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Interview with Manali Debroy

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself?
A. I am a banker, a writer, and a sketch artist. I love penning down all the memories, and any heard stories from strangers or friends in my journal. I believe life is too short to wait for the right opportunity, hence, follow your passion and knock the door of opportunity rather than waiting for it to arrive at your doorstep. And yes, you can don multiple hats at the same time, so shut the mouths who say be good at one thing.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you soon? Any new project you’re working on?
A. So, I have two projects in my mind. You would think I am mad, as both the ideas are totally contradictory. One is a love story, and the other a mystery novel. I am yet to start. But I hope it will see the light of the day sometime next year.

Q.3 Where do you get your ideas?
A. It depends. Mostly, by observing my surroundings - people, environment, situations, behavior in particular circumstances, etc. Movies and books also inspire me a lot when it comes to plowing some ideas, as I am a book worm.

Q.4 What advice do you have for writers?
A. I am just two books old, what can I say. The only thing I would say is that never give up on your dreams and passion. Follow your heart and write down everything that comes to your mind. When you read them later and can instantly relate to them, then do not ignore the sign. Your inner voice and the universe has a message for you to write and publish. Do exactly that and let go of the inhibitions.

Q.5 How do you come up with the name of this book?
A. It was just a very silly incident. I was thinking about the book’s name and couldn’t come to terms with any suitable title. As they are all human memories, it was clear to me that the title should speak about something ‘precious’ - any good or bad memory, is still unforgettable to us - since they teach something. My husband bought me a marigold plant for the house garden, and voila, the flower just screamed its name to me so loudly that I could only think of golden memories, hence the title.

Q.6 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A. Believe in yourself.

Q.7 What are the most important magazines or websites for writers to subscribe to?
A. An author learning center is a good website to subscribe. Digital versions of The Post India, TOI, etc. provides good articles from different writers, that is rich in learning for writers to understand writing styles and anatomy of a write-up.

Q.8 What is the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
A. The feelings, and exactly those. Many times we misjudge the opposite gender’s decisions, by what we have perceived at that moment, rather than what actually was going on in their minds. That’s why when you are developing strong characters of the opposite sex, it will be most advisable to understand the opposite gender completely, without any judgment from your side. For me, it becomes slightly easy, because I have more male friends than females.

Q.9 How do you select the names of your characters?
A. It is a memory recall most of the times and sometimes it is a just a fit to the character that plays in my mind when I write.

Q.10 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A. I most definitely read my book reviews, as they help me understand if I was able to put across my thinking to the readers. Good or bad, they always teach me more than I could imagine. Criticism means that I have definitely done something and I am someone to be talked about. As said by Aristotle 'There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.'

Q.11 Does your family supports your career as a writer?
A. Yes, they have always been supportive of my choices.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block?
A. Oh! Yes yes! Who doesn’t? If a writer tells me he or she never had a writer’s block, then I doubt what exactly are they writing. Naturally, a writer has a block of thoughts - daily shenanigans, just a bad day with brains completely numb, lazy day, articulation issue, not happy with the turn of the story for the character (s), etc. And a writer’s block actually means that there is a lot of thinking and a lot of imaginations involved while drafting a novel or storybook.

Q.13 Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
A. Let’s say it brings me peace and happiness. When I write, I feel like home. Like, this is the thing I was meant to do always.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. Not really. Just one that, I want absolute solitude. I lock myself in a room and write. Any kind of disturbance and human interference just jerks me off the storyline.

Q.15 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
A. Nothing as of yet. But I hope to write a passionate, yet unique romantic novel. I feel writing romance is more difficult than any genre. Not just the skin and mind, but the real essence of a romance between two souls. It is very difficult to just put those feelings on paper, but I hope to accomplish that one day.

Q.16 What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
A. Copying work without giving the writer any credit. People steal ideas very easily, and I feel they just not harm intellectual property, but also disrespect fellow writers and the whole writing profession as a whole.

Q.17 Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A. My publisher, Partridge helped me in editing. Since they are a Penguin company, I did put my trust and faith in them.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. Oh, most definitely Jane Austen. Emma and Pride & Prejudice are classics for me.

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. Emma. The way a woman is described there with all the potentials of right and wrong that she can do, is so much commendable and real.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. I can say that my journey has just started, and I am looking forward to all the twists and turns, that would lead me to destiny. As I say, never give up, and I will never give up on my love 'writing’.

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