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20 Writerly Questions: Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya

abstract:Random House offers a series of interviews with their stable of authors that asks the same basic questions about their writing process. Here now is:

JOYDEEP ROY-BHATTACHARYA was born in Jamshedpur, India, and educated in politics and philosophy at Calcutta University and the University of Pennsylvania. His novels, The Gabriel Club and The Storyteller of Marrakesh, have been published in 11 languages in 16 countries. His newest novel is The Watch.

  • 1. How would you summarize your book in one sentence?
    Following a nightlong battle, a young Pashtun woman appears before the gates of an isolated American military base in Afghanistan and asks for the return of her brotherís body Ė the novel relates what follows.
  • 2. How long did it take you to write this book?
    Ten weeks for the first draft; and then a yearís worth of revisions.
  • 3. Where is your favourite place to write?
    My desk at home, surrounded by my library.
  • 4. How do you choose your charactersí names?
    Usually they select themselves. My characters have unusual autonomy.
  • 5.How many drafts do you go through?
    More than I care to remember, quite frankly.
  • article:

    June 21, 2012

  • 6. If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
    Embers, by Sandor MŠrai.
  • 7. If your book were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it?
    Actors who are guarded, unpredictable and dark.
  • 8. Whatís your favourite city in the world?
    Baghdad in the eighth century AD because I am presently writing about it.
  • 9. If you could talk to any writer living or dead who would it be, and what would you ask?
    Iíd ask Tolstoy how he maintained his focus during the writing of War and Peace.
  • 10. When do you write best, morning or night?
    It really depends on when the inspiration moves me: Iíve no fixed time of day.
  • 11. Who is the first person who gets to you read your manuscript?
    The one who inspired it, naturally.
  • 12. Do you have a guilty pleasure read?
    Iíve many. Hereís one: The Flashman series by George McDonald Fraser.
  • 13. Whatís on your nightstand right now?
    Payback, by Gert Ledig; The Curved Planks, by Yves Bonnefoy; The Fourth Dimension, by Yannis Ritsos; The Discourses of Epictetus; Fires, by Marguerite Yourcenar.
  • 14. What is the first book you remember reading?
    The Adventures of Rupert Bear.
  • 15. Did you always want to be a writer?
    I came to writing at the rather late age of thirty, having tried my hand at everything else and making rather a mess of things.
  • 16. What do you drink or eat while you write?
    A cup of green tea in the morning and evening; lots and lots of water. A protein heavy breakfast; carbs for brunch; salad for lunch; snack for mid-afternoon; a light dinner in the early evening; protein snack before sleep.
  • 17. Typewriter, laptop, or pen & paper?
    Pen and paper, and laptop.
  • 18. What do you wear when you write?
    I donít usually notice.
  • 19. How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
    It depends on the needs of the book. For instance, each chapter in The Watch is written from the viewpoint of a different character; whereas City of Dreams, which Iím writing now, has a single point of view.
  • 20. What is the best gift someone could give a writer?
    Inspiration. Undying love.
  • Publisher's Profile of Author

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