Sitting at her home, on a beautiful day, Chirasree Bose discovered her knack for writing. Since then, there has been no turning back. Now writing is the only thing she can think of. Through her novels, she has explored themes of honor-killing, familial, and societal culture. She finds her solace and inspiration in writing.
Team Storiyaan, in a recent interview with the writer, spoke about her inspiration to shine a light on sensitive topics.
Questions and answers
Can you start by enlightening us with how you discovered your knack in writing? When did it happen?
It happened four years ago. It’s still quite unbelievable to me. It was just another day, and I was kind of getting bored at home when it just occurred to me that I could write. I had never tried my hand at writing before, and this thought was sort of scary, you know. I thought it was just a passing idea, but well, it stayed. Now all I can think about is writing. In a word, this was the sweetest coincidence in my life.
Your debut novella 'Done with her' talks about honor killing. It's one of the worst crimes in our country, as you said. What made you write about it? Is there a story behind it?
It happened after I had read many of these news, articles, and other related stuff in the newspapers, on online platforms, etc. Those upset me. And when it came to writing my first book, I wanted to do something impactful. Impactful, in a sense, it should make a difference, right? Being a writer, that’s the best way I can probably bring a change to the world. So, I decided to take this up. While writing it, I felt every word of it. Because the protagonist – she was not just realistic but very relatable even to me, the author. The best thing about this novella is her, Spreeha, I believe. She is as fierce as any woman should be.
What inspires you to write? Does it come from a personal space, or is it fictional?
My passion and love for writing keep me inspired and motivated at all times. It is personal. I find a strange sense of relief and peace in writing. Something that makes me whole as a person.
What are the essential things that you wish to convey through your writings?
In both the books I have written so far, I conveyed societal messages. These were messages that I wanted my readers to not only understand but practice in real life. It’s not that every person in the country is reading the books, and yet, those who do should bring the changes to their and their loved ones’ lives. That’s all I wish to do through my books.
Author of two bestsellers already, what is it that you want to achieve next?
Author of three bestsellers. And then, 4…5…6. What else can I wish for?
You have written books that highlight real-life problems. One is a crime and the other family. If you're planning to write next, what will it be based on?
My third book is going to be based on both crime and family. And yes, this one too highlights a very heinous crime happening quite often in society, and yet is a great hushed-up topic.
Are you also vocal about politics and environmental issues? What is your take on such aspects?
I am not much into politics and related stuff. I have never taken much interest in such topics. Coming to environmental issues, yes, I read about them a lot. And maybe one of the reasons why I am enjoying the lockdown time is because the environment is finally safe from the hands of humans. Because all we can do is harm and destroy. Humankind has become so unapologetic and cruel, both at the same time that I believe our environment just had to get back at us. After all, there’s always something good amid all the bad that happens.
In one of your interviews, you said that you are very stubborn and strong-willed. How do you think these qualities have helped you become who you are today?
Had I not been strong-willed, I would not be standing where I am today (I have a long way to go though). It’s because the world isn’t very fair to us all the time. Most of the time, it tests you, your willpower, and your love for your dreams. So one has to be stubborn and strong-willed to get through it all. Also, (not cribbing or boasting about being a woman) a woman’s life isn’t that easy, especially when you are ambitious. So, women should have such qualities, I believe.
Human emotions and feelings play very well in your novels. How do you have such a good understanding of human behavior? How do your observations help you create characters?
I am an excellent observer. Maybe because I talk less, it has helped me a lot in improving as a writer. I observe, analyze, think, and sometimes even discuss others’ behaviors, reactions, and expressions with myself. It’s a sort of therapy for me before I get to writing. Because unless you describe emotions well, readers can never relate to the characters.
How do you think you can use your platform and reach to talk about various issues? What are some problems that you believe in?
I want to do this. My books are a means for me to talk about societal and familial issues. Therefore, I always focus on a particular subject while writing a story. Being a writer, like I said before, this is the best way one can reach thousands of lives and spread a message. Well, some of the issues that I abhor are honor killing, familism (highlighted in my second book), rapes, domestic violence, and patriarchy. There are many more, of course.
