Take Five With...Damyanti

Sunday, August 28, 2011


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?

 Death, definitely.

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.

49 comments:

  1. Joy, your questions really let the essence of Damyanti shine through, while, Damyanti, the themes of your work intrigue me. I hope a novel-length piece is in your future, because I would love to read how you develop your themes in this format.

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  2. Thanks for stopping in Michelle. I like having a 'standard' list of questions for interviews, but that's a fallacy. I have to go specific, rather than generic if I'm going to make the interview fit the writer and their work. :)

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  3. Thanks, Michelle. Yes a novel is in the works, and I'm sure when it is out kind friends like Joy would let everyone know :)

    Joy, thanks for your kind words. I hope I one day grow to deserve them!

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  4. Great interview! So glad Damyanti's work is doing well. :)

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  5. Thanks Joy for interviewing Damyani. Not sure how long I've known her eithr but she is one fab writer. I didn't know about this published book so thanks. What a great idea and all the best for your next one Damyani.

    Denise

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  6. Thanks L'Aussie :) We met during the A to Z challenge, which was the genesis of this book...I'm glad we reconnected again through the campaign!

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  7. What a wonderful interview. I am so glad to have met you both through the Campaign. Damyanti, this line stood out among many that resonated: "my head is in an unthinking trance and my hands do the writing." When I self-published my first novel, The Somebody Who, I had to choose a name for my "publishing company." I chose Channel Press because, when I write, I feel that I am channeling. Taking dictation. Just letting the characters speak. It's a magical process that we writers are so fortunate to surrender to! Happy channeling to you, now and in the future. I look forward to reading the results.

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  8. Thanks, Katie, and very glad to have met you too!

    That is exactly what I've often blogged about: taking dictation.

    Wish you luck with your channeling too, and hope to get to know you better via the campaign.

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  9. Awesome interview! I too am a fan of Damyanti's writing, and am looking forward to more from her! Don't include me in the prize draw -- I already have Damyanti's book, and I must say the stories are blowing me away!

    Damyanti, you HAVE written a story based in Malaysia, in the A to Z collection! "C for Commas" is set on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, no? ;)

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  10. Hi Joy, Hello Damyanti,

    Great meeting you, Damyanti. And it was lovely reading your answers to Joy's questions. Thanks for sharing.

    All the best, Damyanti.

    Thanks Joy.

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  11. OMG, JC, so true C is indeed based in Langkawi, Malaysia! Ouch Joy, sorry, forgot I had a story based in Malaysia. Thanks for your kind words, JC...I'm hoping the book finds more readers, because it is all about connection...a movie in my head became words... which will become movies again in the readers' imagination...I wonder whether they would be the same movie that I saw :)


    Nas Dean,

    Thanks for stopping by, and it is a pleasure to hear from you.

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  12. Great interview!
    Thanks for hosting, J.L.!
    Damyanti, your book is on my to read list...and love your blog.

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  13. It's neat how these different blogging challenges influence us... further proof of the benefits of blogging... we meet great people and get inspired.

    Your short stories sound interesting, Damyanti. Congratulations on your book, and thanks for the contest. I have been so bogged down with the books I've been writing that I've stopped writing short stories. I miss that. Those short stories are my roots.

    Thanks for the interview J.L.

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  14. Damyanti is a sweetheart, and I can't wait to have her on my blog. Great interview questions, as usual, J.L.!

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  15. Fantastic interview. I added your book to my goodreads list and intend to read it once I get through some present books.

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  16. I loved this interview, Joy and Damyanti. I hadn't heard of her anthology before I read this, but now I definitely want to grab it up and read it. Anthologies are a great way to get to know an author's style, and this one sounds incredibly amazing. Best of luck to both of you!

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  17. Thanks to all of you for joining here. Damyanti's writing has certainly sparked some interesting thoughts.

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  18. Interesting comment on death, Damyanti. I also find it fascinating that the one thing we can rely on absolutely is the one thing that a lot of people try to avoid thinking about at all costs.

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  19. I read her blog sometimes and would love to read the book. This is a great interview! All the best with your WIP.

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  20. What a lovely interview ... thanks to Joy & Damyanti ... it was an opportunity to learn more about this awesome writer ! I can't wait to read the book !

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  21. Very nice interview! Loved the stories on the blog too.

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  22. Loree, thanks for putting your book in the TBR pile...I love getting to know what readers think of my writing, and thanks to my blog-friends like you, I'll get to know what other writers think of my work!

