolescent crushes, until a savage encounter leaves her repulsed... She moves to Mumbai hoping to become a journalist and falls deeply in love with her editor, Abir, but when a controversial story she’s working on about drug abuse among Bollywood celebrities is stymied, she is forced to choose between the man she loves and her own professional integrity… Years later, she is settled in New York, married to renowned artist David Cicconi who helps her find herself creatively. Together they are a power house of talent. Liberated, successful, dynamic, and a writer of international repute, Piya has everything she's ever wanted, until she is revisited by her past...
Sensuous, profound, lyrical and moving, Faraway Music poses as many questions as it answers…questions of family, friendship, fame, love and loss, and all that lies in between.

5. You are also a blogger right? Why is it satisfying to have a blog?

My blog For Crying Out Loud on IBN.LIVE is something I enjoy doing, though I have not been very productive (as much as I wish I was) thanks to my hectic writing schedule and now the promotional activities involved with Faraway Music. On my blog I mainly write on political or social issues that I feel very strongly about/causes that I want to espouse. Sometimes I am angry, sometimes riled, sometimes moved, sometimes disappointed - and my blog allows me to vent, besides of course being a potent medium to connect to a huge cross section of people who follow my blogs religiously, therein including me in a nameless, invisible community that perhaps is looking for someone to give them a voice, a reason, an attachment.

6. Most first time authors find it very difficult to get approvals from top publishers. What are the few main points a person should consider in a manuscript to ensure that it gets the nod of approval?

Again this is very subjective. Because as writers you pen the story you think you want to tell. I for one have never written books calculating their end result. I think once you start doing that – your craft gets corrupted and you become a marketing person and no longer an author whose words are meant to touch people. This may sound idealistic, but it's the approach I have followed. And it's worked for me. As I am on my fourth book now. If there is anything I'd like to say to an aspiring writer it is this - lose yourself in your work. Be honest to the book. Don't follow rules. Make your own. Be daring. Never lose the arrogance of being a writer. The rawness. The tenderness. The sensuality. You will be READ.

7. Any words of advice for first time authors?

There is a lot of pressure on young authors as like any industry the publishing industry is close-knit and this is India after all. So be prepared for mails not being answered, street smart agents who want their share of the pie, irate editors and a constant need to be the next Chetan Bhagat... the big breakthrough. What to me is more vital is to get a good Editor (instead of concentrating on bagging a hefty advance), find a publisher who understands who you are as a person (and therefore your work) and someone who will go all out to market your book (again this is tricky as most authors are seen cribbing about the marketing side of their publishers). Write a good concept note, attach the best sample chapters and go out and send your work out. I believe every book has its own destiny and will eventually find its own course. Also, be realistic. It's your book. So you will have to be its biggest champion in the days to come. Stop expecting your publisher to be a one stop solution into making you the next literary god - go forth and learn as much as you can about the way a book needs to work, read a lot, make new friends, talk to journalists about yourself and be brazen in your belief in your book.

8. Would you say that anyone who has a flair for writing can write a book? Is there a large enough audience for Indian writing in English now with so many young Indian authors publishing short stories and novels?

Writing is an inborn talent. So a writing workshop or a fancy overseas degree can sharpen your skills, but the feel, the mood, the poignancy of a writer I think emanates from your own life. The way you see things and an openness to be touched by life and people.
Yes, I think it's a good time to write books because we have a huge number of Indian authors and publishers being open to more indigenous writing. However, the flip side is mediocre books, an overdose of themes and anyone writing in English going ahead an publishing a book. Suddenly, writing is aspirational, cool and blockbuster with many writers also going on to pen scripts and winning popular film awards and being flashed on magazine covers. I'm a tad old fashioned, I'd like to think of authors as thinkers and revolutionaries and not marketing honchos. I think the purity of a book is absolute and this is something I think is in a way being compromised. It is upto us, the writers and eventually publishers to find and promote 'quality Indian fiction,' rather than follow a herd instinct. The palette of the reader can be trained. Just as the reader's mind is a learning ground for us in the book business.

9. Tell us about your upcoming books

My next book is an erotica. Sita's Curse about a 40 plus Gujarati housewife, Mrs. Meera Patel of Byculla, Mumbai that seeks to explore the language of desire as seen through her eyes. Followed by a racy lad lit You've Got The Wrong Girl. I am currently finishing Cut! That is based on the decline of the Marathi stage and I am writing this like a play.

10. If you weren’t an author what would you be?

I was a Lifestyle Editor and a PR head - so maybe either of those.

11. Tell us why are you Glad2baWoman? How can women empower themselves in a better manner?

I think for a while, like any of us I was in confrontation with my own womanhood. But, honestly my books have set me free. I believe that womanhood is sensual, strong and supple and that I can play as many roles as life moulds me into. Women are naturally resilient and strong, but I think the biggest empowerment of our sex will come when we feel being a woman is enough. Yes, we need men and can have the most stimulating relationships, but being a woman is a condition strong enough. Education, self belief and economic independence is critical in improving the lot of our sisters. We are every woman. Each of us.

Her book is available at Crossword, Starmark and Oxford stores so in case you are keen go grab a copy of it !

You May Also Like

The Green Warrior

The Green Warrior

Had it not been for social revolutionaries springing up at many corners of the earth, this planet of ours perhaps would have reached the brink of extinction. One such woman who...

Vidya Balan : The reigning queen of hearts in Bollywood!

Vidya Balan : The reigning queen of hearts in Bollywood!

She can be touted as the “outsider” in Bollywood, who came, saw and made it big! Who knew that the girl who has started off her career in the small screen with the sitcom Hum...

Making it on her own: Katrina’s rocky rise to stardom

Making it on her own: Katrina’s rocky rise to stardom

She has a pretty face, she has a great body, she has considerable acclaim, and she is considered to be one of the most beautiful women in Bollywood today. This often leads...

I like being a woman! - Interview with author Shoba Narayan

I like being a woman! - Interview with author Shoba Narayan

We recently interviewed author Shoba Narayan about her inspirations, thoughts on a career as an author and about why she is Glad2bawoman. She gives us important insights into a...