Name: Vijaya Gowrisankar
Where are you from: Mumbai, India
A little about your self `ie your education Family life, etc.
I was born and brought up in Kolkata, India. I have completed my Masters in Computer. I am a Software Engineer by profession.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I am working on my fourth book of poems, Savour. It is scheduled for release by April end.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing in school. I had undergone a surgery and was fighting its after effects, in terms of speech impediment. I discovered the power of pen and magic of words. It was easier to write and express my feelings. I began writing in my secret diary. My diary knew all my emotions.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
In school, we used to have various competitions. Often, students would give their names for extempore, debate, quiz, etc. There were hardly any names for writing. My Hindi teacher was instrumental in getting me to register for the writing events. It began with school, extended to inter-school competitions, then to radio, etc. The words left their mark, and it became my identity. People did not have to know me to feel the essence of my words. It was a different feeling.
I never considered myself as a writer. I just let myself flow with the power of words. They direct me to write.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
After school, writing took a backseat. It sort of disappeared from my life, as I pursued my higher studies, career, and focused on personal life. I would write occasionally. In June 2014, the waves of words overwhelmed me, once again. I went with the flow. I was writing one, two, up to five poems a day. When I read my work, I could not believe I was writing it. I was in awe of what was happening.
By October end, I had around hundred and fifty poems that I had written. I was travelling on November 1st when I decided I wanted to publish my first book. The book would have the poems that I felt were good. That seed culminated into my first book being published on December 14, 2014.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I just write what my heart tells me. The words just seem to flow.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
For my first three books, the title just fell into place. When I would think of my book, the title would just come to mind, and it would stick there. Inspire, Reflect and Explore titles came into existence in this manner.
For Savour, I was thinking of another title first. But as the book came into being, I was looking for a word that would leave its flavor, long after I had closed the book. So Savour came into being.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I write poems. Each poem allows the reader to relate to it, in his/her own space. The interpretation is on the reader. For example, when I write about See-Saw (a poem in Reflect), there is a story in the poem, but each reader recalls his/her own experience with the See-Saw, and relives it. That is the beauty of poetry.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Each poem is a story. It is an experience, or an event, or human emotions. It is interspersed with nature. It is realistic.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I am an avid reader. More than books, it is the words, sentences, emotions in the way they are expressed that influence me. Stories that leave me thinking of them. Poems that keep playing in my mind, long after I have closed the book. Same is with music, movies, art, sculpture, etc.
Poets who have influenced me include William Wordsworth, Rudyard Kipling, Rabindranath Tagore, Sarojini Naidu, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, to name a few.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
When I was a child, Enid Blyton was my favorite.
Again, it is more to do with books, rather than authors. Chicken Soup for the Soul series, You can win by Shiv Khera, Robin Sharma’s books, scenes from fiction books that evoke strong responses – all of these affect me.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Dr. Karunesh Kumar Agrawal, from my publisher Cyberwit.net
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I rather see it as a passion. I believe ‘Creative wings have the power to change the world’. It has changed my world.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My latest book is a collaboration where Art meets Poetry. I would love to get more artists to contribute their work and help them unite both mediums of expressions.
I would have loved to include more work from MFPA (Mouth and Foot Painting artists).
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
My writing originated because it was easier to write. It gave me the freedom of expression. It freed me when I was at my lowest in life.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Savour is a book of ekphrastic poetry. Artists have contributed their paintings, and I have written poem for each painting/photograph. In this process, I have learnt and used 20 forms of poetry in this book.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The most challenging thing in writing is letting go, when my thoughts are in turmoil or I am facing a lull period.
The most challenging thing after a book is published is marketing.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet, and it is by choice. I will get there someday. Currently all my books travel through my readers.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Inspire, Reflect, and Savour have been designed by my publisher Cyberwit.net. In Reflect, we have used the painting of Mary Ellen Golden. Explore is designed by artist Arunabha Sengupta.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I don’t start out as writing a book. Book is a by-product. Writing good poetry has always been my focus. Yes, I aim to provide different content to my reader in each book. I often think, “Why should a reader buy this book? What is different in it?”
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt to focus, be disciplined, believe in myself and keep faith in the power of the Supreme. I believe there is some guiding force that is directing me. I learnt to accept failures, be open to critique, follow my heart and passion. I learnt to accept negative reactions and yet, stick to what I want to achieve.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?
Given my books are poetry, I would like a film to be made on the creative person and the journey of creative process. Yes, I finished my first novel “Unlikely Friendships” in November 2016 as a part of NaNoWriMo. I am not sure who should play the lead.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Follow your inner voice. Creative wings have the power to change the world.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Embrace the magic of poetry. I hope you feel the magic when you read my work – the same magic that I felt while writing it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Currently, I am reading and reviewing an unpublished book.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first author I read and admired was Enid Blyton. I read all her books available in the library.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh/smile when I see children playing, birds chirping, and breeze touching me. I cry when I read emotional scenes, when I feel the pain of the character, and when I see people in pain.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
I would love to meet Rani Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi, whose bravery I admire.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Follow your heart.
Often, we get bogged down by expectations, weight of disappointments, fears and don’t follow our heart.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
Reading – give me books and I can spend days with them.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I am not into watching TV/films.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Favorite food is ice cream, color is blue, and music is any song in which lyrics and melody dominate.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Being a writer in a part of me. If I were not a writer, I would have missed out on the joy of writing.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My website is https://vijayagowrisankar.wordpress.com/
Links of books –
Savour – yet to be released. I have attached the FB page – https://www.facebook.com/Savour-400260683688367/
Facebook author page – https://www.facebook.com/Vijaya-Gowrisankar-865437770243338/
Amazon author page – https://www.amazon.com/Vijaya-Gowrisankar/e/B071CGBYHR