Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Author Interview with Sujay Malik

Sujay Malik, author of a collection of short stories surrounding human life agreed to have an interview with me. Here is how it went!

When did your journey as an author begin?

Answer - That’s an interesting question. I have actually tried hard to ask myself that question, but I can hardly recall the start of my journey as an author. I guess I always had a creative skew as far as writing was concerned since my schooling days. Somehow languages bailed me out in my results always. I remember I was scared to the hilt of Mathematics till eighth standard and was absolutely atrocious at Art and Craft. But the three languages were mysaviours always. Being in Mumbai my three languages consisted of English, Hindi and Marathi and I had a penchant for literature in any form. As introverted and aloof as I was I loved participating in Elocutions and Creative Writing Contests. I remember one of my essays in school exam got selected straight into the school magazine and it was one of the proudest moments. That was probably where the seed of the dream to write was implanted.

But as they say, life intervened. I got involved in trying to shape up a conventional career for myself. I did my Graduation in Commerce and went on to do Chartered Accountancy. I also acquired a degree in Law. Somewhere along the line, writing fell by the wayside. But I used to write sporadically. It started off as poems and four liners in Hindi and English. I loved the idea of conveying a thought or an emotion in just four lines. But as I said it was intermittent and unstructured. But at the same time I also realised I was completely myself when words flowed out of my pen (or as the case is now - from mobile phone touchscreen or keyboard :-D). The idea of a book and stories had started to germinate but somehow I couldn’t ensure that it was given an opportunity to perpetuate.

As I started to realise the happenings in and around me, awareness dawned and as some people would say, life happened, for the umpteenth time. Writing was a release. It allowed me to vent. I managed to grasp that I probably did a decent job of writing. If only I could hone it and structure it better. My stories will always resonate the social fabric and human persona and character, just the way I see it. I figured that instead of just ranting and filling pages with stinging words, a better idea may be to give a touch of realism yet maintain a fictional status to a story. Ironically fiction and reality intermingle at timesand I loved that idea. Gradually I started looking for public writing platforms and took to reading extensively.

Hence, as you can see there is no concrete answer to when my journey started but this is what the journey is all about. I do hope it continues endlessly. I guess it will keep me going for everything that comes my way - this intriguing journey of being a writer.

What was your inspiration for "Different Beads of the Same String"?

Answer - If you look at all the stories; as different as they may be from each other, there is an underlying essence embedded in each of them which you may feel connected to. I have always believed that stories are nothing but a reflection of the times that we live in.

Hence you will see that in 'Different Beads of the Same String' each story is telling you something, something about our society, about the ethos, about the values and about how we look at people and things around us.

Inspiration for the book came from all that I saw around me. And as I said earlier I didn't want to rant about it relentlessly. The interesting way to do it was through stories and I love the idea of short stories to say what I have to. I have tried to ensure that ‘Different Beadsof the Same String’ tells you something without raving about it. At least that the inspiration and endeavour behind it.

Who were your first readers ? How did they respond?

Answer - The first readers to bear the brunt of my writing, have always beenmy wife Priyanka and my parents :-D But they were extremely encouraging and positive with their feedbacks, even if it meant critically. But by and large they were happy and excited for me and my writing and I can honestly assert that.

I have a set of friends too that I instantly look for feedbacks. Ruchi Thacker, Vidit Shah, Manali Sheth and Shweta Gadia. Initially they wouldn't believe that it was Iwho wrote what they were reading. But all the wonderful words of appreciation and feedback went a long way in convincing myself, that I was pretty decent for the starters at least.

Do you ever have Writer's block ? If yes, how do you cope with it?

Answer - Surely. I would love to come across a writer who doesn't have one. But to tell you honestly, I do not get too perturbed by it. I have a day job which also involves hectic travelling. So my writing usually happens late at night or on weekends. Sometimes a bit of it,thrown in during the travelling too.

So with multitude of things occupying my mind, sometimes it does happen that I sit in front of a blank word document for minutes sometimes hours. I type sentences and ultimately delete them. But I believe rather than writing anythingat all, it is better to be selective with what you write. If you don't relate fully with your work chances are that your readers won't as well.

So while I make my plans and set my targets, I don't worry too much if I don't meet them as long as I am being honest to myself about attempting to achieve them. I don't try to pressurise myself into making them up too if I miss the deadline I set myself.

But I talk to people, I look around and I read a lot. That's probably my way of getting through the writer's block. I gather my ideas and eventually there comes a time when I feel I am all set to go. Then there is no stopping and it galvanizes and energizes me.

Where do you normally write? On electronic media or a personal note book?

Answer - Well. I scribble my ideas down in a note book or my mobile phone. But I prefer to write on my laptop in the little corner of my home. Fruits and tea and coffee help.

What do you want to share about your book ? In which genre do you categoriseit?

Answer - Well, I do not want to categorise this into any specific genre. I had my book launch about a couple of weeks back where the guests of honourwere Dr. Yusuf Merchant, who is the founder President of Drug Abuse Information Rehabilitation Camp; Research Centre, that is actively involved into research of use, misuse and abuse of drugs, since 1983 and Mrs Patricia Chandrashekhar, who is the founder ofWritestuff Writing Club and has been honing the skill of budding writers since many years. Dr. Merchant was graciousenough to say at the launch that this book belongs to a genre called ‘genre of social conscientious’. He was extremely kind when saying so, but as I said there are a mix of stories in this book and so I would not specifically categorise thsinto any genre.

All I can say is that people from all walks of life and lovers of short stories and books in general will enjoy this mixture.

What do you do apart from writing?

Answer - I work with with Jardine Lloyd Thompson India in the Quality Assurance team. I am also involved in technical trainings in my company. I love to play Table Tennis which I have played competitively ever since I was in school.It is only a hibby right now but off late I have had some back issues due to which I have taken a sabbatical from the game. I hope to return to it sooner than later.

Apart from this I am a cricket crazy guy like most of us are. I read a lot and catch the current ongoings on television and newspapers in the midst. That basically sums up my life apart from writing.

Who are the people you ardently read?

Answer - Ironically I was never a reader. In fact as much as I loved literature in school I avoided any books other than my schoold books for a major part of my life. But as I said I always loved to write. So I tried to write without really reading books. Initial few pieces of work came across as breath of fresh air to my small circle of readers who were also my friends. Over a period of time I realisedthat sameness had started to creep into my writing, both in terms of ideas as well as content.

That's when I realised that I could not be a writer whilst keeping reading in isolation. That was one day and today is another. I have now got hooked to reading. I read whenever I can. I am amazed by some of the works of R. K. Narayan, Ruskin Bond and Khushwant Singh. I have my shelf entirely stacked up with books I have lined up to read. Off lately I read Paula Hawkins, Stephen King, V.S. Naipaul, Ashwin Sanghi amongst others. Currently I am reading Kafka on the Beach by Haruki Murakami and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

Going forward I intend to read classics in not only English but also Hindi and Marathi. I have a whole list of renowned authors peeping at me through my bookshelf which is almost spilling over now. But I am not complaining andlooking forward to my readathon.

How did your family react to your novel?

Answer - They were absolutely overjoyed. I think they were happier than even i was. That's the long and short of it.

10 years from now, where do you see yourself?

Answer - Well not doing too differently from now I guess. I keep the mantra simple. Read, write, learn, improve, grow and repeat. I do see myself write lot more books and read a lot more too. That gets me going now, and 10 years later I do not see how this will change.

You can grab your copy on Amazon !


  1. Nice, i have read Sujay's book. I loved the diversity of stories in it.

  2. I am a young aspirin author n I write on my laptop too. Sure coffee is lifeline