Stitch here, kicking off the new year:
Today I have an author interview with Antara Man, let’s go and meet her:
When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?
I consciously decided to be an author when I was nine years old. I started writing at the age of seven but when I was nine I felt my calling was to be a story teller. There is an anecdote from my life that I always remember when I go back to these days. One day, back when I was a kid, I was in class and our teacher gave us the task to write on a piece of paper what we wanted to become when we grew up. One of my schoolmates suggested that we should write down that we didn’t want to grow up; that we wanted to remain what we were then. She was urging me heavily to do it but what I wrote on my piece of paper was “I want to become a writer”. I knew I was already one. The teacher explained to us she was collecting all those paper pieces so that if one day she saw any of us and asked “What have you become?”, she would be able to show us our answers.
For me, being an author essentially means to be able to craft and tell compelling stories. Regardless of whether one writes fiction or nonfiction, everything comes down to this very point – the story. In order for one to tell interesting, unique and controversial stories, one has to gain a lot of experience, to travel, to change cultures and explore new horizons. Maybe my adventurous spirit is influenced by that and it explains my constant desire for change.
The great thing about being a writer is you don’t have to grow up!
Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:
My first (yet) published work is The Wishing Coin – a fairy tale/fantasy novella. The idea for it came one early morning when I was heading to work. Looking out the bus window, I saw a female TV reporter and two cameramen waiting to begin a live broadcast. The TV reporter was discussing something with the cameramen.
The revelation hit me: “I will write a short story about a TV reporter. She will work at Good Morning America (Later I changed it to Good Morning USA to avoid legal issues) and she will be struggling to get more screen time.”
As the day went on, I came up with some more: She’ll fail to be promoted to have her own TV show, and her ex will start dating the rival reporter who stole her slot. I began with the first tragedy following the famous three-act tragedy structure. I didn’t have the whole story outlined yet, but I had something better — the energy that would let me write and finish the story. Later that night I came up with more scenes. The TV reporter would meet a strange vendor who’d sell wishing coins on the street. The protagonist would buy the most powerful one; the one that fulfils all wishes, no matter what they are. My idea was to present three different pictures: in the first, the protagonist is unhappy; in the second, she has everything she wishes for — the dream job, the wonderful boyfriend, etc; and in the last, her desire for control and power corrupts her. The character’s wishes have a harmful effect on the people around her and she regrets that she bought the coin.
I have read The Wishing Coin and there will be a review soon.
What are your future aspirations as an author?
I am in the final stage of editing my second novella, a time-travel fantasy which I am going to release quite soon. Right now I am writing a physiological thriller and I’ve developed a very good plot for a dystopian young adult sci-fi novel. Of course, one of my highest priorities is publishing Alice in Sinland – a 95 k word novel which I wrote a year ago. I intend to publish it by the end of 2015.
We wish you all the best for that adventure.
Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?
I have always wondered about it myself. Ever since I was seven, the ideas I receive have come as a form of revelation. The inspirational moment is like a flash of creative impulse. For a few seconds, I see the story unrolling in front of my eyes like scenes in a movie. It grabs all my attention and my mind becomes one-pointed. I think creativity comes from the subconscious and unconscious levels of our existence and that’s how the works of artists capture the minds of millions of people. Unfortunately, we are often unable to receive inspiration from our own powerhouse (the deeper layers of our mind) because we are entangled in materialism.
A long time ago , I overheard someone ask my Guru: “Are artists yogis?”
He answered that artists must have been yogis in their previous lives, because the ideas they receive come to them as revelations. He added that though it’s not always the case, quite often this is how the works of many great artists were revealed to them.
What do you do to improve yourself as a writer?
I will quote Stephan King: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Reading a lot of fiction, especially in the genres you like, and putting the words out on paper or in whatever software you use, is preliminary and compulsory. With reading you expand your horizons, identify different styles and connect with authors. The other thing that helps me a lot is editing and “killing my darlings”, like Bob Cooper once said. He advises authors to look at every word in a sentence and decide if they really need it. To be ruthless is a great technique; actually, it’s mandatory. No one has extra time for you anymore. If you don’t hook the reader right from the start, chances are that they won’t read any further.
Reading and writing are essential to all writers.
What inspires you to write?
I want to tell compelling stories, to make people think about good and evil, about brutality and kindness etc.
Where can people contact you?
At my website: www.antaraman.com, on Twitter @Antara_Man or alternatively on Facebook.
Did you publish with a traditional publishing house or did you go the indie route?
Indie all the way!
What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?
I stay off the Internet. I unplug the Wi-Fi router and then I am able to focus on my writing.
Excellent way to avoid distractions.
For other authors who may be struggling what advice can you on handling rejection?
Everybody is initially rejected. J.K. Rowling was even rejected 13 times! Traditional publishers are called “gate keepers” for a reason. One way to skip that is to publish your book(s) independently but be prepared and read Write Publish Repeat before you opt for the indie road.
Some great advice. Thanks for joining us here are Stitch Says. There will be a review of The Wishing Coin soon, until then, keep reading, keep writing!