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  23. Doralynn, thanks for your kind words. Blog challenges do inspire me to write, and if you would like to get back to short stories without expending too much energy, do try and stop by the Rule of Three Blogfest I'm helping organize with a few other writers. It is all about writing a short story over a month, in a particular world, following the rule of three.

    We're hoping writers would enjoy the challenge! :)

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  24. Kelley, you're very sweet yourself, and I can't wait to appear on your blog either!

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  25. Michael, thanks. My Goodreads page looks quite deserted at the moment...but I'm hoping it will look better soon, lol

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  26. Marlena, thanks! Do tell me how you like it if you read it...I love to know about how readers react to my work, and ways in which I can improve.

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  27. Thank you to both lovely ladies for this interview ... I am going to read more through this blog and then download A-Z!

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  28. Li, yes, I know. A lot of people find it weird that I'm so fascinated by death, and how it is our ultimate truth.

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  29. Myne, I'm your follower too :). Thanks for your comment.

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  30. Mish, right now, I'm a writer...it might take me decades to become awesome, and I doubt even those would be enough :). But kind words from a friend are always welcome!

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  31. Thanks, Gargi, and there will always be more on the blog :)

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  32. So sweet of you Sophie, the book is doing better than I expected, downloads-wise, and I suspect it is all because of blog-friends like you!

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  33. Damyanti, you're not the only one fascinated by death. I hate to admit it, but I think about it every day.It's been worse since I've had a child. Now that I think about it, someone dies in most, if not all, of my novels.

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  34. How fascinating and I didn't realise that your A to Z book came out of Arlee's blogfest. I too feel more secure working with short pieces. I like to be able to keep the whole thing in my head while I write but every now and then a story does demand more space.

    I was interested to read about your fascination with death. It's not a popular subject and I suppose it's one we should be prepared to discuss more readily. It is, after all, the only inevitability. How uplifting that you also write about hope. We all need that.

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  35. How cool! A-Z stories of life and death sounds so cool. I think it's wonderful you write from such exotic locations.

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  36. I think it's great that blogfests have spurred people to write short stories and novels. I'm particularly intrigued by Malaysia and Singapore so I'd be interested in reading more about those stories. Good luck!

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  37. Rosalind, yes, the book did emerge from Lee's challenge, and I hope it will spin off another one next April! :)

    If death is the only unshakeable truth of our lives, hope is our only real strength as humans...and so yes, in my stories there is always a glimmer of hope. Not so much as to be unreal, but never absent, either!

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  38. Clarissa, thank you for your comment :)

    Where I live, the United States and Canada are exotic places...as is Jamaica, Joy's home! I think it is always the very faraway and the unfamiliar that becomes exotic in our eyes. I assure you life in Malaysia and Singapore is as routine (or exciting) and commonplace (or special) as everywhere else! :D

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  39. Liz, I think one of those stories is available in the sample..C for Comma. If you like it enough, download the book, or just buzz me for a review copy :)

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  40. Yay, what a fab interview! I'm a big fan,a nd I love Damyanti's writing. I was in awe how much she produced during the A to Z.

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  41. This sounds like a wonderful book. I love flash fiction. It's a very special genre, almost at the level of poetry. Great interview, too, Joy. I enjoyed learning about her writing process for these stories. I definitely would like to read this book.

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  42. Hi Damyanti, thanks for the invite. I'll take a look at that, but, unfortunately I don't know if I'll have time to join in.

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  43. Talli, thanks for stopping by...I have your book in my TBR pile now, and hope to get to it soon :)

    Thanks for donating a review copy of the book for the Rule of Three Blogfest!

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  44. Thanks, Mrs. Seraphina...I hope you enjoy the stories. The book is not long, but I hope it will engage and entertain readers all the same.

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  45. Doralynn, it will only involve one post a week, so the Rule of Three Blogfest is actually an ideal playground for fiction writers of all genres :)...check it out and sign up if you like the idea ...it will be announced today!

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  46. I'm here late, but better late than never. I am so pleased that Blogging from A to Z inspired this quality piece of work. I was but one among many who were fascinated by Damyanti's finely crafted and very unique stories.

    Damyanti, I wish you great success in your writing.

    Thank you, Joy, for hosting this wonderful author.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  47. Oh, yes. I agree with you that Damyanti wrote some fascinating stories for the A-Z. She's such an inspiration that I'm tempted to try and put my food/writing posts together in some sort of collection at some point down the road.

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  48. Thanks, joy and Lee, for your kind words. It is wonderful to have your support.

    Lee is hosting me on his blog on the 12th September, and I hope to chat with you there Joy! :)

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  49. Thats an all 'round great post!!

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