Neelam Saxena Chandra is an Engineering graduate from VNIT and has done her Post Graduation Diploma in IM&HRD and also in Finance. She has completed a course in Finance from London School of Economics. She works as General Manager (Systems) in Pune Metro, and is well known as an author/poet/novelist/children’s writer. She writes on a variety of topics, ranging from social issues to motivational stories/poems.
She has authored 4 novels, 1 novella and 5 short story collections, 29 poetry collections and 11 children’s books to her credit. More than 800 of her stories/poems have been published in various national/international journals/magazines/anthologies such as Balbharti, Nandan, Champak, Chandamama, Suman Saurabh, Kathakram, Alive, SAARC collection, British Council anthologies (SAMPAD), Sarita, Grihshobha, Chandamama, Woman’s Era, Naya Gyanoday, Dainik Bhaskar, Chicken Soup series etc. Several stories and poems have been transmitted by Akashwani Delhi, Akashwani Lucknow and Akashwani Pune. She has been invited by various bodies such as Sahitya Akademi, SAARC literary fest etc to recite her poems. Her interviews have been telecast by DD 1/ DD Bharati, Marwah Studios, Akashwani (Delhi), Radio Noida, etc. Her interviews and book reviews have also appeared in various national newspapers such as The Hindu, Millenium Post, Dainik Bhaskar, Kadambini, Amar Ujala, Dainik Jagran, Sunday Standard, New Indian Express, Statesman, Navoday Times etc.
She is a bilingual writer; writing in English and Hindi. She holds two records with the Limca Book of Records -2015 for being the Author having the highest number of publications in a year in English and Hindi and for her daughter and she being the first mother-daughter duo to write a book. She also holds a record with Limca Book of Records 2017 with her sister Nikita for being the first pair of sisters to write a book. She has won II prize in a poetry contest organized by American Embassy and in a National poetry contest organized by Poetry Council of India, 2016. She has received Humanity International Women Achiever Awards 2018, SonInder Samman 2018 (Hindi), Bharat Nirman Literary award in 2017, Premchand award by Ministry of Railways, Rabindranath Tagore International Poetry award, II prize by Children’s Book Trust, 2010, Freedom award by Radio city for Lyrics along with other awards and honors. She was listed in Forbes as one among 78 most popular authors in the country in 2014.
Exclusive Interview with Neelam Saxena Chandra
Neelam Saxena Chandra is a prolific writer who has pen down more than six hundred stories and poems. Nine of her books have been published by renowned publication houses so far and all are well received by the readers across spectrum. By profession an engineer with Indian Railways, Neelam is a passionate writer and poet. Various leading Indian and international journals have been publishing her works over the years. Honoured with several awards, Neelam has also explored her talent in music. She has written the lyrics for Shankar Tucker’s ‘Mere Sajan Sun Sun’ which has won the Popular Choice Award in Folk Fusion category in Radio City Freedom Award.
Spectralhues has recently got in touch with the author. Here are the excerpts from an interview Neelam Saxena Chandra gave to Susmita Bose.
Tell us something about yourself?
It is indeed the most difficult question. I am engineer by profession, and as a passion I love to write, I love to anchor programs and I love to read.
As a person, people say that I am a very friendly person.
What motivates you to keep writing?
The urge to write more and more and the feedbacks on my earlier writing.
Was writing comes easy to you?
Yes, writing comes as easily to me as speaking. There is no dearth of ideas and I keep progressing from one book to the other.
What kind of response have you been receiving? Do you have any unique experience?
Till now, the response received has been very encouraging.
The most unique experience – well, I had not told my friends that I write for magazines. One day, I saw one of my friends reading my story in WOMANS ERA and she remarked, “This lady bearing the same name as you writes really well”. I smiled and told her that it was me who had written it and the expression on her face was worth watching.
Although writing is a ‘lonely process’, still how much support have you been receiving from your near ones?
Everyone around me is always excited with my writings and keeps waiting for my new work. And each contribute in their own way. For example, my daughter is a critic at my own home who often makes me rewrite things, my brother helps me with illustrations and others encourage me with their loving words.
What is your first love poem or children’s book? ????
I write novels, short stories, children’s stories as well as poems. I really can’t say which form I love more. If you ask first love in the sense what did I write to begin with, then it was poetry.
Is there any work of literature that you would like to rewrite? If so, why?
No, I would not like to rewrite any work. The writer who had written, had written it in the best possible manner as per the time and place. Rewriting, for me, is like disturbing it.
They say writing children’s book is one of the toughest jobs in the literature as the author needs to enter in entirely different world, so how do you manage to do it with so much ease?
I think somewhere in our hearts, everyone has a child. Moreover, I have very small kids also like my friends. I listen to them a lot and try to see the world from their eyes.
How was the experience working with Shankar Tucker? How did ‘Mere Sajan Sun Sun’ happen to you?
A friend informed me that Shankar Tucker was looking for a lyricist and I wrote to him. He immediately mailed back that he would love to work with me. everything happened very fast thereafter and the song was born.
Shankar is a very down to earth person and I loved working with him. When the song won the POPULAR CHOICE AWARD by Radio City in Folk song category, I was absolutely thrilled.
Who are your favourite authors? What kind of books you read?
I read almost all kinds of fiction and poetry. However, my favorite author is Erich Segal.
Director at Indian Railways, columnist, writer, Lyricist… what next?
At present, busy directing a skit for children…
What is the best tip that you can give to the aspiring authors?
First thing I wish to tell the upcoming authors is a word of caution. There are hardly less than 1% Indian authors who get the money they deserve. So, do not think of perusing it as a full time career, unless you are very sure that you will make it to that 1%.
Second thing I would like to say is do not attempt to get instant fame. If one writes well, fame will reach the person anyway. But trying to have it by paying money etc will not help. One needs to concentrate on writing and improving it by reading more and writing more.
Tell us briefly about your future plan…
Can a writer really plan for future? I really don’t know what I am going to write next, for I am very moody. However, I am looking forward for three of my books being released to public – the first one being a poetry collection LAYERS OF FLICKERING FLAMES by Authorspress, the second a short story collection – RISHTEY MOHABBAT KE by Omji Publications and the third a novel SOULSEEKERS by LiFi Publications.
What kind of message do you want to pass on to the readers through your books?
‘Believe in yourself. It can shower miracles.’
Thank you Neelam for your time. Wish you all the best for your future endeavors.
It is my pleasure to be interviewed by you. Looking forward for associating with you in future too.
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