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Knowing A Bondage with Freedom’s Author Sakshi

About the Author: Sakshi Arya is an engineer turned author, who has just written her first novella— A Bondage with Freedom— and intends to come up with many more. She is currently pursuing a course on ‘TV Fiction Screenplay Writing’ at Film and Television Institute of India, Pune. She lives in New Delhi with her mother, an increasing lifetime collection of books and numerous incomplete paintings.

Q.1 What inspired you to start writing?

Ans.  Being a very studious but introverted child, writing for me was a need that I’d envisaged as a youngster. Sure, it didn’t come for long— because of our societal principles of growing up to be ‘practical’ and opt for a very ‘productive’ career— but I wrote a lot of journals and mini-stories as a schoolgirl. They didn’t go very far from my heart ever. I was raised to be both, imaginative and practical. Later life, though, couldn’t hold much of practicality and fell to the needs of being more imaginative. So, imagination and a need to rule out the harsh realities of this practical world pushed and inspired me to write. It might not be so for everyone, but for me, it was a very brave decision.

Q2.  What inspired you to write “A Bondage with Freedom”?

Ans.  In one word— Life.

It might sound very dramatic, but what’s a writer without a little drama. (pun intended)

But really, the baking glory of life around me and life, in general, told me that while there’s a lot of goodness in the world, there’s also wrong. And that wrong needs to be documented. Someone needs to be the voice, and I decided why not me! A person can be everything but should also be a source if they can be. And before I move on to writing other genres, I wanted to become this source. I feel this pain that people go through, and want to bring it out through stories.

Q3.  Can you tell us more about “A Bondage with Freedom”?

Ans. ‘A Bondage with Freedom’ is an enthralling story of two forgotten women, Shahzeen and Rafia, who meet in a prison, both criminals but ages apart from one another, with only one similarity: both have been unloved and stranded by everyone throughout their lives. Their longing for companionship and comfort of having a family, inclines them towards one another, revealing the pain and harshness of the bitter-sweet lives they had lived. And as their association develops and deepens, they find themselves trapped within a series of greed, devastation, and conspiracies, where one has to risk her life to keep the other safe.

Q4.  How did you come up with the idea of writing this book?

Ans.  A Bondage with Freedom— a book unknown and a story yet to reach many more lives— it is the closest thing to me. When I was working as an IT Professional, I moved to different cities— Mumbai, Hyderabad, before coming back to Delhi. And this journey made me come across difficulties our women were going through. Something that I thought was going only around my own surrounding, was actually the story in nearly every other section of our country—one way or another. While the idea behind the story originated from my very own surroundings, my own family; it came around as a very strong vibe. I just had to pen down everything I felt. And that became ‘A Bondage with Freedom’. I wrote it to free myself of this cause, but I feel it still binds me somewhere, always will. And there’s a lot more I need to do, more than just this one story and a few thousand words, to bring justice to those whose story collides with mine.

Q5.  What did you do to promote and market your book?

Ans. Marketing and Promoting a book is a very laborious task, requires a lot of attention. I’ve been a social media ‘glue’, quite literally— in the initial days when my book was published, I kept putting it out on platforms like Instagram and Facebook; sharing Amazon and Flipkart links with friends and family. But this never looked as too much of an effort, because I found comfort alongside understanding and a great friendship in Raindrops Publishers; who provided me with a platform and set up an easy path for me to walk by sharing all the labour— from publishing to promotions to marketing. I’m sure both of us learned a lot in the process.

Q6. What type of genres did you read as a child?

Ans. First choice, as a child and even now— Fairytales and Classics.

My mother inculcated me with a reading habit from a very young age, and school further played a major role. Because I was always a scholar, I received several books as Prizes (which included a lot of Nancy Drew’s and Sweet High Valley’s). And I’ve cherish each of them! I read all and everything that I got my hands on. What started with fairytales further shifted to genres such as ‘crime’, ‘dark humour’, ‘sci-fi’ and much more.

Q7.  Who are your favourite authors and poets?

