Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born in Pune and brought up in Mumbai. I lived in Mumbai for forty years. Now my family and I live in Bengaluru. It’s been three years since we moved here.
What were you like at school?
Extremely involved and energetic. My friends called me ‘Glucose-D’ the very popular ‘energy’ biscuit then. I was keenly involved in music, drama and sports. I was an average student in academics.
Were you good at English?
The language has always been of interest. I made an effort to write my exams papers well. I was fortunate in being taught by accomplished and dedicated teachers. I wanted to make them proud.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I have no ambition, as I do not view writing as my career. However I do wish to share my work with as many souls as possible as the book is about change.
So, what have you written?
So far it’s only PASTPRESENT. It’s a book of verses.
Where can we buy or see them?
In Bengaluru, you can buy it at Blossom Book House and Atta Galatta. The book is available on Flipkart and Infibeam.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
I have several main characters in PASTPRESENT and they are all, very commonplace objects. They are the actual heroes who have some wonderful things to say about themselves, us, and life in general.
What are you working on at the minute?
My second book of poems is taking shape…
When did you decide to become a writer?
It was not my decision and I still do not consider myself as a writer.
Why do you write?
I write because when ideas spring, there is no other choice but to write them down.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
It’s who made me sit down to write. Dr. Pradeep Diwan, a friend and guide thought I should give writing a go.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write whenever a thought strikes, could be anywhere, anytime.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
It depends on what is closest at hand. I have written on tissue, random sheets of paper, even my cell phone. I finally put all that down on my computer.
Where do the your ideas come from?
From everyday objects, like a cycle, rubber band, chimes… everyday events and people.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I haven’t yet.
If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
This book may become a part of a series but I am not so sure yet.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
I have had phases in my reading. Currently it’s the down phase. Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, Leon Uris, Milan Kundera.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Always the traditional paper back or hard copies…
What book/s are you reading at present?
I am struggling with the Bhagwad Gita…it’s certainly complicated!
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I certainly do it at my end, but I let my friend Soniya Khare do her job. She is a super copy-editor.
Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
Soniya has edited PASTPRESENT.
Who designed your book cover/s?
The cover has been designed by Tanvee Nabar, a very talented visual communications artist from The Shristi School of Design
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Yes, it does to an extent…but as the saying goes…one can never judge or rather, should not judge a book by its cover.
How are you publishing this book and why?
I am self-published. No publisher wants to touch a poetry manuscript, leave alone a novice.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
Self-publishing ensures complete control over the book, it’s content, design and price. I look at marketing the book as a challenge, which I have taken on and enjoyed so far.
The process of self-publishing has taught me many a splendid things.
How do you market your books?
I prefer to take it slowly. I like to take my book to different cities, present it to an audience, just like a play.
Why did you choose this route?
I enjoy contact with the audience. The interaction is immensely satisfying.
How do you relax?
I love movies.
What is your favourite positive saying?
The only thing permanent is change
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Live without fear
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Lnkedin: Amruta Dongray Damle
Thanks Amruta for this exclusive interview. All the best for the future.
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