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Neelam Saxena Chandra

Neelam Saxena Chandra

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Neelam Saxena Chandra

When and why did you gravitate towards writing?

Writing and I have always had a very wonderful relationship ever since my childhood. I would think, breathe and live poetry since it motivated me to do better in my life. Later, when I went through some difficulties, poetry softly held my hands and made me move ahead in life.

As far as writing fiction is concerned, it started with my telling stories to my daughter when she was a kid. Later, when she grew older, I just inked them and sent them for publishing.

Please share your experiences with publishing.

As far as I am concerned, I began with writing for various magazines. My acceptance rate was quite high and it would be thrilling to see your name published in print. Only after I had been published several times in national and international magazines/journals did I think of having a book of my own.

It wasn’t very easy to get published initially, and I had to try hard; but things kept moving in the right direction.

Your day job is a far cry from writing. What is your writing routine?

With my job profile, it’s really tough to find time to write. I just manage it either on nights or on weekends. You can say that I have no fixed routine. Since writing relaxes me, I try to use my free time in writing.

Which literary form is your favourite poetry or prose?

I love both poetry and prose. When I am short of time, I write poetry. When I have adequate time, I write fiction.

What is the process that goes into putting together a poetry book?

I have mostly followed two methods. First one is simple, put together the poems written during a period. In the second one, I think of a theme and leave it open for a year or so. After that, I reassess the poems to check if they broadly fit in the theme and then put them in the book.

However, there are many other steps involved in the making of a poetry book. I normally like using photographs to give a better picture of the poem. The photographer has to read the poems, find a suitable photo and then put it in the right place. After that, I normally let an editor or a friend have a second opinion about the collection and also to see if any mistakes have erroneously crept in. Thereafter, I send the final version to the publisher.

The task is not yet over. Cover page has to be designed. These days, I let my cover page be based on paintings on the theme of the book. Then, there is proof checking.

There are too many efforts required in taking out a poetry book, but the end result is something which keeps one inspiring.

In your book ‘Dahleez’, you harp on the significance of the young adults getting the right guidance and mentorship. How does the book address that?

As we all know, young adulthood is the most crucial period in which opinions are made. Unfortunately, there are very few books available to guide them properly. In every generation, the problems faced by YA changes. I have tried to address the worries/anxieties/difficulties in my short stories in the book  ‘Dahleez’ . The stories are not moralistic, they are just incidents which describe how that particular character dealt with a situation.

What can be done to make Hindi novels more relatable for the youth?

These are days when youth are as such moving away from reading. Among those who read, they wish to show to their social networking circle that they read in English. In such a situation, it is really tough for the writers to write something to which the youth can relate to.

However, I do have friends whose novels in Hindi have done quite well. My own short story collection Rishtey Mohabbat Ke did wonderfully. My short poems in Hindi, which I post everyday on Facebook, have a reach of more than 4000 on an average. This makes me believe that all is not lost. And then, a few awesome feedbacks from fans have encouraged me and I would love to continue writing in English as well as Hindi.



About the Interviewee:

Neelam Saxena Chandra is an Engineering graduate from VNIT and has done her Post Graduation Diploma in IM&HRD and also in Finance. She has completed a course in Finance from London School of Economics. She works as General Manager (Systems) in Pune Metro, and is well known as an author/poet/novelist/children’s writer. She writes on a variety of topics, ranging from social issues to motivational stories/poems.

She has authored 4 novels, 1 novella and 5 short story collections, 29 poetry collections and 11 children’s books to her credit. More than 800 of her stories/poems have been published in various national/international journals/magazines/anthologies .Several stories and poems have been transmitted by Akashwani Delhi, Akashwani Lucknow and Akashwani  Pune.

She is a bilingual writer; writing in English and Hindi.