Author Interview of Sourish Roy for Tales from Bengal.

1. Would you like to introduce yourself to your readers?

Reply: Why not…!!! Hello once again to all, especially those who have already read my book TALES FROM BENGAL. And of course, would like to request those who haven’t gone through it as yet.

2. Well, before I ask you any other question, I would like to know about your calling in writing?

Reply: I can’t remember exactly when I started writing. But yes, most probably it was the eighth standard when I got my first ever submission for the school magazine published. But the thought of getting my own book published occurred to me when one essay of mine concerned with the educational issues prevalent in India got published along with those of some eminent professors of West Bengal. And thus, began my journey with fictionalized composition.

3. If not writing books, how would you express your creativity?

Reply: It could have been through my painting or music, my guitar. Or, could have been a cricket umpire, had I not engaged myself in writing.

4. Wait, wait. Did you say cricket umpiring?

Reply: Yeah. Really, I used to officiate games at the junior and district levels. Could have gone further. But just then got appointed to the post of assistant teacher in a high school. And that was it with umpiring.

5. Ok. Now back to your book. What did you learn while writing this book?

Reply: So many things…! First and the foremost would be the fact that only plot and characters can’t help build up a story for the author. He himself has to be an integral part of it by getting involved in the settings or situations he is describing or explaining. The easiest way to do this is by visiting the scenes or backdrops he has decided to use for his purpose. He has to feel the situations with his own senses. Remember one thing, a story is not a mere conglomeration of words, rather a medium of presenting what the author thinks about a certain happening in life. So, it’s obvious that the depiction has to be full of life in it. To me, a story always has to be real, and I stick to this principle of mine. Visiting the workshops of the blacksmiths of the countryside is just one of such real things that I did while composing the story ‘Iron Irony’. In another case, I had to take note of every single detail of the behavioural traits of the stray mentally impaired persons when I had Manglu in my mind for the story ‘The Abstainer’.

6. All the stories written by you are extremely sensitive, picked from real-life yet unique. Are these stories entirely fictional or inspired from real life?

Reply: As I’ve already told you I just wanted my stories to seem real in every sense, the plots had to belong to real life. ‘Absolution’ can relate to any uneducated youth lacking proper knowledge of life. While Subal and Seema of ‘Anomaly’ are just the ones running for safety and security in life. Similarly, ‘The Abstainer’ is anyone among us without a goal in life. And of course, all the stories are drawn from the real-life experiences. The housemaid, the rickshaw-walla, the fake doctor forging an identity, all of them are real characters.

7. How do you select your characters and build them?

Reply: That I have already told you. Actually, I myself believe that the plot comes first. Then the characters. It’s true to all the stories of TALES FROM BENGAL too. First, I try and find my resources, the plots. Sometimes, two or three small plots shape up a combined larger plot. Once I am ready with the plot, I start developing it by adding characters to it.

8. Do you think a writer should have a signature writing style or should he keep experimenting with it? And why do you think so?

Reply: As for me, I do not follow any such notion. In TALES FROM BENGAL too I tried my best to keep the narrative techniques as much unique as possible. I believe typicality pushes one author into certain kind of shell that sometimes is really very hard to get over. Even in my upcoming book that also will include Bengal as one of the twin topics alongside the issues related to current trends of women psyche, I’ve tried to maintain that very aspect. Even the diction will vary from story to story. I also prefer experimentation to some extent.

9. What is your go-to genre?

Reply: Of course, short stories. I could have said that even in my dreams.

10. What is that thing about yourself that surprises you the most?

Reply: Yet to think about it this way.

11. As you’ve mentioned that your new book too is going to focus on Bengal, would you like to how it’s going to be different from TALES FROM BENGAL?

Reply: The prominent factor of the upcoming book is that it’s not going to discuss on not only Bengal but also will cast light upon the feminine psychology and the pertinent issues. Another difference would be it’s not going to be any ‘look-back-into-past’ sort of a book. I will discuss the current generation Bengal. Its politics, its intellectualism, its love, its sensuality, its trickery, and all. And of course, when you are to discuss love, affection, deceit, and repentance in your stories, won’t you include the shades of feminism in them? I think anybody would do that.

12. Any message for your readers?

Reply: I would only say: keep reading, keep learning to start writing.

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