Shalini P. Sawkar is an author of crime thrillers, contemporary and fantasy fiction from Bangalore, India. She graduated as a computer science engineer and worked in the software industry for 3 years, and she now works as a full-time writer.
She has been awarded as one of the Top 100 Debut Authors of India 2018-19, by Critic space Journals for her book the ‘The Murder Of Jay Shekhar.’
Bitten by the travel bug at an early age, she has visited parts of Europe, Japan, Singapore, UAE and Mauritius along with her family.
Different cultures and seasons trigger her imagination. Her articles on lifestyle, creativity, and travel have appeared on popular blogs and media websites such as She The People.TV and The Post India.
interview with Shalini P. Sawkar
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
I’m Shalini P. Sawkar, 26 years old.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Bangalore, India.
Fiona: A little about your self (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).
I’m a computer science-engineering graduate from MSRIT. I stay with my parents, grandmother and a younger sister.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
Currently working on a few short stories.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing at the age of 10. I lost a couple of friends as a kid, and I think writing sort of helped me cope with it. Besides, as a ten year old I found it pretty cool to work on a secret project!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
15th January 2017, when my first story was published in a magazine, and I saw my words in print!
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I think the character of Jay came to me first, and I could create the rest of the tale around him.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
At first, I planned to name it—The Last Call. Later, I felt ‘The Murder Of Jay Shekhar’ was more appropriate a name for the story.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I like to add an element of surprise in my stories—like a twist in the end, or an unexpected revelation. When it comes to thrillers I think the challenging part is to make sure the punch in the scene has the right effect. If it doesn’t shock me, it wouldn’t shock anyone else. So the challenge in the process is to surprise myself.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I think every story is made of part fiction and part real life experience, and the same holds true for me as a writer. The crime scene in The Murder Of Jay Shekhar is fictional, not based on a real life incident. But, the descriptions of places Bangalore, Goa and Rajnagar are drawn from my experience.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Well, my travels do come in handy when I sit to write. For instance, I did stay at a Baroque styled golf resort in Goa and I could rely on that information while writing the book. But I wouldn’t call it essential, and I have not travelled solely for that purpose.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A talented cover design artist named Merrill Anil, whom I was introduced to by my publisher, Arup Bose.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, there is… I’ll let the readers find it. And all I can say is, ‘Do you really think you know everyone that you know?’
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I have been reading a lot of Preethi Shenoy and Novotel Chakraborty lately. The characters and stories are easily relatable, the stories are gripping and they keep me turning pages.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
Friends! Grateful to have a wonderful circle of friends who’ve been a constant source of encouragement and support in my journey as a writer.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change the existing one. But, I would add a scene.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learnt that I have more fun writing on the go, rather than extensively planning it.Also, that I can finish what I begin.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I would like Rajkumar Rao to play the role of Arjun Shekhar.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Some days are going to be tougher than others… Trust yourself, and keep moving ahead.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Thank you guys for picking up my book! I would love to know your thoughts on it. They mean a lot to me. Hence, after you give it a read, kindly drop me a message/ review.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The Huckleberry Finn, and for some reason I did not like it at all. I’m just glad I didn’t stop reading.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Books and movies can easily do that to me.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Sidney Sheldon. I loved reading his books that revolved around strong independent women in my formative years.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I like to paint sometimes, supervised by my sister.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Lucifer is my current favorite show. I’m a huge fan of Game Of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina among others.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I love anything that has cheese or chocolate in it. Color, I would say maroon. Music, any latest number.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would take up another craft—painting or dancing.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Wear a vibrant dress, travel to a place I’ve never been, eat a gourmet meal and not skip dessert, spend time with my loved ones and leave them a handwritten note…
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Alive through my stories.
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