What have you written so far?
I have one published book, Checkmate, a historical fiction thriller about the origin of chess. This is available in the Indian subcontinent.
I am also close to finishing my first non-fiction book, about the impact numbers have on our lives. I am excited at the thought of bringing this book to readers.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
It’s been an expansive journey. I started out with three historical fiction mystery ideas. Over time, other ideas, particularly self-help, have come to me. I read and write different types of books and now write different kinds of books (historical fiction, self-help, stories about the human condition).
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
I lean towards outlining, especially when the overall story or non-fiction idea is clear. I create a framework of scenes, characters, and chapters and let spontaneity emerge within the scenes and chapters.
At other times, when all I have are a couple of ideas or characters, I experiment without an outline. I write scene after scene, letting the general idea guide me. This helps me convert an idea into a full story. Before my second draft, I build an outline and trim any scenes, chapters, and even characters from the first draft that do not fit.
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
I write over the weekends, during holidays and sometimes on weekdays at night. I space out my writing between spending time with family and other priorities. Change of focus often serves as a break, so I stay productive by switching from writing to another priority and then back to writing.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Write regularly, whether it is every day or every weekend, whatever you can manage. Week after week, month after month, you will see your progress build. Before you know it, you will have a first draft. And then, a second draft.
Consistency will make a difference.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
My next book is about how numbers can help us in life. The target reader is anyone who is anxious when dealing with numbers. I will have more to share in the coming few months at my website.
What one person from history would you like to meet and why?
Charles Dickens. He wrote so many classics. Two of my favorites are A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities.
In an imaginary world, I would ask him about his writing process, how he came up with such unique characters, how he went about his first draft, and what else he wanted to write.
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?
Help everyone build a map of numbers, the subject of my first non-fiction book – more to come on this over the next few months.
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?
The first draft is just for me, to let the story come out. The editing phase is when the story comes to life. The art emerges in the rewriting.
Tell us something unique about you.
I am a former chess player who twice represented Delhi (India) at the national level and competed with several opponents who are now grandmasters and international masters.
Want to learn more about Nihshanka Debroy?
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