Interview with Shashi Shukla – Redeem Yourself

Q1 What inspires you to write? Is writing every day a ritual?

If I have to answer honestly it’s major pain that inspires the poet in me. Besides that, I feel it’s the beauty of words that when they are in sync while randomly thinking into space, I just continue with it and stop only when I feel I can perform this piece in an open mic. There was a time when writing was an everyday ritual but currently due to my workload along with my studies I am not able to dedicate it as much time as I used to but I try my best to make sure I write something every few days to not lose my grip.

Q 2 Tell us more about the book. 

The core theme of this book is definitely human emotions and the turmoil one goes through during the lowest of times. I’ve dealt with anxiety in the past and a good number of poems were written during that phase. But I’ve also tried to put some glimpse of positivity towards the end of every poem so the readers realize that nothing is impossible to overcome with time.

Q 3 Do you believe that a writer needs to have strong emotions?

I won’t say one needs to have strong emotions but also, strong emotions do play a key role as Wordsworth says poetry is. Although many do not need those emotions to write about them so I feel it just depends on the process a particular creator follows and what works for whom.

Q 4 Tell us about the first book you read that made you cry.

The 1st book to make me cry has to be “Life Is What You Make It” by Preeti Shenoy Mam. It was also the 1st book I read till the end and it’s close to me because I related to the protagonist Ankita a lot. It talked about bipolar and I was going through a difficult mental health period then so probably that made me relate to it a little more. It’s still a special one for me.

Q 5 Describe a lesser-known aspect of Shashi for us.

A lesser-known aspect would be that I’m an introvert and I can be really goofy and entertaining if I am comfortable in a certain environment. The side that very few people get to see of mine is a nonserious person with the wildest imagination.

Q 6 Memorable incident while writing the book.

The one that I always remember is I was writing one of the poems one night and I was really overwhelmed for some reason so I blatantly sent the poem to my English professor at 2 in the night which was so not me. I expected a lecture on being formal and respecting their space but surprisingly my professor just laughed it off and gave a very genuine review and then this happened 2 to 3 times more and he was always the same. That was not something I’ve seen in a professional yet.

Q 7 Given the complex publishing process in India, how was your experience with us?

I was honestly scared when I began looking for publishers with a number of doubts like what if it gets rejected, what if it turns out to be some fraud company that runs away, what if nobody ever responds and many more. But, Paper Towns has been the swiftest group I could find and work with. Everybody was patient with me even when I sent delayed responses due to my work schedule and they were very cooperative and hardworking I feel. I never thought my 1st book would come this easily so I’m still surprised to see the ease. It was actually a great experience.

Q8 Are there specific messages or feelings you hope your readers take away from your story?

Surely, my major motive is that my readers relate to the work. That’s very important for me. And with that they also feel that “I went through the same or maybe I’m going through the same, but if she can be hopeful then why can’t I”. So I really want them to hold onto their hope and believe in their hard work more than destiny.

Q9 As your book is about human emotions and how they deal with them. Can you share your daily ritual for balancing your life?

Honestly, I don’t try too hard to balance anything. I like keeping things in the right order and planning my schedule such that I get a small me time there as well. Any disturbance in that schedule then puts me in problem-solving mode. So therein, I work things out the best I can and when I get my own time with myself I reflect on my day, teach myself what could’ve been done better, and pump myself up eventually because obviously, you shouldn’t have to depend on anyone else to the life you up.

Q 10 What genres or topics do you enjoy writing about the most?

I think my major forte has been writing on real-life incidents and an optimistic approach towards the challenges one faces. You could say it’s partly a self-inspired Nonfictional touch that I put into my work.