I’m not sure how long ago I met Damyanti online, but she’s been a wonderful friend. I’m in awe of what she does in a few words. In short, she’s a skilled writer. Damyanti has agreed to share a bit about herself and her writing, here at the Character Depot.
You write from what I consider an exotic location. What kind of inspiration has Malaysia and Singapore provide for your writing?
Malaysia and Singapore have been my home for the last six years, but in A to Z Stories of Life and Death, I have just two stories set in Singapore, and none at all in Malaysia. I believe the influence they have on me now will show up later in my work, because my creative process is one of fermentation, which takes time. Though I have written short stories in various print anthologies based in these countries, I feel there’s a lot I’m still taking in.
Why short stories and not novels? Are there any novels in the works?
Lack of courage, to be honest. I started with short stories because I wanted to know I could finish something I was writing. Short stories may not be easy to write, but it is undeniable that they take less time to write than novels.
But this attitude has changed.
Now that I have half a dozen stories published in print anthologies and the A to Z ebook behind me, I feel braver. I’ve started work on a novel and though I’m nowhere near finishing the first draft, I’m convinced I’ve found a story that needs a longer span to tell.
You’ve been published several times before. Would you tell readers why you chose to publish this particular collection - A to Z Stories of Life and Death?
This book was born during the A to Z Challenge run by Arlee Bird in April, when readers liked the 26 pieces of fiction I wrote in 26 days and suggested I compile them into a book.
I thought of experimenting with an e-book format because I believe the future of publishing will include e-books in a big way and we authors need to keep ourselves abreast of the latest in technology that would affect our lives. Publishing A to Z Stories of Life and Death has been a huge learning experience, and as an added bonus, I’ve received a lot of love on the blogiverse, from kind folks like you, Joy!
In a word, I’d describe some of your stories as poignant. How does writing them affect you on an emotional level?
Thanks, Joy. A lot of the readers during the A to Z challenge described being moved by the stories as well. For me, I do not remember writing much of my flash fiction, because mostly my head is in an unthinking trance and my hands do the writing. But I know a part of me has suffered, cried, been happy, excited at different points of time in my life, and that comes out in my 'automatic' writing now.
Are there common themes that run through your stories?
Possibly because I’m endlessly fascinated with the concept of my own death, by the fact that we humans often blithely ignore the most inevitable truth of our life, or sometimes make guesses at what happens afterward. I’m not conscious of themes in my writing when I write, but somehow I cannot ignore the fact that a large number of my stories feature death in one context or another.
The other is hope. No matter how bleak the situation, there is always that glimmer of hope, arguably subdued or subtle, but present all the same.
How soon can readers look forward to your next collection?
Within the year.
I’m working on a collection of short stories (not flash fiction) right now, and for that I intend to seek traditional publication. Would love for it to have an e-book version though! I’ll also do another in the A to Z series and I’d welcome suggestions from you and the readers on the theme I should aim for.
Damyanti lives more in her head than in this world, adores her husband, and loves her pet fish and plants. She is an established writer for magazines and journals. Her short fiction has been published in the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Muse India and in print anthologies by Marshall Cavendish, Monsoon Books, and MPH publications. You can find her at www.amloki.com.
Connect with her online:
Twitter : damyantig
My Blog: http://damyantiwrites.wordpress.com
Email: atozstories at gmail dot com
Apart from answering my questions, Damyanti has graciously agreed to give a copy of A to Z Stories of Life and Death to one follower who leaves a comment. If you haven’t read any of Damyanti’s work before, you’re in for a treat! The drawing will be done through random.org on Friday, September 2, 2011. Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts.