Interview With Author Ekta.R.Garg

 'The traditional publishing company gets the majority of the money and the author gets a minimal cut. In indie publishing the author gets to keep most of the money'

'I began reading at the age of 4 and always felt happiest in my free time when I had a book in my hand'

'Short stories have a hard time attracting attention; some people call them the weaker sister of the novel'

'It’s hard to find an audience with so many people in the same field'

Ekta .R.Garg rose to fame with her innovative 'Stories In Pairs' series.In this candid interview, conducted via e-mail in parts,she speaks about her inspiration,future plans and the benefits of being an indie publisher.Read the first part of the interview here.

In the acknowledgement section of 'Two for the Heart', you have revealed that your love for writing started during your school days. Can you elaborate a bit on that?

I began reading at the age of 4 and always felt happiest in my free time when I had a book in my hand. At the age of 8 I started writing poetry and short narratives for fun. I just found the whole idea of trying to express myself in the written word in a creative way so interesting. 

Soon after that I began competing in spelling competitions, which drew me all the way into the world of words. When you study to compete, especially when you’re studying hard because you want to win, you spend many hours reading these words and finding out what they mean. My hours of study and practicing spelling complemented the writing I was doing.

In the sixth grade our teacher gave us a writing assignment. She wanted each student to create an original story and said we could make it about four or five pages long. This was in the time when we hand wrote everything—no one was using computers in my school yet—so writing a story was quite an involved process.

I thoroughly enjoyed crafting the story and created a mystery with a pair of twins as the main characters. The girls go on a vacation and find a missing treasure. I actually wanted to turn it into a series at some point.

I enjoyed writing the story so much that I took a risk: I wrote a story 20 pages long. I felt a little nervous, because I didn’t want to get penalized for going over the limit. Instead my teacher gave me a high score and wrote “Interesting story! Maybe a budding author here!” in the margin of the last page.

That comment stayed with me and still makes me smile. I really think my teacher planted a seed that stayed and has now started bearing fruit.

You are also a publisher. What do you think is the biggest challenge for budding writers?

---Definitely getting discovered. One of the down sides of indie publishing is that thousands of writers have started competing for the attention of readers who have many other things demanding their time. It’s hard to find an audience with so many people in the same field. But it’s also oddly comforting; an indie author can just think, “I’m not doing this alone; I’m not the only person experiencing these hardships.”

What is the inspiration behind stories in pairs? As in, what made you come up with this brilliant idea of penning down stories sharing a common theme and a link?

---I have dedicated serious time and effort in the last three or four years to studying the publishing industry. When I made the decision in the summer of 2014 to begin indie publishing, I already knew I would face stiff competition from the thousands of other writers who had gone before me. In order to stand out from the crowd, I knew I had to do something just different enough to pique people’s curiosity.

I started with the idea of short stories. As the mother of two young children, I don’t have the time and energy to devote to a full-fledged novel. But because I’ve been conducting my own writing workshop for the last two years I knew I could handle developing and writing short stories.But short stories have a hard time attracting attention; some people call them the weaker sister of the novel, although I don’t agree with that assessment at all. It takes just as much skill, craft and art to construct a compelling short story as it does a novel.

Getting people to acknowledge that and understand it is a different matter.

I knew I would have to find a way to make my stories stand out. So I kept brainstorming ideas and decided to start publishing stories in pairs. But I wanted to make them special and thought I should find a way to make them connect. 

That connection also helps emphasize the larger idea behind Stories in Pairs: that we all have a story to share, and our own stories connect with other people’s stories. We never know how or when those stories will intersect or how big of an impact our stories will have on others. But no one can deny that those connections can and will happen.

 In the second story of the first book (Remembrance), Dr. Pooja Mehra is making a brief appearance. Can we expect her character to make a comeback in your future stories also?

---I don’t have any plans for her to appear in upcoming stories, but I definitely won’t rule it out. You never know where and when characters will appear in future stories!

You are playing the dual role of an author and a publisher. Which role do you enjoy playing the most? Why?

---No guesses about it: definitely writer! I love creating stories and characters and finding a compelling way to share those stories with readers. Now that I’ve begun publishing my own work, I know the probability of a growing audience is real.

Having said that, however, I find the challenges of being a publisher interesting. I won’t lie: I’ve definitely wished more than once for the big budget and big team of a traditional publishing house. But I also find an immense satisfaction in accomplishing each task, big or small, by myself. And because I’ve read so much about how the industry works and how other indie authors have succeeded, I already know where to go for answers to my questions. There’s enough comfort in that fact to allow me to be intrigued by this new role.

(The second part of this interview will be published tomorrow)


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