Artists create from the depths of their souls. An artist is moved by the spirit. I know who I am, and I know the power that moves me to create. -The Carpenter by Jon Gordon
As much as we authors like to deny it, we inevitably embed a part of our soul in our books. We create works that matter to us in the hopes that others will resonate with the underlying themes and messages of our stories.
Whilst your average reader might pick up a work of fiction and think, ‘Oh, it was just a story’ – we writers know, that it’s never just a story. You are encountering someone’s soul embedded in the words of once-empty pages.
I first connected with fellow writer Sanchari Das over a book review of The Little Light. I was so moved by her review that I asked her to work with me. No one can understand another writer’s work quite like another writer. We know that there is a spirit that moves us to create from the depths of our soul.
Ever since I found myself dealing with the commercial side of publishing, I’ve maintained a more detached stance towards my work. It’s hard to maintain the aloofness that’s necessary for business dealings when you’re emotionally too close to your writing.
But is it possible to remain detached when you’ve poured your heart out on a page?
I have a chat with Sanchari Das about her thoughts on the writing process.
Q: In our last interview together, you said that authors hide a part of themselves in their books. Why do you think that is?
A: Well, I feel no matter how hard the author tries to depersonalise themselves while writing something, yet a part of them seeps into the story. Time and again their authorial voice peeps into the tale.
One cannot simply write an engaging book on something they themselves don’t believe in.
And while writing about something which the author deeply believes in, a part of the writer is bound to find a place in the story. That’s natural, and that’s necessary too in order to sound authentic.
Q: Why do you love searching for those traces in an author’s book?
A: Simple, because that’s something which connects me more to the author. I feel as if I can understand them better and fathom every tiny lesson or moral that they are trying to convey to the readers through their story.
Deep down, the author too writes with a similar intention of connecting to their readers to pass a message that they will remember for a long time.
Q: Yesterday, I went to a music gig and the singer said that she relives old experiences through her own music. I was surprised by that statement. I’m a fiction writer and although I am proud of my work – I do feel a sense of detachment from books I publish. My work does not belong to me, but to my readers who breathe new life into it by the power of their imagination. What are your thoughts on the two different philosophies towards the creative endeavour?
A: I think a perfect combination of both is required. If the writer becomes too much obsessed with their own work then they won’t be able to take anything positive from the readers’ perspective. Similarly, if the writer put too much emphasis on readers’ views, then their own approach towards the topic will be lost. So, I feel that the writer needs to believe in their own work first and then leave it to the readers to breathe in new life.
Q: As an author yourself, what parts of yourself do you hide in plain sight in your work?
A: Most of the times I write or create characters to be my alter ego and do certain things which I want to do in my life, but the circumstances don’t allow me to do it. Sometimes that is what inspires me to write a story in the first place: to create a character who would do something which I want to do but will never be able to muster the courage to do it. It’s like I want to do a task, but I don’t know how to do it or what the consequences will be if I do it, and yet I cannot rest until I have accomplished the task, so what I do is I create a character who is exactly my replica and I make her do the work for me in the story.
People who know me and have read my novel are of the opinion that the thoughts, opinions and perspective of the protagonist as well as the way she talks is very similar to me. So, it’s like knowing the “Anamika” of “Not Just a Love Story” is knowing that hidden character of Sanchari that lies deep within.
Q: And on that note, I must ask – now that we’ve had the chance to know each other personally… Are there any ‘hidden secrets’ you’ve discovered about me from reading my novel The Little Light?
A: Well, one thing that I discovered is definitely the depth of your knowledge depicted through the themes that encompass your book. I also felt that you might be someone who have a deeper understanding of the human mind and experience, someone who is a believer in spirituality, someone with a lot of positive energy and someone who truly believes in hard work.
Somewhere deep down I felt you are a little inclined towards Pisceans because of the deep analysis of the characteristics of pieces that completely matched with me – and that’s exactly where I felt more connected to the book and to you, of course!
It is only later that I discovered to my greatest surprise that you are a Piscean too.
About Sanchari Das:
Hailing from the city of joy, Kolkata, Sanchari Das has contributed to multiple anthologies besides publishing her book of poetry, “Leisure“, along with her debut novel, “Not Just a Love Story“. She aspires to become a great author someday and inspire millions of readers through her writing. She loves writing articles, book reviews, travelogues and interviews on her blog. Apart from reading and writing, she also loves to paint, dance and travel, and feels an intimate connection with music.