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Author Highlight: Priya Das Discusses her New Book ‘Fly With Me’ and Stories from her Life

We are back with another author interview. Today, with us, we have Priya – the author of ‘Fly With Me’. In this interview, Priya talks about her writing aspirations and the route to getting her book published, and her love for romance genre. Stay on...while we chat with her.

What inspired you to write this book? Any tales to tell…

I had a ligament surgery. I was in bed for 3 months. Couldn’t go to college and had to skip a year. Reading was the only thing that gave me any peace at that point of time. And then there was a contest in a national newspaper where people were asked to write dedications for their mothers for a Mother’s Day feature. I wrote something and sent it across. And I came first and got loads of prizes. That’s when my mom said I should try and write something for myself. And since I am always reading, she thought I could be a writer as well. That’s when I thought of giving it a go. I was sitting at home and wallowing in self-pity. I had nothing else to do. So, I wrote. And when my cousins started failing in love with the story, I started getting inspired. I kept writing every day and soon I was done. That’s how my first novel was born. It was all because of my mom and my cousins.

Would you decode the title of the novel in short for our readers?

This title is an expression of true love. It’s about giving someone a helping hand. Sometimes in life we refuse to help ourselves or rise above our difficulties. Only the people who truly love us will have the patience to drag us out of such depressing situations. So, it’s about that patience and that care from our loved ones. Only people who truly love us can be strong and resilient enough to suffer with our suffering. So, this is how I decode the title. And, actually I took this phrase from my favourite Jonas Brothers’ song.

Are you more inclined towards romance fiction? How did you develop the backdrop for this book?

Not really. I can read anything and everything. Sometimes I feel like I was just born to read. See the thing is every story has a romance element in it. Love influences every tale and every situation in life. So, I don’t really see romance as something removed from other genres. It’s there in every story ever told.

I was reading a lot of teen fiction and college romances at that point. So, that’s where it must have come from. And, anyways I was in college. So, that’s the life I knew. That is what I could create.

What else drives you other than writing fiction?

As of now, making Bengali movies as an assistant director. My life is all about stories in whatever form it may be. But apart from that it’s all about my family and my three cousins, Anoy, Anwesha, and Anisha, and my best friends, Jayita and Angira. My family and my friends and my teachers keep me going.

How did you find your writing chord, or were you a born writer?

I could always make up stories in my mind ever since I can remember. But I never really wrote them down or considered it seriously. In school my literature answers were always praised by the teachers. They would always read out the answers in class and call me “a wise-little girl”. That was my tag from my teachers in school. But I never really took anything seriously. It was only when I started writing this novel did I realise that I could be a serious writer.

How do you handle the response of this book, especially from your friends?

It makes me happy of course, but nervous also. I keep wondering if I’ll ever do anything as good as this ever again. All the praise just gives me anxiety and happiness in equal measure.

What are some of your favourite novels and authors?

To this I will just take one name. That’s Harry Potter and JK Rowling. I consider her as my biggest Guru. I learnt writing from her. I learnt dreaming from her. It’s all about her. One day JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter, that’s the only reason I could write Fly with Me.

What was your biggest learning experience throughout the publishing process?

Patience and determination. It’s very important to believe in ourselves when no one else does. And, also we shouldn’t take everything very personally. It just creates pain and pulls you back. Everything should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in as a writer?

I just wrote from my heart and followed my heart. And I was true to myself. I never tried to please others when I wrote. I wrote what I believed in. When it came to publishing, I kept trying and knocking on every door and tried to understand what’s working and what’s not.

Any best piece of writing advice from your side that we haven’t discussed?

Just read more. Reading and practicing writing are the only two things that can make a good writer. And, also observing the world around you. That’s also very important.

Where do you write from? Do you go to some specific place, like beachside or into the hills?

I just write on my bed. I’m very lazy. Most of the time when I’m too engrossed in writing my mom has to come and feed me with her hands. I can’t go anywhere alone without my mother. I’d starve to death.

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

I base my characters on my favourite movie actors and rockstars. My favourite people always end up becoming my muse in some ways. Even Snigdha, Sameer, and Abir are partly based on some real people I love. I wouldn’t say who. Let the readers guess it for themselves.

Any future books that you would like to discuss now?

I am writing screenplays as of now. I got a book out. Now it’s movie time.

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