Ans.  My first and foremost love lies for Charles Dickens, W.B. Yeats, and Leo Tolstoy. They’ve absolutely polluted my mind, ever since I first read them, and it won’t be wrong to say I wanted to become an author to someday be able to write even one percent as good as these masters! Aside these classic writers, I cherish a lot of modern-day writers as well. To name a few—Sylvia Plath, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Tayari Jones, Elena Ferrante, Nikita Gill, Rupi Kaur, Michael Ondaatje. And the list is endlessly huge, that’s how much I enjoy reading!

Q8. Are you writing a new book? Can you tell us what it is about?

Ans. I wouldn’t say I am writing a proper book, but a collection of short stories more so. This one is for young readers but is also dedicated to the child within each of us who’ve grown up to be facing a harsher and less imaginative world. I’ve just begun writing, not even halfway. But I’m going to come up with a title soon. Meanwhile, I’m also processing a story in my mind, which is only a blur right now. In fact, I’m not even going to write it anytime soon, because I want it to be formulated with a lot more affection and care. I don’t want to become one of those writers who complete a book per year or so. I sure want to continue writing and write every single day, but when it comes to bringing out stories I want them to be very qualitative.

Q9.  What would you like to say to the aspiring writers?

Ans. I’m not a very advisory person, because I believe in having a lot of faith in self opinions. And this exact thing will be the only piece of advise I’d give anyone— if you have a vision, don’t let any hindrance deter you. Keep moving, and keep writing with all your heart— it knows the way. (And the point where your heart will exceed its boundaries, editors will play their role!) But really, before trying to please anyone else, let your work//your writings, please you.

Q10.  How much time do you give for writing?

Ans. This in ways is a very difficult question for me and makes me really anxious as I answer. While I’ve given from 10-12 hours for wiring in a day; there have also been very low and demotivating times when I’ve written only but a single line. But my commitment has been ‘never to stop and just keep writing, even if it’s a single word that pops in my head all day’. I just make sure I write something, everyday!

Q11.  How long did it take you to finish writing ‘A Bondage with Freedom’?

Ans.  A story, characters, and life which kept weaving in my head for about 6 to 8 months, finally took me 15 days to get inked/typed on paper. I experienced a lot of sleepless emotional trauma in those days, but it was a beautiful journey— Shahzeen, Rafia and I; with their lives and stories; locked in a single room altogether. My confidant, publisher, and friend, Bernard Dsa, kept telling me to let go of the story and let it fly to the world; and while it’s been over a year now, I feel our—my book and I— journey is still incomplete somewhere.

Q12.  What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?

Ans.  The greatest challenge was to overcome a flood of emotions and lack of exposure to the world of writing, finding agents, publishers and reaching audiences. I wouldn’t say all of them got resolved, but sure I found help and companionship in Raindrop Publishers.

Furthermore, I think being the first time writing a proper book, it sure demanded a lot more than I had imagined. While I loved the process, there was no one to guide me on the mistakes that I was making. I knew I had to write, but it lacked direction. Now I make sure to correct myself every now and then, by being a self-critic most of all.

Q13.  What is your experience with publishing your book?

Ans.  For any author, it doesn’t end at writing. And if you don’t have an agent, the path is somewhat rocky ahead. After having written the book, I sent the manuscript to all the best of Publishing Houses— Penguin, Rupa, Hachette, Harper Collins— Like you literally name them and I would have sent it there. But to my dismay none replied. And while I might risk sounding negative here, but the reality of this fact really lies that writing as a talent is very underrated. I’m of the view that publishing houses, as popular as they get, seek controversies and background to the author rather encouraging newbies. And consider it blaming this system— it undoubtedly makes it extremely difficult for novice authors to get recognition and voice. When I was nearly on the verge of giving up, with no response from anyone, a writer friend recommended Raindrops and everything changed from there! I sent over my manuscript which they liked— for a very different story— and provided me a platform for sending my words out to the world. Now I’m literally looking up to more responses from the audiences. I hope there’d be a change further on.

Get A Bondage with Freedom on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XOSSND

You can reach her on Instagram: @sakshiaryaa

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