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Sanjana Saksena Chandra: A Writer’s Odyssey

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Putting “women-backing-women” beautifully, Sanjana says, “We live in a patriarchal world so when women support each other, are encouraging of each other’s dreams and aspirations, beautiful things happen. I hope that every woman finds her tribe.” 

Attention bibliophiles! Are you scrambling through “TBR lists” and “Must-Read blogs”, only to be disappointed at the selection of authors? We have got you covered. Discover the exceptional talent that is Sanjana Saksena Chandra. She is a Writer by passion and a Marketer by profession who lives in the world of books like many of us. However, her quest for enchanting books brought her to writing and soon she had fallen head over heels in love with storytelling. Debuting in 2019 with a collection of 10 incredible poems called “Sisyphus Is Happy & Selected Poems” she has since gone on to write another book, both opening to an astounding positive uproar. Dig deeper into the mind of this promising writer in this chit chat session with Storiyaan. 

Sanjana Saksena Chandra

Sanjana Saksena Chandra: A Writer's Odyssey

Interview

Questions and answers

When was the first time you realised your love for literature?

I have been a voracious reader, and as a child, I was surrounded by books. I think that made me gravitate towards literature and storytelling. Therefore, I honestly don’t remember the moment when the love was born as it seems to have been a part of me always

How did the art of storytelling from your childhood inspire you in becoming an author?

When you love reading and listening to stories as much as I did you spend a lot of time in these fictitious worlds and that feeds your imagination. Writing just came to me as a natural next step and I loved giving people around me a story to enjoy. When they enjoyed my writings and acknowledged a writing streak in me, I knew I wanted to be a writer. 

As a Writer, you have worked even in media and communication-related fields. What are your major takeaways from working in these roles simultaneously?

I made my career choices in a field that is based on storytelling. So, I am still writing when I am working. Therefore, my major takeaway will be keeping a balance. Many times as a writer it is difficult to switch off suddenly from work-related writing to writing a book or a poem. 

You came up with your first book "Sisyphus is Happy and Selected Poems". Tell us the still behind it and what acted as the kick-starter.

I love poetry and have been writing poems sporadically, my entire life. At that time, I was between jobs and found some time to compile my poems in a coherent book. I had also written a few poems for public platforms like ‘allpoetry’ and since they received a lot of positive reactions I knew they were worthy of getting published. 

Often writers face roadblocks in trying to publish their work. How did you manage to overcome those hurdles?

My first collection of poems was released in 2019. Yes, publishing is filled with struggles for a new writer. I managed to overcome them by trying, exploring options, getting feedback both good and bad.  However, it gets easier after publishing. 

From where do you draw inspirations and ideas for your poetries and how do you keep coming with varieties of themes and ideas?

I truly believe there is inspiration everywhere. My second book ‘The Universe Is Explosive’ dwells on this very idea that inspiration can be found in the most mundane of things, occurrences and places. 

I consume a variety of content and I tend to observe the occurrences around me. This is the seed to all my ideas and themes. I write on things ranging from pop culture, mythology, love, loss and grief; not because I have lived through them but because I saw something that left an impact on me. 

Patriarchal Bargain remains a bigger issue in many Indian households whereas, in your journey, the story is different. It's the women who have uplifted you. Could you share with us some instances?

Yes! I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by incredible women role models. My Nani is one of the most fascinating women I know and her life is a story waiting to be told. My mom was my biggest supporter growing up and has been an integral part of my journey since day 1. Similarly, my mother-in-law is a constant source of encouragement and given that she is an educator and very creative herself, I get to learn a lot from just being around her. It’s important for young girls and women to find a tribe and women they can look up to and I’m lucky I have that.

How do you come out from your writer's block especially during hard times like these as the pandemic still hovers over?

Writer’s block is something that we deal with all the time. My way of dealing with it is to not write when it’s not coming to me naturally. This of course means that deadlines can get skipped and you end up rushing later but I’d rather buy more time than write something that I don’t believe in. Moreover, oftentimes, a good night’s sleep, and reading a book or a conversation with a fellow writer friend has done the trick too.

2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. Amidst these challenges, what were some of the things you feel grateful about for trying and giving it a chance?

I’d say hands down writing! My second book was published towards the end of 2020 and it was a book I had started working on around a year before. Thus, a ton of the final drafts were done in the middle of the pandemic. In addition, I think that writing kept me sane in these trying times – it gave me a purpose. 

What are some of the new projects you are planning to work upon or write for your next publication?

I am currently working on a fiction; a thriller, to be precise. This will be my first fictional work and hopefully, it will be out by the end of the year or early next year. Fingers crossed!

Quick 5

1. Your current favourite bookMaybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gotlieb

2. Your Mantra in life – Be Kind

3. Your proudest momentHolding my debut book

4. Any writing tips for new authors? Read a lot, write a lot

5. One thing that always lifts your moodA good book and some quality time with my family

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