“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his/her mind, is written largely in his/her works.”
Critically acclaimed author and Academician from Hyderabad, India, Dr.Shakila shares insights on her writing process as we discuss her creative journey as a best selling author. Tune in for an intriguing and insightful look at writing from one of Hyderabad’s most talented author.
An insightful journey into her creative pursuit with me to answer some questions about her work, creative process, her books and more.
1. It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. Can you start by telling us a little about yourself?
A. I have been born and bought up in a beautiful city of Hyderabad in southern India, which is very famous for its culture, cuisine, and pearls. Being exposed to diversified culture, I was always fascinated about new and unique qualities in individuals, which has laid a seed of inquisitiveness to understand the marvels of science, thereby making me choose subject science as my educational majors.
My enthusiasm to meet people and to interact with them has encouraged me to choose to teach as a profession, to ignite the young minds to know their inner potential and achieve their dreams. I’m working as an academician from past two decades imparting biology subject to the pre-university students in one of the most reputed colleges of Hyderabad, India.
My passion for writing has propelled me to soar in the sky of the literary world to make a mark for myself by publishing two best-selling books, thereby helping me get a foothold on the creative arena.
To, put my journey in a nutshell, this is Dr.Shakila, an academician by profession and a writer, columnist and a motivational speaker by passion.
2. Are you interested in other forms of artistic expression besides writing?
A.Yes. Apart from writing, I am very passionate about fashion designing as well as fabric paints which are very close to my heart. In fact, I do a lot of creative works like ceramic pottery, DIY works, and Glass painting too.
3. What keeps you motivated/inspired?
A. The most motivating thing that keeps me going is my inner fire to bring out the best in me by utilizing the resources present around me in any form. Be it may be people, instances, situations or stories. Those are my inspirations colors which I use to paint on the canvas of my mind to form a delight for my readers.
4. What forms of writing (short stories, poetry, novels, essays, etc.) and genres do you prefer and why? What can you never see yourself writing?
A. I am very comfortable with writing both fiction and non-fiction at the same ease. But my soul lies in poetry where my words breathe the feelings to lay a beautiful flow of emotions stirring the deep chords of the heart.
Well…to be honest, I can never think about writing crime thrillers or dark fiction, as I detest any form of violence or crime in my life.
5. As a reader, what do you think makes a good story?
A. According to me as a reader, I prefer to have a good story with appealing content and a new concept of freshness which can keep me glued to the subject. I don’t like to read anything that has forced dialogue or same old unrealistic setups. I want to see many more new authors coming up with a unique style of stories which has a long-lasting effect rather than the same old narrations.
6. As a writer, what elements do you find are the most crucial to include in your stories? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
A. I strongly believe that, until and unless an author is convinced about his framework of plot or story, he/she cannot make a real impact on the reader’s mind. So, for me, the first criteria for a good book is to have a strong plot or a concept which portrays a clear picture of the author’s mindset. It should leave a footprint on the reader’s memory forever.
My strength is my strong ability of storytelling in a naturalistic way, kindling the emotions, fanning the ebbed flames of feelings, playing with the beauty of words to weave a magic of eternity and transforming the readers into a new world of creativity.
I think my most feared weakness is procrastination, which I’m trying my level best to erase from my dictionary.
7. Who/what are the biggest influences in your writing? How do they influence what you write?
A. I don’t think that I can point to a single who as being the greatest influence on my writing, because I am influenced by so very many people, and I don’t think I can single out just one or two as significantly more important than others in that regard.
But to name one thing, that had a profound influence on me is the effect and help of the internet, that has helped me to learn and imbibe various writing patterns that have in fact paved a unique style of my own. It was like an open window through which I see the literary extravaganzas of great writers and poets of the time.
8. Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?
A. My debut book “Odyssey of Spirit” is about the beautiful journey of thoughts which plays an integral part in our monotonous life. As we meet a lot of people from all walks of life in our sojourn, who either leaves an impregnable memory or an invisible scar on our mindset. This reading expedition will make us sit and introspect our thought process, as we generally assume or analyze things very easily by the drop of the hat. We never try to understand the real cause of their actions and reactions, but come to a conclusion very quickly. This book is a small step towards the practical analysis of human behavior to prepare for, and to accept the imperfections in their own ways.
My second book “Cruise of Cognizance”… A cascade of emotions is mainly based on the emotional journey of an individual. The various emotions that we experience in our daily life have a very big effect on our personality making us either strong or vulnerable. I tried to analyze and understand the journey of life through the emotional angle.
Currently, I am working on two fiction novels which are very close to my heart, “Invisible Autumn” and “Broken Bride”. The readers can expect these books very soon in the print as they are in the publishing process. The other project that I am passionately working on is my poetry book named “Song of my Soul”, which will be completed very soon.
9. What can readers expect from your reading?
A. These books will lay a beautiful track for the wandering thoughts of our day to day life, and synchronize them into a simple and analytical point of view. It is designed to put us in a positive retrospective mode, to deal with various aspects encountered in the journey of our life with a touch of human essence and empathic approach to conquering the heart and mind. As people can be our biggest asset or our biggest liability. This thought has made me structure these books to emphasize the virtues of being compassionate and considerate, rather than being obstinate and arrogant.
10.As a successful Academician, don’t you find it strenuous to balance the two fronts – writing and teaching. How do you organize your time between your duty and passion?
A. Well..when we start enjoying our work, then it becomes our delight. So in the same manner, my profession transformed into my passion, there by making me more at ease. I am an experienced academician by profession holding an experience and expertise of 24 years in teaching pre university students. This exposure has given me excellent platform to vocalize my thoughts in an perfect way thereby inculcating an interest in writing also. I can say that my teaching stint has provided me a platform to observe and analyse various people and understand their mind-sets in a better way to utilize them in my writings.
I have categorised my priorities in such a way, that passion and profession can be amicably adjusted in different time zones.
14. What are you looking forward to most on your journey as a chief mentor in Writers rescue centre?
A. WRC platform in itself is a fertile breeding ground for aspiring writers to showcase their writing skills by honing them further under the able mentorship of experienced and dynamic best selling authors. By being a part of this creative process, I can have a good interaction with many aspiring authors and can help and guide them in understanding their own abilities to emerge out as excellent authors, and at the same it will be a great learning moment for me also to learn new and novel ways of conceptual writings.
15. Last but not the least, Who is the most inspirational person who has molded your creative growth?
A. My heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Nikhil Chandwani, who made me realize that every human carries unlimited potential and is equally capable of both disseminating and gathering knowledge. His timely suggestions have been a great source of both inspiration and learning. His mentoring has inspired me to find my feet on the literary ground. I would proudly acknowledge that by his mentoring and constructive association, he has helped to groom myself into a versatile writer.
16. Where can we get your book to read Dr. Shakila?
A. My books are available on various online stores like Amazon, Flipkart, play store, Educreation bookstore etc.
Odyssey of Spirit
Cruise of cognizance
Originally published at www.latimes.com