Author Sonali Bhattacharya – One impactful line in a scrap book every week is enough to keep you afloat in the sea of creation.
Sonali Bhattacharya, a new name in the world of writing, lives in the city of joy. By education, she is an engineering graduate from Jadavpur University and presently works in an IT multinational company. Twenty-five years of work-life gave her exposure to many individuals and their lives. When she was young, she loved mimicking very ordinary situations in her own creative way within the closed doors of her home. The urge for building stories laid dormant. At a much later time, she started penning blogs, short stories and over time authored two fictions. She loves to influence life positively in small ways.
Her Books are available at:
Notion Press –
Amazon Links –
(For Covid19 ONLY kindle available now. It should resume as situation restores)
THE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
How long did it take to get your first novel book ‘Safety Pin’ published?
My writing journey stared with penning my personal blog in the year 2009. My first novel – ‘Safety Pin’ got published in 2015. It took almost 2 years to reach the milestone. The storyboarding took the most time. And then started scripting the same. A large part of this book covers a journey to Shimla and Manali from Delhi by road.
I did lot of internet study of various personal experiences of people of various age to make my mind rich. Once I had the basics ready, I plunged into the journey lane of the novel ‘Safety Pin’. It’s then that I let the nuances of the collective experiences evolve in the backdrop of my story.
Being a Bengali, my first novel had the emotion of Durga Puja. Apart from pining a few key places of my city Kolkata, it also had an overindulgence of Durgapur, the steel township – where I was born and enjoyed till my late teens before I stepped out to graduate.
What mistakes did you make with the publishing of your first book which you try not to repeat?
Apart from me no one had read ‘Safety Pin’ before it was published. I had selected a couple of avid readers and creative individuals of different age to review my second novel ‘The Broken Bridge’. It helped me get some selective perspective that called for quick corrections. Interestingly a few of their observations were common and the rest unique but not contradicting. So that’s one learning which helped me.
Can you focus on working on two books or stories at the same time?
Never explored writing two books together. However, can share in the inception days of any story building found plots and sub-plots often changes position. Orienting them to fall in an assembly line is always an interesting chapter of story building. To create the air often I have blogged on related topics and shared them in social forums (read it as Facebook) to gain mindshare. Yes, I love to create a fan base and also give them back some positive air in return.
Is there a modus operandi you follow and formulate before you actually start writing your next book?
Being fairly new, it would be overstatement to say I have a formula. Actually, no formula. Work keeps me busy, but a part of me keeps weaving characters and plots. I have often lost them in transit and some stayed back. A continuous thinking helps me start visualizing them after a while. That’s when I give them a name and start drafting my storyboard.
I do have two to three primary themes and a few secondary themes in mind and the plot has to fall in line with these themes to make the aha moment happen. Like for ‘Safety Pin’, my theme was battle with inner-fear and for ‘The Broken Bridge’, it was influence of personalized mentoring. I do love to add colors to my characters and make them behave normal like you and me. I bet you have meet them all around you!
Does the writer’s block actually exist? Any tips you would give to come out of it.
Yes, it’s like depression. The phase starts in a small way and unless taken care of, it can be painful. Watch out for the health and hygiene of the writer in you. No one knows your characters better than you. For an early cure, start reading good books, watch movies and if not anything, hear lot of music of choice. For me RD Burman and Asha songs are refill capsules. I am indebted to them. A lesson that I have learnt along the way is even one impactful line in a scrap book every week is enough to keep you afloat in the sea of creation.
What was the book that most influenced your life, and why?
It was possibly a copy of Rajshekhar Basu’s Mahabharat (written in Bengali) that our family inherited as property, influenced me for sure. May be not the epic in print but the personal story associated with the printed book had a deep impact on me.
My great grandmother carried this book when she left her home and reached our country as a refugee. Every time you leave home, you have a story back at home and one ahead of you in the road for the destination. Heard my grandmother saying nothing happens in the world beyond the pages scripted in that epic. Have read many books centred that around this epic and every aspect fascinates me when I relate its relevance even today. Beyond this, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen remains my all-time favourite. How stories we essay in our life can change perspective from the first to the last chapter – ‘Elizabeth and Darcy’ relationship stand as an example.
How often do you read other novels? Who are your favourite authors?
I pick up a book once a month in general. However, if I travel, I complete one book in one domestic leg. I love reading up in the air. So, an airport bookstore visit is a must have. My favourite authors – Satyajit Ray, Suchitra Bhattacharya, Devdutt Pattanaik, Paulo Coelho, Subroto Bagchi. I treat Nancy Drew and Tintin series as novels that shaped my early teenage years. I love picking up books on cine stars irrespective of authors.