An award-winning author, literary editor, manuscript critic, book reviewer & blogger and a mother to seven cats, Heena is a constant learner of English literature. She is the type of bibliophile we all aspire to be. Be it writing her own books or editing other’s manuscripts, she has perfected it all and all the books worked upon by her leave you mesmerized and wondering long after you have read them.
Heena talks passionately and zealously about her writing career with Storiyaan. She gushes about her adorable and cute little furballs and then goes on to talk about her evolution as a writer and the special place reading holds in her heart. Read to know more!
Questions and answers
How does being a manuscript critic and literary editor aid you in penning down your thoughts better?
Being a manuscript critic makes me hyper-sensitive to faults in the structure as well as the narrative functionality of the prose. This, at times, makes it a little hard for me because it is difficult to shut down the editor and critic in my head but on the other hand, it helps me make my own writing better and remove most of the faults and smooth out the story. Although, I have noticed that over the course of the last six years, since the time I am critiquing and editing manuscripts professionally, my first drafts are a lot clean and well-written than they were before.
As a writer who takes inspiration from Stephen King’s work, what do you draw from his brilliant crafting and quintessentially human aspects of character development?
Stephen King is one of the main reasons why I started writing. I love his narrative style and his way of delicately exploring the depths of the human psyche. As a reader as well as a writer, I appreciate and even envy his way of terrifying his readers –on a deep psychological level that makes you feel ill at ease after reading his horror books. He makes his readers contemplate the possibility of ‘the other side’ without being outrageously aggressive in his approach. I try to learn from his works, but most of all I love enjoying his brilliant word-weaving and outstanding ideas by reading them.
As you have studied English literature and film making, what is your opinion on transforming your writing into a film?
I feel very skeptical. I have had 2 agents who were very interested in representing my work for the screen adaptation, but even the thought of someone else working on my story and potentially turning it into something entirely different from how I see them keeps me from giving the agents a free rein over my works. Having said that, Deceived, is still being represented by an agency for the screen adaptation but I think it’ll be a while before I come across a studio house or production that will make me feel okay about them handling my book.
As an animal lover, what is your take on the ‘Adopt, don’t shop’ campaign?
I am an ardent supporter of this beautiful and much-needed campaign. All my 7 cats are adopted. In India, we have so many cats and dogs who need rescuing and rehabilitation in loving homes. So, I think that anyone who genuinely loves animals would never turn a blind eye towards them and go shop for “better” breeds. The concept of paying a huge amount to buy an animal when you can easily adopt one has never made sense to me.
How important do you think the process of storyboarding is for a writer?
It is subjective – if a writer is primarily a planner or an outliner then storyboarding can really be very effective but if their primary inclination is instinctive then storyboarding won’t be of much use to them unless they are stuck somewhere and want to plan a little or to break their writer’s block.
What is your take on e-books in today’s highly technological world?
I love e-books and, in fact, I prefer them to physical books while travelling. I mostly love them for the convenience but also because highlighting, taking notes, and even finding meanings and marking pages is easier in e-books. Though physical books have their own exceptional charm and I love them a lot, but e-books are very convenient. But from last two years, I find myself leaning towards audio-books even more than e-books simply because they are even more convenient than e-books
How do you find the right balance between being a writer, editor, YouTuber, critic and having your own book club and blog?
Most of the time I am fumbling around and trying to do everything single-handedly, but I love this chaos and the ‘doing it all’ because I love each and every single thing I do. Also, the fact that I have worked very hard to be where I am today makes me very proud of all my little ‘spaces’ – my book club RMFAO, my YouTube channel, my Instagram channel, my blogs, and my website. It does get hectic at times, of course, but I guess if you truly love something, you can always find the time to do those things.