Once in a while you come across a book that has the power to pierce through your heart. A Monster Calls is one such book. Written by Patrick Ness, it is a story about a young boy with an ailing mother at home. It covers a range of somewhat difficult topics ranging from death to guilt.
Mamta Kashyap : I write to be read
Share this with your loved one
Mamta Kashyap identifies herself as a mother and a writer. She has been blogging for many years now and has published her first novel ‘An Unusual Honeymoon.’ She weaves stories that connect with her readers. Here’s an insightful conversation with her about books, writing and more.
Writing – for myself and for an audience
‘Who are you?’ – I always get tongue tied when I am asked this. Honestly, this is such a difficult question. I always go silent and gather my thoughts whenever someone asks me to introduce myself, I am just a person, who dreams. I have always wanted to write and then life took over. I am my son’s mom, first and foremost. But if I want him to do better in life, I have to do better for myself too. I am more, I am his mother, but I am Mamta too. That is why I started to take action towards my dreams and started writing. Something, just for me.
Of course, whoever writes including me, they write for an audience, for validity, to express themselves and to get heard (read), So, that is why I write, so that someone out there will read my book or my stories and feel something, joy, anger, or they may even scoff at me, I do not mind – as long as they read my stories. I write to be read.”
I am an impromptu writer
There are writers who attempt to write something every day like a ritual and then there are others that wait for the spark. Mamta believes she’s of the latter type.
“There are no rituals for writing – an idea strikes, I start and once I start, it just flows. The problem is ideas, they do not always come readily! I just started writing ‘An Unusual Honeymoon’ and I didn’t even know how it would end.
Yes, ideally, I think I should write at least one page daily, but I make do with writing something at least once a week – if there is no story in my mind, I write a review of the book I am currently reading or an anecdote about my son or of my childhood. Anything.”
‘An Unusual Honeymoon’ – The story chose me
Mamta’s debut novel is more than just a story – it is a rollercoaster of emotions in relationships. We asked why she wrote this particular story and what inspired her.
“All of us have a Mahasweta in our hearts – scared, doubtful, anxious and with all this, in spite of all this, brave, courageous and strong. This is a romantic comedy, a chick flick with an ‘absurd’ setting, but it’s so much more than that. I personally love Mahasweta, not because I wrote her, but because I identify with her and because I have been told that many others do too.
I don’t know why I wrote this, I just did, one page after the other, it’s like I was just the medium.”
There is a Mahasweta in each one of us
Mamta feels that the key protagonists in her novel are as different as chalk and cheese. The book is light-hearted and will make readers smile – a rare capability in these tough times.
“Rahul is a fantasy character, he is too good to be true, too filmy, too handsome to even exist. Mahasweta, on the other hand, is real. She is there in all of us – men or women.
I think times are tough, with Covid, everywhere we see, everywhere we turn – it is all around us – death and despair. In times like this, a break is needed, a book which can make you smile, which can bring a relief, is that break. You should read ‘An Unusual Honeymoon’ because it will give you that break.”
Balancing writing with life
On being asked if she had a full time job besides writing, Mamta stated that taking care of her son is her first job.
“I am a mother, I am busy 24×7, my son is seven years old and is on the autism spectrum, he is my first and foremost job, he is my life and he will always be. It doesn’t mean that writing is secondary, it just means that it takes a back seat, because some things are more important in life.”
From reading Ruskin Bond to Munshi Premchand
‘’The more we read, the less we know, and the more we want to read.’ – That’s beautifully stated by Mamta when we asked her about her inspiration in writing.
“Stating that any author is my favorite would be wrong. From Ruskin Bond to William Dalrymple, Jane Austen to Margaret Mitchell, JKR (only for her writing skills and not her opinions) to Sidney Sheldon, Premchand to Mannu Bhandari, Mahasweta Devi to Dushyant Kumar – they are what guide me, teach me and make me want to learn more.”
Read more if you wish to write well
Here are a few pearls of wisdom from Mamta, who has been writing for years now.
“If you want to write, then read and read good, quality books, look at what and how they are writing, and their research methods. Learn from them. Read, read and read more.”
On editing and its utmost importance to writers
Are you a writer who has just completed his manuscript? Here are a few tips from Mamta Kashyap and editing and later stages of writing a book.
“Editing matters, and style matters. You cannot afford to go wrong on these fronts. Please hire a good developmental editor if you want to make your work readable and while self-publishing, make sure that your book is formatted and styled in an aesthetic way, look at other books, see what is acceptable, do your research, work hard. Story writing doesn’t end with just writing your story, it involves more – consistency in font style, size, spacing, and other details like those is as important.”
Share this with your loved one
They say that sometimes the journey is more interesting than the destination. This couldn’t have been truer for Buddha. The world today knows him as