You have utilized the lockdown to start a Youtube channel, talking about stories inspired by real life. How do you find these stories? What are some of the elements that you look for?
Yes. And I am pleased about this step I have taken. Stories come to me, I always say. They come to me so I can tell them to the world. That’s the case with every writer, perhaps. Speaking of elements I look for, well, impactful dialogues. Because when it comes to portraying a story through a video and voiceover, you have got to have some impactful conversations.
You have also written some short stories on Juggernaut. Was it challenging to transition from short stories to writing a novel? What is the one thing that you believe a short story should have?
Juggernaut encouraged me as a writer. They would often feature my stories on their homepage, so it was motivating. The transition was difficult. When you write a short story, you invest a short period into it. Plus, characters are less in number, the plot isn’t that complex, and you know that you’ll be done with it in a few days. But a novel – it takes a lot more than one can imagine. Writing, then editing innumerable times, proofreading, and whatnot. A short story should be on point. No frivolous conversations. It’s always better to have a target number of words in mind before starting to write one.
How important do you think is it to have an editor who understands you and your writing? How do you think the relationship between the author and a writer helps the book?
An understanding editor is critical for an author. They must understand your thought process and writing style. Otherwise, things only get messy.
What are your thoughts on Indian authors not getting the fame and recognition they deserve? Why do you think this is?
It’s a huge issue. Perhaps that’s the reason the young generation is scared to dedicate their full attention to a profession like this. We must have a supporting job to be able to publish our books. Isn’t that rather funny? Why can’t we concentrate on writing our books and earn from selling the same? I don’t know the root of this problem; however, I take it people don’t read much these days. And even those who do, they turn to foreign authors. That’s very unfortunate. It’s like watching lousy Hollywood movies yet not appreciating the good Bollywood ones.
What motivates you more, the response from your audience or recognition and feedback from critics? Why?
Recognition always motivates people. I believe you should focus on recognition and appreciation. But at the same time, be aware of the criticisms. Because sometimes they are genuine and helpful.
You mentioned that you designed the covers for Done with Her. What was the main idea that you wanted to portray? How much do you think the cover influences a reader to buy the book?
The publisher designed the present cover, but yes, at first, when I published only the kindle version, it was designed by me. My idea was to create intrigue in people. After all, that matters a lot when it comes to mystery thrillers.
A cover must be fascinating. Otherwise, why would one pick up your book amidst some thousand others? I wouldn’t.
Do you have a writing schedule? How would you describe your writing space?
Not really. I cannot have a fixed schedule since I have a full-time job. Sometimes I find time in the morning and sometimes I have to write in the evening when usually I am tired. Nonetheless, what matters the most to me is finding time to write—the ‘when’ and ‘where’ parts question less.
Can you share with us something about the book you're writing at present? What is the key theme of the book?
Okay, so I won’t say much. It’s a thriller again. And it’s based on a societal crime, focused around the relationship between a mother and daughter.
Your books have always focused on highlighting issues that would come across as forbidden in our society. Does your ideology depend on improvement, or do you plan on writing more?
Forbidden are those that people are not comfortable talking about. And my only motto is to break that thread of comfort in society through my writing. I will continue doing that no matter what. At least, someone has to take the initiative, right?
Familism’ is so common that a person might not even realize that they are facing it. How do you suggest can a person overcome that barrier in their life
It will take time. And to overcome such barriers, one must first be aware of them and acknowledge them. If one continues to believe that such things aren’t wrong just because they’re taking place within the family, then well, nothing will change. If it seems even slightly wrong to you, speak up. Say no. And walk away, proud.
1. Your favorite work that you have created – All of my stories and books are my favorite. But Done With Her… will be my most favorite because it’s my first baby.
2. Favorite book when you were a kid? –Okay, I don’t know how many of you may have heard of it, but it’s a Bengali Magazine that comes out every month. Not a book. It’s called Anandamela. They have fantastic collections.
3. Paperback or eBook? – eBook.
4. A book you have read multiple times- Mrs. Funnybones
5. The best gift you’ve received till date – I don’t know. Maybe my baby, my little pug, Pigu. He’s a gift from God, I believe.