Amrita Mukherjee is the author of Exit Interview published by Rupa Publications and Museum of Memories, a collection of 13 short stories, published by Readomania. Both the books are Starmark Bestsellers. She has worked in publications like The Times of India, The Hindustan Times and The Asian Age in India and she was Features Editor at ITP Media Group, Dubai’s largest magazine house. She blogs at www.amritaspeaks.com
Twitter handle: @amritamuk
‘We will talk with Amrita about her new book ‘Museum of Memories’
What is the story behind your book. Where did you get your idea for the book?
I had lost my brother to cancer in 2010 and when I moved back to Kolkata from Dubai in 2014, I started living in our parental home in the very same room which he and I shared as children. When I started rummaging through his things – the old Panasonic tape recorder, the desktop, the long-playing records – I realised everything had a memory attached to it. He was only 44 when he left us, but life has moved on so fast that all the things he held so precious could have found their place in a museum.
That was when the story Museum of Memories started taking shape in my mind and eventually the whole collection of 13 short stories was published as the book Museum of Memories by Readomania.
Challenges you faced while writing this book and in your life as an author?
In a house full of people where the TV is blaring all the time, a child is running around with his friends and people are constantly talking on the phone, the greatest challenge is concentration. But I wrote Museum of Memories sitting next to my sleeping son, under the mosquito net, typing away late into the night.
I wish I could go off somewhere quiet to write for a few days but that seems to be a distant dream.
What is your life mantra?
Live in the moment.
What is your writing process like?
It is very erratic. As I am struggling to concentrate all the time, I also have my phases when the words don’t come. But when it does, I don’t rest till I finish a piece.
Anything special about your book that you want to share?
Anyone who has read Museum of Memories says he or she could identify with the stories. The characters are varied and the emotions are very strong. Readers have said they have welled up or felt numb after finishing a story or felt elated or overjoyed by a twist in the end.
According to you, what are the three qualities an author must have to achieve success?
1. Ability to hook the reader from the first to the last page.
2. Write in a language that is not too complicated.
3. Write from the heart.
What are your plans for next book?
I am writing a non-fiction. I want to start the sequel to my first book Exit Interview but haven’t managed yet.
What advice do you have for young writers?
It is always good to be open to suggestion from people who are into reading.
Share a quote or line that has been your inspiration.
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been” – George Eliot