Indira Guha Patra is doing one of the finest experiments with her work, thereby not limiting her creativity within the boundaries of a particular genre. Having authored books like ‘The Veil of Disguise,’ ‘Baby Fights Corona,’ ‘The Promise’ and ‘Chasing Dreams,’ Indira Guha Patra is all set to leave a mark in this world of literature. Her journey began in 2016 after she quit her Ph.D. In this interview, the author talks about her journey – failures, challenges, and how she overcame them.
You left Ph.D. to become an author, or you took up writing because you had dropped out of Ph.D.?
Ph.D. and my love for writing have been mutually exclusive. My passion for literature can be traced back to my ninth standard when I realized my love for writing for the first time. Why I left my Ph.D. is totally a different issue, but it was a decision well taken, for it allowed me to rediscover my passion for writing. Having dropped out of my Ph.D. I got a window to start pursuing writing as a career and becoming a professional author. Quitting the Ph.D. and taking up writing as my career has been the most satisfying decision of my life till now.
Did the career change affect you for good or bad?
Career changes are tough, but they don’t end your life; neither do they bury your dreams. I strongly believe that it’s never too late to pursue your dream. My career change affected me for good as well as for bad. Quitting my Ph.D. was easy but getting recognized as an author was not. On the one hand, I got the freedom to do what I like but was also greeted with challenges and rejections associated with it. There were economically unstable phases accompanied by social criticism. No one was ready to accept me as an author. Big publication houses didn’t even bother to reply. But I am really grateful to Olympia Publishers, London, for accepting my first manuscript and turning it into a reality. It was then Chasing Dreams happened, and since then, it has been a roller coaster ride on an adventurous path. Failures, rejections have come hand in hand with a generous amount of success, but what keeps me going as a writer is my love for writing.
What were the major obstacles you faced as a new author?
I think, for me, the entire experience of becoming an author was full of obstacles. Firstly, finding a publishing house that would have confidence in your work was a major challenge. No one is ready to risk with a newcomer. Even if the book gets published, there are issues regarding marketing and promotion. With my first novel, Chasing Dreams, I had no idea of the options and opportunities to promote my book myself. Also, I was under the notion that marketing and promotion were the sole responsibility of the publishing house, which was a great mistake on my part. With my second book, I tried self-publishing which was in itself a big challenge. Apart from the huge workload on your own shoulders, the most demoralizing part was the recognition. People didn’t treat self-published authors as true authors, which was quite demeaning. Even today, with ‘The Veil of Disguise’, the major difficulty I feel is reaching out to readers. Most of the books go unheard and unread because readers just don’t know about it. Other than that, economic instability is another least discussed issue. The royalties are seldom fulfilling, and whatever new authors receive is way less than the amount spent for marketing and promotion required to make each and every book successful.
Three things that helped you to break the wall of ice in this field?
Patience, persistence, and hard work; these three helped me a lot to break through the shackles of anonymity, and I am sure these will keep helping me to emerge as a successful author.
Which are some of the best moments in your life as an author?
The best moment with each and every book is the time I hold the published paperback version of my book in my hand. Every time it reassures me that I am an author. Other than that, when readers drop in some positive reviews, it simply feels great. Also receiving the prestigious awards like, ‘Sahityakosh Samman, 2021’, ‘Bharatiya Youth Face of India Title’, ‘R Crit 100 Author Awards’, ‘The Pride of India’ and ‘The Writer of the Year Award’, is in itself a milestone in my writing career. I am grateful to all the organizations for this honour.
What was the most negative thing you came across as an author?
I think it is the harsh criticism of people who are either too much jealous of me or they like pulling down people to their own level. At first, I find it difficult to digest, but then over the years, I have trained my mind to pulp out the best, even from the worst. So, I try to look past the negativity in their comment and try to use it as a corrective tool for my future works. But above all, I remind myself that everyone might not like my book, but that doesn’t make me any less of a good author.
Which was the most challenging time in your career as an author?
It was in the year 2018 while publishing my short story, ‘The Promise.’ Motherhood had turned my world upside down. I hardly had any time to think of the plot, write the manuscript or do anything related to my writing career. With a newborn to take care of single-handed, I remained exhausted most of the time. There was a point I thought of giving up, but then the writer within me was not at all ready to surrender. So, I had to push myself to work harder. I can never forget those tiring days, sleepless nights, crying infant, and my mind spinning innumerable tales.
What is the inspiration behind making each and every book of yours?
It is none other than my love for writing. I read a lot of books and allow my imagination to flow limitlessly. In short, I am a storyteller.
Recently, you have been awarded the ‘Pride of India Award’, how does it feel?
It feels fantastic to get honored with such a prestigious award. I am grateful to Cherrybook Awards for this token of appreciation, which is sure to take me a long way in this field of literature. They are providing an excellent platform to all the upcoming talents.
Can you give a sneak peek of your upcoming book?
Well, I can’t say much, but the book is a poetry collection having my mother, who is also a writer, as the co-author. It covers almost every aspect of life – emotions, nature, philosophy, romance, and many more.
What is your quick advice for all the struggling authors?
Please don’t give up and keep trying. As in one of my quotes, I say, – ‘Success comes to those who are tired of trying yet cannot give up.’ Do your part wholeheartedly and leave the rest on destiny.