We managed to grab a quick word with Sweta Sureka, author of The Closure: Journey to My True Self, for a short interview. She discusses about her new book, The Closure, and her writing process and gives advise to budding writers to overcome the writer’s block and get published.
TBE: Tell us about your book
Sweta Sureka: The Closure – Journey to my True Self is the story of Aarti. It is a simple story of a strong woman who is realistic enough to know what she can do, is grounded enough to know when she needs a hand and is confident enough to take her life decisions without fear of being judged.
TBE: How did you get the idea of this book?
Sweta Sureka: I am a woman and married into a joint family. I have encountered many situations where aspirations, dreams and happiness of a person was not considered important only because of their gender. In fact, this is very common in Indian households. This is our reality which needs to be changed.
I wanted to tell this, but obviously in a manner in which people could relate to. So, what can be better way than conveying this in the form of a story.
TBE: Why did you choose to write on this subject?
Sweta Sureka: My real life experiences made me believe strongly that most of the women suppress their feelings, wants and desires and always put their family before them. They believe that their happiness in that of their family’s happiness. I think that needs to be changed. We are in-charge of our own life and our happiness. They need to prioritize themselves. I want to get this message across through my book.
TBE: What was your writing process for this book? What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Sweta Sureka: Once the idea got planted then I worked on the basic outline of the book. Thereafter, characters were built and worked upon. I also did some preliminary research and then started with writing. There were times when I just wrote few sentences and at times I wrote one complete chapter at a go. After lot of writing and re-writing it took the final shape.
TBE: How did you research on the subject?
Sweta Sureka: The Closure is a simple everyday tale, so it did not require intensive research. Lot of idea for the book came from my day-to-day encounters with people. I love observing people, their reaction to different situations and what makes them behave.
TBE: During your journey from the idea of this book to the publication, what was the most difficult thing you faced? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Sweta Sureka: I think it was to stick to the plot and make it interesting. With fiction it is very important to keep the readers hooked. Each chapter must have a surprise element and raise the curiosity of the readers. Also, it is very important for the fiction writers to understand that they must be able to raise the imagination of the readers with their story. I think these are the greatest challenges I faced in writing my first book.
TBE: How long did it take you to write this book?
Sweta Sureka: This is my first novel and it took me quite a long. The story line was conceived almost a year back. When I started writing, there were lot of instances when I wanted to give up and hence, couldn’t write for few days altogether. But gradually I kept myself motivated, overcame writers block and finished writing. So, yes, It took me almost 12 months to finish the book.
TBE: According to you what is the most challenging thing for budding writer? And what are common traps for them?
Sweta Sureka: For budding writers, it is very important to not just get swayed by the idea of writing a book or for that matter writing anything. It should be responsible writing because even if its fiction lot of people get influenced.
Also, they should pay a bit more attention to the language. Very often I have come across books where story gets very repetitive. So, that should be taken care of.
TBE: What marketing strategies do you find most helpful? Any resources you would recommend to other authors or aspiring authors?
Sweta Sureka: Today the entire world is connected through social media. We can make ourselves heard by so many online mediums. So, more than offline marketing, I think online marketing makes a huge impact on the readers. We can make our books visually appealing with the help of various tools. But again I think it is best to hire the professionals as they know the best.
TBE: About you, your education, achievements, profession.
Sweta Sureka: I am born and brought up in Kolkata. I am a mother to two beautiful souls. I am an Economics(hons) graduate from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Thereafter, I did Advanced Diploma in Finance from ICFAI. I am also a certified IELTS trainer.
I have always been inclined towards making a positive difference to the lives of people. In order to attain that in a systematic manner I have undergone training to be a Certified Transformational Life Coach.
The latest feather to my cap is being an author. The Closure is my first book. It is a work of fiction but it talks about real issues of women. I want to bring out the best in people, be it through my writing or my coaching.
TBE: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Sweta Sureka: Recently I have not been reading much mostly due to the post publication process of the book and my commitment as a Life coach. Being a mother also keeps me very occupied. But I read a lot of self-help books. Currently I am reading a book by Stephen R Covey. Apart from that I enjoy reading James Patterson, Dan Brown to name a few. Among Indian writers, I like Chetan Bhagat.
TBE: Do you believe in writer’s block? Have you ever experienced it? How long does it usually last? Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Sweta Sureka: Oh yes. I don’t know if you would want to call it writers block but yes, as a writer I did get stuck at some points. At times it lasted for a very short period maybe a few hours, but sometimes I came back after a few days with fresh ideas.
The best tip I think is do not give up. If we look around there are plenty of ideas and things from which we can draw inspiration. And again it is very important to do proper research on the topic on which one is writing.
TBE: In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
Sweta Sureka: For me it is definitely the subject of the book. The subject should be relatable. Also, I find the books with cover that are visually appealing easier to pick.
TBE: Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Sweta Sureka: Firstly read a lot. Read the genres you like. Then explore the other genres. Reading will teach you more than any writing course can. Secondly, write a lot. You can only be a writer by writing. Create a daily routine. Write at least 500 to 1000 words per day. Write whatever comes to your mind but write.
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